Instructional Design Resources

Librarians sharing cool stuff

User-Generated Content October 30, 2007

Filed under: IL2007 — jennym @ 8:38 am

Meredith Farkas and Josh Petrusa, Norwich University

Web 1.0: Democratized access to information

Web 2.0: Democratized participation

What is user-generated content?

  • Comments
  • Ratings
  • Wiki contributions
  • Uploading photos
  • Contributing to online communities

Why User-Generated Content?

  • We don’t know everything
    • When we allow other people to contribute knowledge, we can all benefit
      from it
  • Insufficient metadata
    • Making information objects found online more findable and richer
  • Findability and refindability
    • finding images on flickr, for instance
  • Stories people tell about items are of value
  • Interacting with materials creates a more personal connection
  • People are already generating their own content


  • user created descriptive metadata
  • Folksonomy – system of organizing through tagging
  • There are many ways to describe items
  • Tags help us create collections (i.e. IL2006)

Why tags?

  • Lets people make sense of content using their own vocabulary
  • Helps people to re-find their own content
  • Helps people to discover new content

Why not tags?

  • No control
  • people can use plural or singular words, use dashes and underscores, etc
  • Multiple terms to describe a single concept
  • People tag things selfishly (means nothing to you, but means something to
  • People tag incorrectly

How do we improve tagging?

Examples of User-Generated Content

  • Picture Australia project
  • Western Springs History
    • WordPress blog
    • pictures of historical homes in Western Springs, IL
  • NCSU – historical photos in flickr
  • LibraryThing
    • tons of user-generated metadata
    • cool tag clouds
    • you can make suggestions and recommendations based on tags and other
      user-generated content
  • BookSpace (from Hennepin County PL)
    • public library users engaged in generating content
    • also have comments on catalog records
  • Penn Tags
    • put tags into catalog
  • RocWiki
    • Rochester


  • Moderation
    • if you’re going to get involved in user-generated content, you have to
      have time to moderate
  • Tech issues — how are we going to make this happen?
  • differentiation between user content and institutional content

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