Now that Lori has made my point - that people can't be trusted to correctly tag - we can move on to the other issues with all metadata.

Metadata is never a constant, and that is a problem for non-automated systems (and even automated systems). What tags you apply changes over time, and the list of tags grows - no matter what you do to curb tag explosion. And you have to have systems that use tagging in a coordinated way. Inevitably, some large company will claim "market differentiation" by creating their own special tagging scheme that starts every tag with "ms-". Then what?

That doesn't even touch on the data space required to store tag relationships. Want a wonderful world where all synonyms and translations of a word are utilized and correlated correctly? Yeah, that's maintenance nightmare compounded by an infinite and growing storage problem.

Google Ads are proof that the technology isn't there yet. Check any forum about this topic, and you'll find people with completely inappropriate ads being posted to their forum or blog because one post had one similar-use word in it... Because the technology isn't there.

So when they sell you on "Tag Clouds" and a unified world where your searches have more meaning, view it with a grain of salt. We have to get there eventually, but today is not someday, today is another day that they tell you "to get to Nirvana you must first tag 1000 documents".

Don't bite. Let the systems figure it out, then we can all complain about how inefficient the systems are - even though they'll be much better than people because a purpose-built system doesn't have anything better to do.

The point of my post was simple - people are not Tag Generation Engines. They're not even a very efficient stop-gap. And we don't yet have a qualified set of requirements for what should be done, just a drive that it must be. Run your IT shop with common sense, there's a lot more that needs doing that is important, so go do it. Save tagging for the aggregators, or better yet for the as-yet-uninvented Automagical Tagging Engine.

And Lori's analysis doesn't change that.

Don.