Transliteracy, tags and networks: blogging from York 2.0

Transliteracy (another literacy!) is defined as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media. Sue Thomas and Bruce Mason from De Montfort gave a fascinating account discussing a recent project which looks at the development of knowledge networks (people to people) as opposed to knowledge repositories (people to documents). She is using del.icio.us as the bibiography for her whole course, allowing students to add their own resources and accessing it using tags.

The project looked at folksonomies and focused on delicious, which is simple but has primitive tagging. They has approximately 30 taggers with mixed experiences and asked them to tag 40 identical websites and complete various other activities. It generated around 1400 tags and tag clouds could be compared across people. The clouds show that people use a wide variety of different terms to tag the same items and people tag in different ways – some used many terms, some used fewer. Generally people use more tags than are in standard taxonomies. Standardising tags was problematic and most people didn’t like the idea of ‘best practice’ tagging. Mason finished with asking is a folksonomy user generated metadata? Or is a shared language?

Some other interesting talks I attended included a consideration of what is called ‘Pregnancy 2.0’ by Chiara Fonio and others, analysing Youtube postings on pregnancy and related topics and what it says about shifts in perceptions of public and private space. Paul Pys, who joined us at dinner last night gave a highly articulate account on the Unbearable Coolness of Being looking at Facebook and the aestheicisation of the self. Paul is an undergraduate from York and his presentation was impressive and he raised many key issues about contemporary art, postmodern culture and the commodification of the self. Nicholas Gane and Dave Beer looked at unbinding archives through web 2.0. He talks of the idea of the ‘archive from below’ seeing Myspace, Flickr and other web 2.0 sites as ‘archives’ which are not filled simply with formal documents, but records of ‘mundane lives’. Increasingly lives are being played out through archives, not just stored here. But this poses the question of how you find what you want in such a vast archive? Individual lives are flooding people’s public spaces and is Andrew Keen right, that web 2.0 is killing culture? Gane also talked about other issues such as the digital divide and the internet as an ‘electronic agora’.

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