Tagging: Coming to a Roller blog site near you

So, once we deploy Roller 3.1 on blogs.sun.com, Roller tagging of blog entries will be supported. As with most bloggers, I've been in a few tagging debates. To be honest, I've always been skeptical of the value -- especially regarding folksonomy tags (everyone roll their own). Taxonomy tags (official/standard tags defined by an ontologist -- or a tag PhD of sorts) definitely hold value, but taxonomy tags aren't exactly widely used in the blogosphere.

Being a volunteer librarian, you'd think I'd understand the value of applying metadata to information for ease of findability -- imagine a giant pile of books in no particular order vs a neat & tidy library organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Needless to say, the latter certainly makes it a whole lot easier for you to find the information available for the topic you are researching. It wasn't until I read Amibient Findability this week that I tagged myself with the "blogs tag supporter" metadata. :-)

Sun's use of the Roller tagging functionality will likely be a mix of folksonomy and optional taxonomy tags. The taxonomy part is still being debated, but it'll likley consist of a list of tags for our top twenty-ish Sun-centric terms. This will help us more efficiently mash up blog entries with traditional Sun website content on sun.com. We do this today via keywords in blog entries. Here's a blogs data + traditional corp site data mash-up example: http://www.sun.com/servers/coolthreads/t2000/product-blog.xml

Sun bloggers will be happy to know that the new Roller tagging functionality is super easy to use. Simply enter your (space delimited) tags in the new tags field when adding a new blog entry. As you type in a tag, Roller will suggest existing tags when available. In the example below, once I typed in the 1st two characters of a tag I used on a previous entry, Roller suggested it.











You'll also see that you can search your entries based on tags:




















We plan to deploy Roller 3.1 to blogs.sun.com next week. So, start your tagging engines!

PS...Thanks to Elias @ IBM for contributing this functionality to Roller.

UPDATE: Per Elias' comment below, comma delimiters and multi-word tags are also supported.
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Sr. Community Engineering Program Manager/Acting Director for Sun's external social networking sites (blogs, forums, wikis, etc.). Skrocki's personal blog, LinkedIn.

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