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See | Tagging and Social Bookmarking on the KS Toolkit

See Beth Kanter's slide presentation on Tagging for Collaboration and Knowledge Sharin.


Detailed Description

KM4Dev Discussions

This page was created following an offline discussion between Beth Kanter, Steve Song and Nancy White where experimenting with tagging in a physical space ie. at a workshop was tested...

Steve was interested in trying out a live tagging experiment. He decided to run a 2 hour tagging session (which would not involve ICTs) at a workshop as a tool for both sense making and consensus building (and to expose colleagues to tagging). In Steve's case, his colleagues were seeking funds in support of forty projects of which only 75% could be funded. In previous years, the decision was left in Steve's hands and was often made following a heated debate about the projects which were defended by individuals within the team.

This year, Steve wanted to do better. Here was the approach that he used...

  • Each project was written up on a sheet of paper (title plus abstract plus key research question)
  • Using post-it notes, everyone was invited to "tag" all of the projects with keywords that seemed relevant to them
  • Following the tagging exercise (and possibly the creation of tag clouds - see

Northern Voice 2007 or Cloud on a Blackboard, a group discussion was held to identify common threads, surprises, disagreements, etc.

  • A prioritisation exercise with (red, yellow, and green) dots allowed participants to identify projects with no or little, some and full support
  • A discussion of red-dotted projects ie. those with little, if any support, was initiated
  • Using Sam Kaner's 'Gradient of Agreement', the group worked towards consensus on which projects would not get support

Steve wrote up his experience in a Tagging Blog Entry.

Beth Kanter tried something similar for a brainjams at the Dialogue and Deliberation conference last summer. Here is her explanation of how it worked:

"I used it as an icebreaker/introduction to an all-day workshop on Web2.0. Here's the process I used ...

  1. Each person was given three large tags and asked to write a tag word on each tag that represents something they are passionate about and want to discuss with another person.
  2. They were asked to tape or tie the tag on their body [1]
  3. I asked people to walk around the room and read each other's tags - and find someone with a key word that they're interested in and have a five minute conversation.
  4. Then I asked the pairs to find another pair with keywords of interest - didn't have to be exact matches. Then, the two pairs or four people had a conversation about the topic.
  5. Finally, each group of four had a flip chart page - and I asked them to create a tag cloud or cluster of their topic - with related words, etc.
  6. Had folks share - reflection questions - what was it like to connect with a stranger or someone you didn't know and have a conversation about a mutual topic of interest.
  7. This is the social web and how tagging facilitates conversation/connection ... Then did the overview of web2.0 and buzz words

Examples in Application

See Steve's Blog Entry for an application of tagging for building group facilitation within a team.

Related FAQs

Further Information

Original Author and Subsequent Contributors of this FAQ

Allison Hewlitt created the page but with original content provided by:

  • Beth Kanter
  • Steve Song
  • Nancy White

Dates of First Creation and Further Revisions

February 26, 2007

FAQ KM4Dev Source Materials

[Raw text of email discussions on which the FAQ is based]