Saturday, February 21, 2009

Disambiguation, polysemous and polysemantic

Big words....

I was involved in a little conversation about tagging and the challenges associated with disambiguation in folksonomies. For example, someone is using the tag "NPR" to refer to the National Public Radio and someone else is using the same tag to refer to a NASA Procedural Requirement. This example is just an acronym with multiple possible meanings. What about "open source." To an IT person, "open source" has to do the availability of software code, as opposed to proprietary software. To someone in the intelligence community, "open source" really means open source intelligence, intelligence that is publicly available in print or electronic form.

So, is it so bad that people from different background and different interests might end up using the same tags and mean totally different things? I'm going to take a slightly different perspective and suggest that the ambiguity and chaos of folksonomies is 1) an opportunity for making connections between things that would otherwise not be connected and 2) an opportunity to acknowledge that we don't all share the same frame of reference.

No comments: