People tagging is becoming the next logical step in the tagosphere…at the moment most “enterprise people directories” list a fielded profile and a photo, one of the fields will be called interests or speciality, etc…
What if you could tag yourself with your interests or areas of expertise, and what if others could also tag you, and likewise you can tag others.
If you want to see who is a likely person for a new project, just look up the people tag cloud, and click on the appropriate tag…here you will see a list of probable experts for the job, according to the opinions of others, and the expert him/herself.
The visual view of a People tagging tag cloud will display perhaps the strong areas of expertise of the company, or areas lacking (according to the staff view).
I may discover person A is an expert on something, and I don’t even know them, but person B does so they tagged person A…so thanks to person B for sharing his/her tacit knowledge.
As well as a company sending out broadcast email’s for new internal jobs, such as “we are looking for someone with this expertise to go to this country”…they could target possible applicants that they have found via the people tag cloud.
A question is, could people tagging be a faceted system…numerous tag fields…displayed in numerous tag clouds
Name: John Tropea
Languages: English, Italian
Current Location: Perth
Locations worked: Melbourne, Perth
The first 6 fields could be owner only fields, ie. no-on else but that person can fill in these fields, and the “Interests/Expertise” field is the usual tag field that anyone can assign.
In this example, we only need to address 5 of the 7 tag clouds: Languages, Nationality, Locations worked, Projects, Interests/Expertise
…tag clouds are great in their simplicity, you may notice that a lot of people in your global company speak French, not many staff are Spanish, a lot of people haved working in Tokyo (probably because a lot of people have worked on a massive project in Tokyo).
What about adding these clouds together: I need a person who speaks French, but is Australian, and they need to have worked on a certain project, and it would help if they are familiar with this location (but it’s not paramount), and most of all they need these skills…
To acheive this, just click on the French tag from the language facet, this will give a list of staff who can speak french
…then the nationality facet will only display the available nationality tags for all people who speak french, hopefully the Australian tag from the nationality facet is available, if so we click on this, now you have a list of people who are Australian that speak french
…then the project facet will only display available project tags for people who are Australian that speak french, hopefully the projectABC tag is available, if so we click on this, as we can see we have almost built our ideal candidate
…then the locations worked facet will only display locations worked tags for people who are Australian that speak french and have worked on Project ABC, unfortunately location123 is not displayed, maybe we will ignore this tag in our equation as it is not paramount
…then the skills/expertise facet will only display available skills/expertise tags for people who are Australian that speak french and have worked in ProjectABC, unfortunately the skill tag we are looking for is not present.
Choices…start again with the skills/expertise tag…you may find the correct skills tag, you may not find the correct location tag (but that doesn’t matter), then you may find the correct Project tag, and you may find the correct nationality tag, but you don’t find the correct language tag.
So your decision may be to go with this person, but also send along another person who speaks the correct language to help out…
Now you could enter this, example above, as a search string, or you can browse by adding…browsing may show you some surprises (serendipity)
…let’s not forget using OR, and NOT searches would also be helpful.
IBM has a working model for a people tagging module that is also incorporated into the people directory, it’s called Fringe Contacts.
Interesting to see what tags you give yourself, and compare it to what the enterprise thinks of you…you may be tagged “search” by lots of people, but not yourself as you are modest about it, but to others in your work context you may be seen as the search guru.
There is also reciprocate tagging, someone can tag you, and you meet that tag with something you think is more correct.
An extra feature of people tagging compared to bookmark tagging is that you can see all users who have tagged a person with a certain tag…in del.icio.us we can see all users who have saved a bookmark (URL info page), but we can’t refine this to a tag,
eg. we can’t see all users who have tagged the google homepage URL, with the tag “search”.
- someone visually prominent on the tag cloud is likely to have a greater reputation for that skill/interest/expertise
- viewing a users space will display their social network…an empty space may reveal an unsocial person (or they night just not use the system)
- related people…from the paper:
“…is computed by finding people with the most tags in common with the person currently being viewed”.
So in our example above, the person we send along who speaks the language may be seeked by looking at the related people list first.
Fringe contacts has also been intergrated into IM, email, and the people directory…great idea
(since people tagging is a form of grouping contacts, you can email all people with a tag from your user space).
