I have been asked to review the pros and cons of implementing user tags, lists, ratings and reviews in our library catalogue. I would be interested to hear the views of any academic library that has introduced this Web 2.0 functionality as to the advantages to their library, their users and their institution of adding these features to their catalogue and if there have been any drawbacks. It would be particularly helpful to know of other libraries in the UK that have done so but all advice welcome.

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Hi Adrian

I went to the ALISS summer conference last August and was most impressed with a guy called Tom Butler who is from Croydon College. Here's his PowerPoint http://www.alissnet.org.uk/ALISS/files/august2008butler.pdf
I would recommend taking a look at that and getting in touch with him as they've really gone for it and had success.
I would be interested in hearing about this too. We will be moving soon to an OPAC that allows tagging. We are a K-12 school district. Our school librarians are very weary about. It will have a bad word filter, but they still are concerned about what kids will do with it. I say it's all part of teaching them digital citizenship.
I'm new to the profession and have grown up with computers. I actually think that folksonomies are great, although they are not necessarily reliable. Library catalogs should definitely have normal records (something concrete to base standard cataloging procedures/searches off of), but I am definitely not opposed to user-given tags on records, kind of like LibraryThing does. I think that it would allow books that discuss several topics to have a better chance of being found. If, for example, you were looking for a non-war novel that took place in the civil-war era. If you searched civil war, you would get only civil war books. With folksonomies, you get books such as Little Women, who wouldn't necessarily have civil war in its record. On a catalog following LCSH for Little Women, you may get something like these as search terms:
Subject term: March family (Fictitious characters)--Fiction..
Subject term: Mothers and daughters--New England--Fiction.
Subject term: Young women--New England--Fiction.
Subject term: Sisters--New England--Fiction.
Subject term: English language--Glossaries, vocabularies, etc.
Subject term: Vocabulary--Examinations--Study guides.
With Folksonomies, it opens the amount of subjects for a book. I'm not saying they should be the first line of cataloging searching, but they are definitely a viable addition to a record that we don't need to necessarily focus on (provided we program in taboo words and spell checkers) but allows a patron feel like s/he is making a contribution.

That's my two bits.
I am all for tags and user ratings. Our users are familiar with Amazon and Delicious and they want to know what their peers think. I think Tags are great.



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