User Generated Social Tags Versus Librarian Generated Subject Headings, A Comparative Study in the Domain of History

a comparative study in the domain of History

Keywords: Social tags, Sears List of Subject Headings, User-generated social tags, Librarian-generated subject headings, LibraryThing, Folksonomy, Social tagging


Social tagging allows users to assign any free-form keywords as tags to any digital resources through a decentralised way. Many information scientists find that there are similarities through their studies between usergenerated social tags and the librarian-generated subject headings for the libraries. The present study was conducted to identify the similarity and dissimilarity between user-generated social tags and librarian-generated subject terms of 1000 books in the domain of History. The study also conducted to identify whether social tags can replace controlled vocabularies. The study finds that only a small portion of terms overlaps with each other (3.54 % of social tags & 56.07 % of SLSH terms) and Spearman’s rank correlation proves that there is a good association between overlapping terms. Jaccard similarity coefficient highlights that users and the librarian use different terminologies (as J = 0.13, 0.12 & 0.11). Individual title wise comparison also defines that 90 per cent (88.4 %) of all book titles where users and the librarian use at least one common term. Users use the least subject & non-subject terms but use some personal tags for personal benefit whereas the librarian use only subject & non-subject terms. Matching with each book title clarifies that for describing resources users mostly use title based keywords (696) whereas the librarian use very little title based keywords (113). The study clearly defines that social tags can enhance the experience of library users. If it can be exploited properly it can complement to controlled vocabularies but can not replace the controlled vocabularies used for libraries a long time. Overall the study explicitly identifies the viability regarding the adoption of social tags into the library databases where the resources in the field of history will be accessed.

How to Cite
SAMANTA, K. (2020). User Generated Social Tags Versus Librarian Generated Subject Headings, A Comparative Study in the Domain of History. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 40(03), 176-184.
Research Paper