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Journal cover: Journal of Documentation

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Online from: 1945

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Finding communities: alternative viewpoints through weblogs and tagging

Document Information:
Title:Finding communities: alternative viewpoints through weblogs and tagging
Author(s):Kimberly Chopin, (Virum, Denmark)
Citation:Kimberly Chopin, (2008) "Finding communities: alternative viewpoints through weblogs and tagging", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 64 Iss: 4, pp.552 - 575
Keywords:Classification schemes, Communication technologies, Communities, Information searches, Internet, Online operations
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00220410810884075 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The author wishes to thank James Medhurst for useful discussion on both the blogosphere and the case issue. Additional thanks go to the anonymous reviewers for extremely useful feedback.

Purpose – This paper aims to discuss and test the claim that user-based tagging allows for access to a wider variety of viewpoints than is found using other forms of online searching.

Design/methodology/approach – A general overview of the nature of weblogs and user-based tagging is given, along with other relevant concepts. A case is then analyzed where viewpoints towards a specific issue are searched for using both tag searching (Technorati) and general search engine searching (Google and Google Blog Search).

Findings – The claim to greater accessibility through user-based tagging is not overtly supported with these experiments. Further results for both general and tag-specific searching goes against some common assumptions about the types of content found on weblogs as opposed to more general web sites.

Research limitations/implications – User-based tagging is still not widespread enough to give conclusive data for analysis. As this changes, further research in this area, using a variety of search subjects, is warranted.

Originality/value – Although proponents of user-based tagging attribute many qualities to the practice, these qualities have not been properly documented or demonstrated. This paper partially rectifies this gap by testing one of the claims made, that of accessibility to alternate views, thus adding to the discussion on tagging for both researchers and other interested parties.

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