Finding experts via Social bookmarks
IBM also have a social bookmarking module called Dogear…people will tag documents, webpages, etc, that they are interested in, these interest areas may reflect their areas of expertise, or their learning of a new area.
This is not explicitly describing people (like Fringe Contacts), but we can gather a description of a person from the tags they use.
This is also a folksonomy, but the emerging vocabulary is another point of discussion, what we are interested in is what a user is interested in…if we examine the tag cloud, we can see what people’s interests are according to what they are not only reading, but find worthy saving. This again may show insight into developing areas of expertise.
Not only can we view a tag and get a picture of what the people in a enterprised are interested in, we can even view a user space, and see this directly…another benefit is that users can discover content saved by others, special interest might be with those that share common tags…as a result group bookmarking may develop or even communities of practice.
The article, Collaborative Tagging and Expertise in the Enterprise illuminates us with some situations where the access to a social bookmarks service is a real time-sensitive knowledge tool
…another article, Onomi: Social Bookmarking on a Corporate Intranet illustrates the benefits of enterprise social bookmarking.
Back to people tagging…this may almost be a social network anaylsis 2.0, by that I mean we are seeing relationships between people (these may not be explicit, ie. they may not know each other) but people are tagging others.
If a person gets tagged alot with a certain tag, we can evaulate they are the go-to person for that type of information, this is one of the key reasons for doing a social network analysis (SNA).
In saying this, a SNA is an area that will give us much more precise and various angles on relationships, but I think people tagging can result in a simple view of what a SNA provides.
Since librarians research for people and help them with current awareness, they know a lot of peoples interests, and can connect people with each other…well people tagging kind of takes care of this itself.
You may see someone has been tagged, or tagged themselves “wiki”, and you were certain you were the only one in the enterprise who knew about “wiki’s”…you goto their profile and read this person is from the IT busines unit. This is great, you always wanted to start a wiki, but didn’t know how to set it up on a server, or how to go about the technical aspects, or thought it would be too much trouble trying to explain the concept…now that you know someone else shares your interest, this will be a real driver to push something that’s been on the backburner.
The beauty of people tagging is that people are doing the tagging, you just set up the service, and people will populate the data, and networks form…very inexpensive.
The problem raised in the paper is if people don’t like being tagged with certain tags but are too timid to clarify the situation…also what about tag decay, some tags may become outdated, eg. a person being tagged with a project name…can the moderator remove tags in these situations.
Tagalag is basically the same idea, but on the open web. When you look at a user space on Tagalag you can also see their feeds, this tells us a bit more about the person.
Ziki, and Peoplefeeds are similar again, it is focused on a user collating all their content in one place, then you can tag yourself, so again this is people tagging, and once you find someone you can get even more insight by looking at their content, such as their bookmarks, blog feeds, photo’s, etc.
I think 43things also falls into this space (not sure if you can tag yourself)…and then their is SuprGlu which is just personal content aggregation via a river of news, basically a different visual display than a start page.
But this (Peoplefeeds, Ziki, Tagalag) is only one way people tagging, the great thing about Fringe Contacts, is that people can tag each other, this makes it a people folksonomy…well, I’m not sure, if it’s like Tagalag you can only tag a person by entering their email, you can’t find a person on the system and add and tag them to your account.
Zimbio and GROU.PS are similar, but they are more people/groups content networks, the content from various services in aggregated in the one place, but you don’t tag yourself or the topic…thus people can’t tag you or the topic how they see fit.
You can find a person via their social bookmarks user space, you can find their blog, you can find their people tagging user space, but to bring it all together like Zimbio is the ultimate user space, once you have found that person you can find out lots more about them…by the looks from the Fringe Contacts paper screen shots, it seems people tagging is just one module from a Personal Information Management (PIM) dashboard.
So, we can discover experts in an enterprise via looking at a social bookmarks tag cloud, and seeing who are the avid users for a tag…we can also discover experts from a people tagging tag cloud (this is explicitly tagging people)…from which ever module we find this user, we can then go to their PIM dashboard and learn more in depth.
NOTE: a PIM dashboard may contain modules for: a blog, forum memberships, social bookmarks, wiki, im, email, external news, rss reader…also viewable in a my news portal startpage, which is desktop view of the dashboard.