Web appsTag Conversion Utility

June 30th, 2008 by Greg Boutin

In my previous post, I proposed a grand “supertag” vision reminiscent of some of the ideas of the semantic web. In fact, it is this vision that led to my first contact with the semantic web. I was wondering about the best approach to tagging and autotagging while working on an application called TagOver, and there was some crossover with semantic technologies.

Since then, I have also become further convinced that every vision should be sequenced in small stand-alone steps that each deliver a well thought-out benefit to some users. In the context of “Supertags”, I propose that this first step be a Tag Conversion agent.

Taggers around the world are faced with a problem of increasing importance: all key applications that offer tagging do so in a siloed way, as if wanting to keep control of the tags that users created. They miss a key point: tags are worth more to users when they can be shared across applications.

So what I’d like to invest some time into is a simple web platform created in an open-source model, that would let developers add widgets to go fetch your tags on the top web services and pieces of software people use. To quote my last post, those applications would likely be gmail, Flickr, Facebook,
del.icio.us, Technorati, Outlook (email categories), and MS file
explorer (turning folders into tags, and also using existing tags). Web users could then import and export their tags between services, thereby universalizing a tagging ecosystem almost “overnight”, simply by linking pre-existing building blocks between them.

I’m looking for people, especially a talented programmer, interested in working on that idea. I anticipate it could constitute an interesting side project for both of us.

  • Shawn Simister

    I’ve had some similar ideas about tagging and the semantic web.
    This is a quick prototype that I put together to demonstrate a tagging interface where tags can be uniquely identified using data from Freebase.com.
    http://simister.ca/temp/tagging_demo.html
    If you can relate tags back to a unique topic then they become much more meaningful. It also allows you to make inferences about other possible tags.