Reflective exercise – library tagging

Here’s an interesting exercise to do a spot check to see what topics have been fueling your interest, and it’s an interesting way to connect or find others who were interested in the same books and topics. 

  1. List at least 10 books you have referenced or read in the past year
  2. Add these books to a personal library list on the LibraryThing
  3. Add tags to each of the books (these tags should include why the book was relevant to you or the topics the book covered which you found helpful). From the “Your Library” view you can add the tags to each book by clicking the pencil icon in the shared area

    Pencil icon allows you to edit or add tags

  4. Click on the “Tags” tab and run a tag cloud to see a visual representation of all of your topics.  This should give you a snapshot of all of the items you looked at last year. The subjects that you referenced the most will appear in the largest/bolder font.

Tonight I set up my Library. You can view my library list here:

I actually clicked on the people icon in the “Shared” info column, and could find others who read the book or had it in their library. I could also see if they posted a review of the book as well.  Great stuff.   If you do try to use this, beware. It is a beta version so there are times when the site undergoes maintenance from time to time.

I think tag clouds are an interesting visual representation, but I struggle to see how they can be used as structured navigation to topics.  Perhaps there’s value,  if you have a closed community contributing to a tag cloud or tagging repository you can track which items or topics are more relevant to that group. After running a search on Google, I happened upon Joe Lamantia’s blog again (it’s been a while – see the link below), and it looks like he has been exploring the phenomenon of Tag Clouds in more detail.  He claims that the clouds are a valuable way for people to expand their learning through what others are documenting and listing in their clouds. This certainly does work for a learner like myself (part active experimenter/part reflective)  who enjoys exploring and seeking out connections.   For me the internet can be just one bread-crumb trail after another, which is dangerous because it takes some focus for me to come back and return to the original subject which was researching to begin with. But if learning via the net is great for my learning style; what about people who don’t enjoy learning this way? People who crave a little more structure to their educational menu?




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My place outside of work to explore and make connections with the ideas and things (sometimes work-related) that I'm passionate about.

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