Directories are built by small groups of experts to help people find information they want. Tagging lets people create their own classifications.
The following patterns are illustrated in this discussion:
Declarative Living and Tag Gardening
Semantic Web Grounding
Rich User Experience
You can find more information on these patterns in Chapter 7.
Directory structures create hierarchies of resource descriptions to help users navigate to the information they seek. The terms used to divide the hierarchy create a taxonomy of subjects (metadata keywords) that searchers can use as guideposts to find what they’re looking for. Library card catalogs are the classic example, though taxonomies come in many forms. Within a book, tables of contents and especially indexes often describe taxonomies.
Navigation mechanisms within websites also often describe taxonomies, with layers of menus and links in the place of tables of contents and a full-text search option in place of an index. These resources can help users within a site, but users’ larger problem on the Web has often been one of finding the site they want to visit. As the number of sites grew exponentially in the early days of the Web, the availability of an incredible amount of information was often obscured by the difficulty of finding what you wanted. The scramble for ...