May 19, 2008
Since its launch in late February, MTagger has grown to more than 1250 tags and almost 500 users. MTagger is the U-M Library's tagging tool -- it allows you to save and label library catalog entries, digital images, or any web page so that you can find them again and share them with others.
How does it work? You "tag" an item by typing a few words or phrases that will help you categorize the page. You can think of a tag as a label to help you find that web page again. You may choose to give a web page several tags that describe the content of the page. Later, when you want to return to that page again, you can look for pages that you've tagged accordingly. You could tag books in Mirlyn and web pages with a course number to bring together all your research materials for a class (phil389, for Philosophy 389, for example). You could tag web pages, images, and books with a keyword to see all of them at once (see books in the catalog, digital images, and web pages tagged Russia). Working on a group project? You and your fellow students can tag resources for the project across the library web site so you can all find and share them.
You can also find web pages that other people have given the same tag, and see all the tags other users have applied to the web page you saved.
We've integrated MTagger into several of the University Library's web sites. You can see tags in these places:
- On almost all library web pages
- On item pages in Mirlyn, our library catalog
- On image display pages in our digital image collections
- On most of the electronic journals published by the library's Scholarly Publishing Office
You can also use our "MTag This" bookmark to tag any web page at all. Just drag this image to your browser's toolbar:
MTagger also has "Collections." Collections assign categories to tags. This lets you browse items according to the source of the item (for example, the library catalog, digital images, web pages, etc.). While tags themselves would allow people to serendipitously find items in other collections, the automatically-assigned "Collections" tag will help you find the kind of resource you need more quickly.
More important than the tagging functionality itself is what MTagger will allow our faculty, staff, and students to do. MTagger brings a social component to research that we have not previously had. It will allow users to share knowledge about library resources with each other, to enable quick-and-dirty subject guides to be produced, and -- we hope -- to bring researchers together via their individual tag clouds. As research moves online, chance meetings in the stacks of researchers with overlapping interests become even more rare. Through tagging, we hope to be able to recreate some of those synergistic interactions as one researcher finds a tag of interest, and through that, the other researcher.
MTags was shown [my a Mayo Clinic librarian] as an example of a social networking technology put to work in libraries at the just-concluded national meeting of the Medical Library Association. It was great to see MLibrary get such good press in our professional circles.
Posted by: janeblum at May 22, 2008 03:25 PMLogin to leave a comment. If you don't have already have a University of Michigan uniqname, create a Friend account -- all you need is a valid email address.