Check out this awesome analysis of the collective bookmarking mind, and how a list of aggregated tags from multiple people describes really well the aboutness of the bookmark, moreso than when compared to a single user describing a bookmark.
It seems to work on an exponential basis, the more users bookmarking and tagging the item, the more we can tell exactly what that bookmark is about…and it’s not just by the tag names, it’s reading the tag names in a particular order.
James Corbett has looked at the data we can all see but decided on a perspective that enlightens the success of collective descriptions.
When you are at del.icio.us and click on ” and 77 other people” part of a bookmark, you will see all the users who saved that bookmark along with the tags, on the sidebar you will see the common tags…these are a list of tags used for this bookmark by 2 people or more.
James perfectly describes that when you view the common tags from a del.icio.us bookmark, you can read the tags from the bottom up, and it will describe quite well the aboutness of the bookmark, here is how he puts it:
“…Doane Paper. 109 other people had tagged it (25 recently) so I clicked through on its URL information page. And the Common Tags were -
[…] I decided to […] see what sense I could make of it by starting at the bottom and working upwards. Remember a hierarchy starts at the top and works down because it needs to go from broad/general to specific. The English language on the other hand tends to go from specific to general (eg. jolly fat man, dull red car). So here was my first effort -
cool download [for] writing journal(s) [on] moleskine [in] grid [or] graph [format] [for] creativity [in] business design […] So, I then clicked through on the link for Doane Paper, and wow! The definition was almost exactly as predicted by the army of tagging ants. The pheromones secreted by the taggers had left behind a hierarchical trail to the definition. The semiochemicals have generated a miniature semantic web.
No one has explicity posted to del.icio.us the specific definition for Doane Paper in the sentence above but the army of tagging ants have generated it with their collective intelligence.”