The act of tagging consists of labelling objects with keywords [Wikipedia].
Tagging, the way it works now, is attaching separate keywords with
objects. Although we might attach multiple keywords with the same
object, the words are independent of each other (Don't argue that the
words are related in the sense of tag clusters. Let me get to the
In its present form, tagging no wonder has created a revolution. But
would it not be more useful if tagging were in the form of key-value
pairs as well. I should have an option of either tagging objects with
single words (as it works now), or with key-value pairs.
How would this help? I had written about Problems
with Podcasts sometime back. Now consider a model in which I
could not only have skip-points which mention where a particular topic
starts, but also what these topics are and my own comments on it.
If you compare a single podcast to a set of blog entries, 'key-value'
tagging could be compared to comments to a single blog entry. It would
look somewhat like this:
<comment>This is where the speaker talks about Google's WebOS initiative.</comment>
Although this can be done using XML so easily, an end user would not
like writing XML code. So a simple interface could be provided where
the user writes the time and the comment and this is clubbed with the
podcast and can be accessed anywhere on the web. Further, the user
could add any information, for example, the name of the speaker
(example, speaker=Gautham) or the location where the podcast was
created (example, location=Bangalore).
And just like tags, nothing is pre-defined. The user can add just about
any 'key-value' tags to any object. Again, as I keep mentioning, RDF
has solutions to these. But 'Keep It Stupidly Simple' is how the web
works. So be it. 🙂
I have been talking about Tag evolution here.