Representing and Sharing Tagging Data Using the Social Semantic Cloud of Tags

Representing and Sharing Tagging Data Using the Social Semantic Cloud of Tags

Hak-Lae Kim (National University of Galway, Ireland), John G. Breslin (National University of Galway, Ireland), Stefan Decker (National University of Galway, Ireland) and Hong-Gee Kim (Seoul National University, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-368-5.ch046


Social tagging has become an essential element for Web 2.0 and the emerging Semantic Web applications. With the rise of Web 2.0, websites that provide content creation and sharing features have become extremely popular. These sites allow users to categorize and browse content using tags (i.e., free-text keyword topics). However, the tagging structures or folksonomies created by users and communities are often interlocked with a particular site and cannot be reused in a different system or by a different client. This chapter presents a model for expressing the structure, features, and relations among tags in different Web 2.0 sites. The model, termed the Social Semantic Cloud of Tags (SCOT), allows for the exchange of semantic tag metadata and reuse of tags in various social software applications.
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With the rise of Web 2.0, websites which provide content creation and sharing features have become extremely popular. Many users have become actively involved in adding specific metadata in the form of tags and content annotations in various social software applications. While the initial purpose of tagging is to help users organize and manage their own resources, collective tagging of common resources can be used to organize information via informal distributed classification systems called folksonomies (Mathes, 2004; Merholz, 2004).

Studies of tagging and folksonomies can be divided into two main approaches: (a) semantic tagging concentrates on folksonomies that are inconsistent and even inaccurate because a large group of untrained users assign free-form terms to resources without guidance. Since this approach aims to resolve tag ambiguities, a wealth of ideas and efforts is emerging regarding how to use and combine ontologies with folksonomies (Weller, 2007); (b) social networking focuses on a community of users interested in a specific topic that may emerge over time because of their use of tags (Mika, 2005). The power of social tagging lies in the aggregation of information (Quintarelli, 2005). Aggregation of information involves social reinforcement by reinforcing social connections and providing social search mechanisms. Thus, a community built around tagging activities can be considered a social network with an insight into relations between topics and users.

Using freely determined vocabularies by a participant is less costly than employing an expert (Sinclair & Cardew-Hall, 2007) and a cognitive load of tagging in comparison with taxonomies or ontology is relatively low (Merholz, 2004). However, tagging the data from social media sites without a social exchange is regarded as an individual set of metadata rather than a social one. Although tagging captures individual conceptual associations, the tagging system itself does not promote a social transmission that unites both creators and consumers. To create social transmission environments for tagging, one needs a consistent way of exchanging and sharing tagging data across various applications or sources. In this sense, a formal conceptual model to represent tagging data plays a critical role in encouraging its exchange and interoperation. Semantic Web techniques and approaches help social tagging systems to eliminate tagging ambiguities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Computing: Is defined as any type of collaborative and social applications that offer the gathering, representation, processing, use, and dissemination of distributed social information.

Open API (Application Programming Interface): Is used to describe a set of methods for sharing data in Web 2.0 applications.

Social Software: Can be defined as a range of web-based software programs that support group communication. Many of these programs share similar characteristics, for example, open APIs, customizable service orientation, and the capacity to upload data and media.

Social tagging: Also known as collaborative tagging, refers to assigning specific keywords or tags to items and sharing the set of tags between communities of users.

Semantic Web: Is an extension of the current World Wide Web that links information and services on the web through meaning and allows people and machines use web content in more intelligent and intuitive ways.

Social Semantic Cloud of Tags (SCOT): Is an ontology for sharing and reusing tagged data and representing social relations among individuals. It aims to describe the structure and the semantics of data and to offer the interoperability of data among different sources.

Ontology: Is set of well-defined concepts describing a specific domain.

Taxonomy: A method of organizing information in a hierarchical structure using a set of vocabulary terms.

Folksonomy: A practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags for the purpose of annotating and categorizing content. The term folksonomy is a fusion of two words: folk and taxonomy. Folksonomies became popular with the introduction of web-based social software applications, for example, social bookmarking and photograph annotating.

Tagging: A way of representing concepts through tags and cognitive association techniques without enforcing a categorization.

Tag: A type of metadata used for items such as resources, links, web pages, pictures, blog posts, and so on.

Mashup: Involves web services or applications combining data from different websites. In general, mashup services are implemented by combining various functionalities with open APIs.

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