Have I convinced you that tags aren't all they've cracked up to be? I hope I have, but nonetheless there's a lingering fascination. Surely there's something to be done about tags: we don't want to just turn up our noses at Mr. Weinberger's argument. They could be a compact and efficient way of describing pictures. After all, picture archiving is difficult. Witness Art Spiegelman's fine graphical account in the New Yorker more than a dozen years ago; he described the difficult work of senior librarian Arthur Williams who curated the New York Public Library's extensive picture collection for over 30 years. Just how do you turn a library patron's question, “I want a picture that conveys rough times ahead” into a photo of a three-masted schooner sailing into a storm?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Do Tags Work? by Cathy Marshall is an interesting study comparing tags, titles and descriptions of photos in Flickr.