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Folksonomy and Designing: An Exploration

[+] Author Affiliations
Noel Titus, Karthik Ramani

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Eswaran Subrahmanian

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. DETC2007-35139, pp. 821-829; 9 pages
  • ASME 2007 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 27th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 4–7, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4803-5 | eISBN: 0-7918-3806-4
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


This paper discusses the role of folksonomy in a product design scenario. The focus is on developing a framework for design retrieval using a folksonomic approach and on the emergence of a design taxonomy through user tagging. We analyze the potential uses of a design folksonomy and its relation to current design research. We specifically relate the folksonomy to design representation models, design teams and knowledge sharing and collaboration. Folksonomy is the result of tagging of information objects by a user freely using keywords relevant to the object being tagged. The tags are applied based on the user’s understanding of the information and utilizes the user’s vocabulary. This metadata generated by tagging is shared in a social environment i.e. across a body of users. “The collective metadata in the folksonomy representation is stored in the form of three data points, viz., the person doing the tagging, the object that is tagged, and the tag that has been applied to the object.” [37] In this paper, the utility of tagging is discussed in a product design context for retrieval of information, locating individuals with similar vocabulary and hence similar interests, and other people utilizing the same objects. We discuss a design information representation model where the folksonomy-based bottom up method and traditional top-down methods of ontology and taxonomy play complementary roles. An approach to implementing a framework for a product design folksonomy is also suggested in this paper.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME
Topics: Design



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