As you read earlier, folksonomy is a community-driven mechanism for categorizing data where the keywords are driven by end users instead of designated taxonomists. SharePoint 2010 now offers support for folksonomy via Social Tagging. Social Tagging allows end users to tag pages with Keywords for future reference or to share with colleagues.
When a user tags a page, SharePoint searches for a Keyword or Term that matches the tag. If a match occurs then the existing Keyword or Term is used. If, on the other hand, a matching Keyword or Term is not found, then SharePoint creates a new Keyword and stores it in the special Keywords Term Set. By default, everyone can add new Terms to this special Term Set. As you would expect, the Keywords Term Set uses an open submission policy, which allows all users to contribute entries.
NOTE Terms in the Keywords Term Set are called Keywords, not Terms.
Keywords do not support any type of hierarchy or relationship. Keywords can only exist under the Keywords Term Set and only in one flat structure.
When tagging a page, the user has the option of either marking the tag public or private. If the tag is marked as private others will not be able to see that the page was tagged, but the Keyword will be created in the Keyword Store and available for others to use. Also, if a page has been tagged by someone but the tag was marked as public, anyone else who tags that page will see that tag as a suggestion. Because of this, users should be properly trained on how to use tags to prevent tags of a sensitive or confidential nature from being inadvertently created.
Over time, certain Keywords may gain wide acceptance. In such cases, it may be useful to promote them by moving them from the Keywords Term Set to another, more formal Term Set. In this way, a Term can be promoted from a folksonomy model (Keyword) to a taxonomy model (Term). If Social Tagging is used in conjunction with SharePoint’s My Sites feature,
then in addition to tagging pages it is also possible to add notes about a page. Notes are stored on a user’s My Site for later retrieval and are viewable by everyone.
This post is an excerpt from the online courseware for our Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Enterprise Content Management course written by expert John Underwood.
John Underwood is a technical evangelist for a SharePoint consulting company, with 30 years of programming experience, including 20 years on the Microsoft platform and 10 years with .NET. John also has extensive experience using, configuring, and programming SharePoint.