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José Antonio Moreiro
 Incorporated contributions
Jorge Morato
 Usage domain
Social Web
 German Folksonomien

[Understandable but with some grammatical missteps]

Folksonomies are a set of terms (called tags) collected from Natural Language. These tags are used to describe web resources semantically.


The term belongs to the Social Web vocabulary. In social tagging, users describe their own or external social web resources with tags.


  •  Easy to use. Folksonomies are simple and friendly solutions to describe resources.
  • Cheap. Everybody is able to employ tagging, without prior training in either indexing techniques or controlled vocabularies.
  •  The vocabulary fits the resource, even when the resource is quite specific. The user can describe the resources with his own terms.  Once the term is used, the folksonomy includes the term as a tag.


  •  Tags are ambiguous due to polysemy and synonyms. Frequently, systems just allow assigning simple terms instead of more specific compound terms; thereby increasing ambiguity.
  • Tags might have orthographical and typing errors.
  • Tags are arbitrarily assigned without an indexing policy.
  • There might be no semantic relationship between terms.


Term coined by Thomas Van Der Wal, merging the terms folk (people) and taxonomy.


  • Flicker: Application to manage, share and retrieve photos on line. Every user describes their own photos with relevant tags.
  • Youtube: Application for sharing video online.
  • Application to tag web pages. Users can index other web pages.

Folksonomies and ontologies:

The goal of Folksontologies is to build ontologies from folksonomies. This implies linking every tag from a folksonomy with semantic relationships. This achieves shared conceptualizations for user groups. 

Related Resources

  • Vander Wal, Thomas. "Folksonomy Coinage and Definition". (Online) <> [Consulted 1/11/2009]
  • Morato, J.; Sánchez-Cuadrado, S.; Fraga, A.; Moreno, V. (2008). Hacia una web semántica social. El profesional de la Información, Enero-febrero 2008, vol. 17, núm. 1
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Jorge Morato (5/11/2009)
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