on why search and cloud tags will ruin your dinner parties [Mon, 04 Jul 2011 14:11:00 +0000]
Just shooting from the hip here ...
I'm imagining a library in which I couldn't browse the collection physically by walking up and down the aisles.
Where all I can do is approach a reference librarian and have them bring me back items they thought matched my needs based on a short "interview".
Where I'd then assess what's before me, clarify a few things, and have them bring me back more things - only to learn that a few items I sent back are ones I now want back.
What a friggin' mess. It's like shopping for a suit at a men's clothing store. I don't even want to think about having to do this to buy groceries. Oh, the horror ...
But isn't that what search is?
And yet, the Kool-Aid tells us search is better than browsing.
Implementing search and even keyword tags on a website (like this blog!) is easy to implement programmatically - a matter of some simple SQL, assuming SQL is the backend for the site's metadata. Maybe that's the real reason they're so prevalent.
Employing some kind of extensible taxonomy to categorize the information takes more work ... and more thought. For sites with a lot of content that will be used over and over for research and referential purposes, it's better if the user has both search and true browsing opportunities, says I.