There is a difference how you tag, whether it’s more inducive to browsing (tags as containers), or more inducive to searching (tags as keywords).
But in the end as the folksonomy grows fielded search is a great way to narrow your search, and of course full-text search will become a must have feature.
Even though tagging is great for finding things later, after a while you will accumulate lots of bookmarks within a tag…there will eventually be too many to browse if you are looking for a particular item, even if you know the right tag or combination of tags .
Browsing a tag is great for discovery, better or more relevant-more precise I guess-than scrolling through search engine results…but here, we are talking about finding or looking for a particular needle in the haystack.
That’s why searching full-text or searching within tags will narrow the play field in helping you find that item
…and folksonomies like Simpy or Spurl/Furl (full-text search) offer every possibility, it’s just up to your organising skills, memory, and search skills.
So down the road folksonomies will only go so far in findability without involving advanced (fielded and/or full-text) search, their forte is in organising, and browsing a topic (discovery) without the noise…also great for current awareness as people add sites instead of them being crawled/indexed, so you can monitor news sites being added by search terms or tag terms or a combination of both.
So to begin with they already have less noise than traditional search engines, and they are great in discovering topics as they are browsable by subject so to speak, or if you want just use full-text searching, best of both worlds…only thing is they aren’t exaustive as search engines (they don’t search billions of pages…maybe in 10 years time a folksonomy will be a human indexed web of billions of hopefully, quality pages).
Otis also adds to this point…depends how you tag (to browse, or to search…it’s a bit of an inverse relationship.
A way around it is to split your tag set into 2, like using del.icio.us bundles.
Have one bundle as your tags (keyword approach), so you’ll have heaps of these but less bookmarks within each one…and have another bundle as your tags (category approach), you’ll have less of these but more bookmarks within each tag
…so now you can browse the category like tag set or search your whole account, best of both worlds, once again?
…although the 2 tag sets will be hard to differentiate at the time of bookmarking a page, as all tags are listed alphabetical, and not divided into bundles.
NOTE: Need not mention that what makes them great are the fundamentals in that: tags are user-defined, the pages or content is chosen by the community (human indexed-web), and in turn the users index a chosen page with a chosen tag…somewhere down the line a vocabulary may emerge by default.
Some related posts: