Retiring MTagger

September 17, 2012

MTagger, the University Library's social bookmarking tool, has been turned off, having been replaced by the new MLibrary Favorites tool. We launched MTagger in early 2008 as a way to allow site visitors to save library resources (web pages, items in the catalog, etc.) for future use. (For more information about the tool, please see "MTagger Update.") MTagger was modeled after popular Internet tools such as Delicious. Once someone saved a page and added one or more tags (labels), these tags would then be shown on the item. Each tag linked to every item that shared that tag (regardless of who applied it), allowing future visitors to explore other resources.

Sample MTagger tag cloud

MTagger Tag Cloud

In addition to public "tagging" of items, we also used MTagger as the storehouse for items saved as a "favorite" in the library catalog. A favorite is distinct from a tagged item in that favorites are personal and private, accessible only to the individual who saved them. For example, if I had "tagged" the catalog record for a particular book, my tag would have appeared for all users in the tag cloud. Anyone could have clicked it, seen what else might have been identically tagged (by me or by others), explored other items that I had tagged, or other tags that I had used. By contrast, an item that I marked as a favorite was available only to me. Using MTagger was an inherently public act; using favorites is inherently private.

Usage patterns over the four and a half years that MTagger was part of our web site show a clear preference for "favoriting" items rather than tagging them. Of the total number of MTagger users and items, items saved through the catalog's favorites mechanism are the overwhelming majority (the "favorites" function in the catalog is a bit newer than MTagger, having been launched in the second half of 2009). MTagger's usage stats can be summarized as follows:

Measure Total Number
MTagger & Favorites
Created through Favorites Percentage
From Favorites
Distinct users 8,300 > 7,000 > 75%
Items tagged 88,000 > 72,000 > 80%
Tags used 9,300 N/A N/A

Retiring MTagger, Launching MLibrary Favorites

We have now completely retired MTagger. The tag cloud has been removed from the web site, catalog, and DLPS image collections. The new Favorites tool is more closely integrated with the resources that were used most frequently in MTagger (the catalog and Search Tools), and focuses on resources over which the library has control. To learn more about MLibrary Favorites, read the MLibrary Favorites post in this blog.

If you have questions, please contact Library Web Systems.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 10:32 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)

Tagging and Favoriting

April 02, 2012

Since February 2008, the University Library has offered a service called "MTagger" as a way to allow site visitors to save resources for future use. (I wrote about the service several months after launch in an article titled "MTagger Update.") MTagger was patterned after Delicious, the popular social bookmarking site. The idea was that visitors to the library web site could save individual books, web pages, images from our digital library, and so forth for future use. People would "tag," or add their own descriptive keywords, to the items they saved. These tags would then be shown on the item, allowing future visitors to explore other resources.

MTagger Tag Cloud

Sample MTagger tag cloud

In addition to public "tagging" of items, we also used MTagger as the storehouse for items "favorited" in the library catalog. A favorite is distinct from a tagged item in that favorites are personal and private, accessible only to the individual who saved them. For example, if I had "tagged" the catalog record for a particular book, my tag would have appeared for all users in the tag cloud. Anyone could have clicked it, seen what else might have been identically tagged (by me or by others), explored other items that I had tagged, or other tags that I had used. By contrast, an item that I marked as a favorite was available only to me. Using MTagger was an inherently public act; using favorites is inherently private.

Usage patterns over the four years that MTagger was part of our web site show a clear preference for "favoriting" items rather than tagging them. Of the total number of MTagger users and items, items saved through the catalog's favorites mechanism are the overwhelming majority (the "favorites" function in the catalog is new, existing for the most recent 2 1/2 years of MTagger's existence). MTagger's usage stats can be summarized as follows:

Use of MTagger & Favorites

Measure Total Number
MTagger & Favorites
Created through Favorites Percentage
From Favorites
Distinct users 8,300 > 7,000 > 75%
Items tagged 88,000 > 72,000 > 80%
Tags used 9,300 N/A N/A


Moving Toward Favorites

In fall 2011, the library launched "Search Tools Favorites", a way for authenticated library web site users to save databases and online journals (from Search Tools, our database and journal finder) and article citations (from ArticlesPlus, our SummonTM-powered article discovery tool). From its launch on November 2, 2011, through March 29, 2012, 549 library visitors have added a total of 4682 favorites (3097 article citations, 1012 databases, and 573 journals).

We are also in the process of migrating Mirlyn Favorites into the new Favorites system (they still are being saved as tags behind the scenes). Here, 305 users have favorited 3031 catalog items.

Our current Favorites tool is "siloed" -- that is, users who have marked items as a favorite can see them in separate lists in Search Tools, one each for articles, databases, and journals. Users who want to see their Mirlyn favorites must go to Mirlyn to see them. During the summer, we will be launching a new integrated favorites interface that will allow people to see all their favorites in one place and to organize them into categories -- so that books, articles, and databases for a single project can be listed together. We are still working on this interface and related programming. User studies for the interface will take place in the coming month, and we expect to launch the new integrated favorites interface in the first part of the summer.

Retiring MTagger

We are in the process of retiring MTagger. We have removed the MTagger tag cloud from the catalog and DLPS image collections. At some point in May, after Commencement, we will remove the tag cloud from the footer of pages on the library web site, as well. Where we can, we will migrate any items saved with MTagger (items from the catalog, databases, or journals) into favorites.

If you have questions, please use the Web Systems Feedback Form to reach us.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 10:18 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)

More MTagger Usability Research

July 25, 2008

As previously mentioned, the Usability Working Group (UWG), along with our 2 fantastic and hardworking interns, have been conducting usability research on MTagger.

We've now completed 5 studies (heuristic evaluation, cognitive walk-through, interviews, an informal "guerilla" test, and a comparative evaluation). We've just completed 6 formal usability tests and are in the process of analyzing the results.

Link to MTagger Usability Reports

Posted by Suzanne Chapman at 12:18 PM. Permalink | Comments (0)

MTagger Usability Research

June 08, 2008

The Usability Working Group (UWG), along with our 2 fantastic and hardworking interns, is spending the summer conducting usability research on MTagger. We started by doing a heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough. The goal for these evaluations was to reveal a preliminary set of issues pertaining to the usability, functionality and aesthetics of MTagger and to facilitate prioritizing further benchmarks. This report is now online.

We've also completed a "guerilla" test and we're in the process of conducting interviews and preparing for formal user tests and a survey. Reports for those studies will also be put online when they're done.

Link to MTagger Usability Reports

- Suzanne Chapman
-- UWG chair/DLPS Interface & User Testing Specialist

Posted by Suzanne Chapman at 02:22 PM. Permalink | Comments (1)

MTagger Update

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:

You can also use our "MTag This" bookmark to tag any web page at all. Just drag this image to your browser's toolbar:

MTag This Page

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.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 04:16 PM. Permalink | Comments (1)