Tom Maguire had a good comment on my last post about Folksonomies in the Enterprise. He said (to paraphrase) that what makes folksonomies more powerful than taxonomies is that the "authority" of knowledge and control is different. I totally agree, and wanted to give a real-world example.
Look at how words come into the language... fundamentally, people make them up. If they are useful, interesting, catchy, or just plain lucky, then other people start using the same word too. Sometimes the word gets used to mean slightly different things, but eventually the set of uses settles down. Then, along comes Merriam-Webster (and others like them) whose role in life is, get this, to write it down - not to invent it, not to create it, not to define it, just to document it.
Sometimes, a word changes in meaning over time. Again, this change isn't initiated by Merriam-Webster - they just document it. This process of language evolution has worked well for centuries and has probably helped speed up with the advent of the internet - the lag from word adoption to documentation has shortened.
Who's in charge of the language? Notice that it's not Merriam-Webster. Languages evolve just like folksonomies. Terms get invented, they get popular, then they settle into common use. Who's in charge? Folks are in charge. Power to the people!
Taxonomies, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of this. A central authority deems itself the only one capable of defining "proper" terminology. My favorite example is the French language authority. If, for example, you want to wish someone a good weekend the authority has deemed that the correct way is to say, "Bon fin de semaine" ("good end of week" translated literally). How do the majority of French people wish you a good weekend? "Bon fin de semaine"? Nope, "Bon weekend." Has the central authority caught up with (or even acknowledged) common use? I'll let you guess...
SOA What does all of this mean? There are a few important differences between the approaches:
So, back to the topic of my original post. If you have a small SOA architecture team, a central authority (taxonomy based approach) can work, but this doesn't scale to a large team. On the other end, a folksonomy based approach works well with small or large teams. If only SOA governance repositories actually supported folksonomies!
View all posts from dan foody on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
Subscribe to get all the news, info and tutorials you need to build better business apps and sites
You have the right to request deletion of your Personal Information at any time.
You can also ask us not to pass your Personal Information to third parties here: Do Not Sell My Info
We see that you have already chosen to receive marketing materials from us. If you wish to change this at any time you may do so by clicking here.
Thank you for your continued interest in Progress. Based on either your previous activity on our websites or our ongoing relationship, we will keep you updated on our products, solutions, services, company news and events. If you decide that you want to be removed from our mailing lists at any time, you can change your contact preferences by clicking here.
Let our experts teach you how to use Sitefinity's best-in-class features to deliver compelling digital experiences.Learn More