Yet another new blend: "folksonomy"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Jan 19 01:04:16 UTC 2005

Hard to keep track of all the new cyberblends.  Now there's "folksonomy".

Some cites:

Gene Smith, "Atomiq: Folksonomy: social classification." Aug 3, 2004
Last week I asked the AIfIA members' list what they thought about the
social classification happening at Furl, Flickr and In each
of these systems people classify their pictures/bookmarks/web pages with
tags (e.g. wedding), and then the most popular tags float to the top (e.g.
Flickr's tags or on the right). Thomas Vander Wal, in his
reply, coined a great name for these informal social categories: a

Thomas Vander Wal, "You Down with Folksonomy?" Aug 4, 2004
Gene supplies a good overview of Folksonomy, which is the bottom-up social
classification that takes place on Flickr,, etc.

Clay Shirkey, "Folksonomy." Aug 25, 2004
Folksonomy, a new term for socially created, typically flat name-spaces of
the ilk, coined by Thomas Vander Wal.

Adam Mathes, "Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication
Through Shared Metadata." December 2004
The organic system of organization developing in Delicious and Flickr was
called a “folksonomy” by Thomas Vander Wal in a discussion on an
information architecture mailing list (Smith, 2004). It is a combination
of "folk" and "taxonomy."

Louis Rosenfeld, "Folksonomies? How about Metadata Ecologies?" Jan 6, 2005
Lately, you can't surf information architecture blogs for five minutes
without stumbling on a discussion of folksonomies (there; it happened

Peter van Dijck, "Emergent i18n effects in folksonomies." Jan 15, 2005
Folksonomies are taxonomies created by users who add tags to things.
Folksonomies are messy and have a lot of problems, but their great merit
is that they're scalable and they use the users' terminology by
definition, a serious problem with more classic taxonomies that are
created by information architects or librarians.

--Ben Zimmer

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