Oct. 29, 2006

Supertags

When thinking one day about how I have yet to add tags to my posts, I began to consider a limit of tagging anything on the Internet. In most cases, tags only link a post or photo to other posts or pictures in the same context. For example, when looking at pictures in Flickr, clicking on the tag “Quebec” takes the user to Flickr pictures tagged with “Quebec.”

As long as the user is interested in finding similar results, this sort of tagging is effective and appropriate. My thought, on the other hand, is that it should be possible for tags to lead to a number of contexts, as defined by either the user or the author. Let’s define a tag that can link to multiple search engines (ie. Google, the Library and Archives of Canada, Flickr, and del.icio.us) as a supertag.

An author using supertags should be able to choose what search engines the tag is run through. Perhaps the top three results from each search engine would appear in a separate window. In using supertags, the author would be able to direct users towards other relevant resources. Likewise, a user-controlled application might run a tag the user clicks on through previously specified search engines simultaneously, again bringing up the most relevant results in a separate window. A user-controlled application would enable individuals to always run tags through the engines that they most trusted.

Tagging is a subjective way of classifying and connecting information on the Internet, but supertagging might be one means to improving relevancy for users.