Project – Rich Tags

Project Name: Rich Tags: Supporting better exploration of digital repositories with semantic social tagging

Programme Name: Repositories and Preservation Programme

JISC Project URI:

Project URI:

Start Date: February 2007

End Date: January 2009

Governance: Repositories and Preservation Advisory Group

Contact Name and Role: Monica Shraefel, Project Manager

Brief project description:

“Tagging is an increasingly popular mechanism used on the web to add personal categorisations to artefacts of information. Many popular web applications such as Blogging, photo communities and other community-based sharing sites allow users to add tags to their artefacts to give them a more personal meaning that can be shared and used publicly among the community. Tag aggregators at sites like Flickr, Delicious and Technorati show degree of popularity of a given tag via a Tag Cloud which generally uses font size to represent degree of use: more popular tags show up with larger, bolder fonts. Clicking on a tag takes one to a page listing each occurrence of that tag. This result list demonstrates one of the weaknesses of social tagging: these link lists are both undifferentiated and ambiguous. That is, clicking on a tag for a conference may return hundreds of photos in a photo space of that conference, but provide no mechanism for getting at a photo of the speaker of interest. Likewise multiple groups may have multiple meanings for the same tag. There is no way with conventional tags to associate a particular meaning of a tag with its signifier to see only results associated with a given understanding of the term. Because of these problems with number and ambiguity, tags are used mainly to show some sense of levels of interest in a topic within a community, since they are not particularly effective for exploring back into the Tag Cloud to look for interesting content associated with that tag. In this proposal we plan to explore how, by addressing the number and ambiguity problems, social tagging might be redesigned to improve digital repository functionality for cross-repository exploration and discovery. We call this approach Semantic Tagging.”


  • Web services to support the creation of and access to semantic tags associated with IR artefacts for the purpose of cross-repository exploration.
  • A test framework to support the publishing and discovery of cross-repository tags.
  • Exploration of automatic association of such tags with repository artefacts.
  • Evaluations of social semantic tagging in use.
  • Exploration of role of Trust in take-up and use of social tagging for EPrints exploration.
  • Recommendations both in terms of architecture and usability, stemming from evaluation for the larger scale deployment or adaptation of social semantic tagging.