Tags are great, I really like them. I’ve used tags myself and they tend to be really useful, but I’ve also found them confusing and unnecessarily complex. For example, if you glance to the image on your left you’ll see the tag cloud for my del.icio.us bookmarks. Look at the unbundled tags. If you look at the l’s you’ll see Librarians, libraries and library. Also in the b’s is blog, blogging and Blogs. There should be a standard for tagging that should be endorsed by web 2.0/library 2.0 entities otherwise what we will end up seeing is repetitive and inefficient. When tagging you shouldn’t have to ask yourself: Should I use singular or plural? Should I capitalize or not? Should I use the verb or noun form? For lack of a better term I would say that tags need some form of bibliographic control. I’m not a coder so I don’t know how difficult it would be to write in some kind of bibliographic control but it doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult. Perhaps tags could be compared against a dictionary and singular forms could be used over plural forms and nouns could be used over verbs (when applicable). Wikipedia seems to practice a form of this. If you go to Wikipedia and search for blogging you will be directed to the page for blog. If you search for libraries you’ll be directed to library (but if you search for librarian you will find an entry for librarian). I’m all for the wisdom of the crowds but I also think there needs to be some kind of management or you may end up with chaos.
What I basically would like to see is an implementation of a form of subject headings. Tags are definitely different from subject headings in that they are broader and encompass multiple facets of a work but the basic idea isn’t all that different. I think that web 2.0 could really benefit from some tag management.