I love controlled vocabulary. I love stringent selection criteria. I love the bibliographic description of experts.
And I love del.icio.us, too — though it stands against all those things.
As I’ve said before: for all our talk of individuality, people (when treated as an aggregate) follow similar and predictable patterns of behavior. (“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.”) And their glorious predictability makes tagging one of the most profoundly useful tools the social Web has created.
Obviously, tagging by the masses is not such a fine tool for deep, scholarly research. But for most people’s day-to-day informational needs, it is fantastic: there is an excellent chance that your appraisal of what something is about (that is, what it is about to you) matches up with other people’s idea of what it is about. And there’s also an excellent chance that you’ll use the same words to describe it. This makes searching for not-too-deep, good-enough information — frankly, what most of us need for most of our activities — easy, easy, easy. Plus, it supports limited Boolean logic, so you can search it like a real liberrian!
Some of my favorite tags are “howto” and “tutorial” (or “tutorials”).
If you’re curious, my contributions to del.icio.us — fewer than a hundred in the past two years — can be found at http://del.icio.us/adasiak. I hope I cleared out the porn!