My doctoral dissertation exploring categorisation, tagging, folksonomies and clustering algorithms (via ANU digital collections)
The weighted list, known popularly as a `tag cloud', has appeared on many popular folksonomy-based web-sites. Flickr, Delicious, Technorati and many others have all featured a tag cloud at some point in their history. However, it is unclear whether the tag cloud is actually useful as an aid to finding information. We conducted an experiment, giving participants the option of using a tag cloud or a traditional search interface to answer various questions. We found that where the information-seeking task required specific information, participants preferred the search interface. Conversely, where the information-seeking task was more general, participants preferred the tag cloud. While the tag cloud is not without value, it is not sufficient as the sole means of navigation for a folksonomy-based dataset.
Categorisation is something that we do naturally and unconsciously every day. We recognise one animal as a cat and another as a dog. We organise objects in the world around us in ways that reﬂect these categories. In our kitchens, we keep baking trays with other baking trays, saucepans with other saucepans and keep food separate from cleaning products. We categorise ideas, people, tasks and objects. Categorisation is fundamental to the way we think.
This paper investigates the use of a graded-category structure in categorisation tasks. An experiment was carried out comparing two diﬀerent user-interfaces for categorisation: one allowing graded membership of categories, the other allowing only exclusive (completely in or completely out) membership. The level of consensus amongst participants and time taken to categorise was compared between the two interfaces in order to determine if an interface allowing graded category membership better supports cognitive processes involved in categorising knowledge artefacts.