Re: Of tags and topics

Hi all,

> > I'd like to see a GNOME-wide tag/topic system eventually, but we
> > should get some definitions sorted out first.

I second that. I dream of tagging all virtual resource I deal with,
and I hope that someday it's possible. I don't agree with the tag vs.
topic thing though, they are the same thing IMO.

I think of a tag as just what it is: a string of characters. In
general, only humans can derive some meaning from it. But even then,
what I mean by 'liberal' or 'mouse' can be interpreted totally
different by other people, so they are subjective, and certainly not

Tags are just little labels for a set of resources. They mean
something to me, and together they form a kind of personal namespace
that holds all the concepts I use to describe or group 'stuff' with. I
like to compare this with WikiNames: using a single namespace to
identify all contained data. This namespace could contain every entity
I know of. (sidenote: I'd really like to couple my namespace, eg.
delicious, to such a personal wiki to organize topics, ideas,
research, stuff I will forget, etc).

Before tags become metadata however, they need to be 'elevated' into
types; classes or properties. And then you get into the art of
creating schema's, which is very dependent on your goals.

An example however of how I think one could do this:
I tag something with 'Zita Swoon', and later in my 'personal namespace
manager' say that this tag actually is a resource of the type
MusicBrainz.Artist. Then, using another namespace, say Dublin Core, I
need to tell it that the resource I tagged is something with the
metadata DC.Subject 'Zita Swoon'. etc.

When you reiterate this exercise with a few tags, you see that there's
a lot more involved in creating real metadata than simple tagging. The
simplicity of tagging is that I don't need to do this kind of
structuring (structures wich might change in maybe a month). At some
point, a schema to categorize or bundle tags would be nice though, but
I think it's a mistake to try to figure such a thing out in Ephy (not
now at least).

So I see no difference between tags, Ephy's Topics, keywords, and what
else unless they are in some schema, and I don't think Ephy needs such
a thing. It's just that 'Topic' would be a bit better to understand to
someone not being a web-geek. But they're just strings.

One of Ephy's goals is creating a good GUI for this tagging thing, and
I hope they also can find a good API to import/export this to couple
it with other services. But what do I know, I'm not involved, I just
know they make a great browser. ;)

My two cents,


Ps, does this make sense?

irc, berend/mpe at

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