Clay Shirky: Ontology is Overrated: Links, Tags, and Post-hoc Metadata

Recorded at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego, California on March 15, 2005, and available for you to download and/or listen online at IT Conversations, Shirky cites several examples of why hierarchical representations of the web (Yahoo, dmoz) don’t work as well as the freeform “tagging” of Google, del.icio.us or Flickr. Worth an attentive listen or two.

Database-centric application designers need to be thinking about this, too. We often present workflow and data entry entry that’s linear or branching. Relational database design by its nature is hierarchical. Think about how flat tagging can apply.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.