Tagging, tagonomy, taxonomy, folksonomy. Worldchanger Jon Lebkowsky has just gathered together some fellow bright minds to start You're It! a blog on tagging. Only two weeks in, there's already good chewy reading:
Jon: Here were talking about a populist approach to taxonomy: rather than fit our thinking into authoritative closed classification schemes, we can create our own through tagging, and in social tagging environments we can negotiate new, more nuanced ways to map meaning and relationship through shared, emergent classification systems.
Del.icio.us is a very useful way to see how other people have tagged the same web site, or other web sites that have been tagged with the same tag.
There has been a bit of talk about 'tag spam' where people use inappropriate tags to get exposure for their site. While social tags are useful in categorizing links under certain key words, it's still hard to get a measure of "appropriateness" or "relevancy" for that key word. It does help to see how many other people have bookmarked that link, though. Some sites are trying to combine rankings with tagging to provide more relevancy and solve the spam problem, like squik.com. It will be interesting to see what happens as these sites get more mainstream.