Friday, September 21, 2007

PAWS Meeting 2007-9-21

Chirayu presented a paper titled as "The folksonomy tag cloud: when is it useful?" In this paper, the authors intended to see the utility of the famous "tag clouds." Even if it's already being used in many commercial Web services like Flickr, its utility has not be clearly identified so far. Even Tomas Vder Wal, the one who coined the term "folksonomy", refered TC as cute but with little value.
They performed an experiment and compared two information seeking options: searching vs. TC and find out if TC was conceived as really useful by subjects. The subjects were given 10 information seeking tasks for 10 articles (per task). The system showed top 70 user tags and search box they can use.
The experimental results shows that TC was favoured by the subjects in the expriment sessions: 48.0% vs. 41.2%. People relied on TC made mor queries (higher efficiency) even when relevant keywords were in TC. Their conclusions include that TC was useful for browsing and non-specific information discovery, it provided visual summaries, and it required less cognitive load.
What was clear from this study was the strength of browsing compared with the ad-hoc searching (as in our study with KnowledgeSea). TC provided a new browsing option but the study did not take into account other browsing options than just simple searching. It might be needed to see exactly how TC is accepted differently than other browsing techniques because the results of this paper might have been made due to the browsing scheme itself, not from just the TC.


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