The state of research on folksonomies in the field of Library and Information Science : a Systematic Literature Review

University essay from Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för ABM och digitala kulturer

Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this thesis is to provide an overview of all relevant peer-reviewed articles on folksonomies, social tagging and social bookmarking as knowledge organisation systems within the field of Library and Information Science by reviewing the current state of research on these systems of managing knowledge. Method – I use the systematic literature review method in order to systematically and transparently review and synthesise data extracted from 39 articles found through the discovery system LUBsearch in order to find out which, and to which degree different methods, theories and systems are represented, which subfields can be distinguished, how present research within these subfields is and which larger conclusions can be drawn from research conducted between 2003-2013 on folksonomies. Findings – There have been done many studies which are exploratory or reviewing literature discussions, and other frequently used methods which have been used are questionnaires or surveys, although often in conjunction with other methods. Furthermore, out of the 39 studies, 22 were quantitative, 15 were qualitative and 2 used mixed methods. I also found that there were an underwhelming number of theories being explicitly used, where merely 11 articles explicitly used theories, and only one theory was used twice. No key authors on the topic were identified, though Knowledge Organization, Information Processing & Management and Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology were recognised as key journals for research on folksonomies. There have been plenty of studies on how tags and folksonomies have effected other knowledge organisation systems, or how pre-existing have been used to create new systems. Other well represented subfields include studies on the quality or characteristics of tags or text, and studies aiming to improve folksonomies, search methods or tags. Value – I provide an overview on what has been researched and where the focus on said research has been during the last decade and present future research suggestions and identify possible dangers to be wary of which I argue will benefit folksonomies and knowledge organisation as a whole.

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