partial recall

a blog of ideas, links, and musings.

The Collaborative Filter

What is the benefit of folksonomy? I believe there are two important elements to this relatively new phenomenon:

  1. The “social” aspect of collaborative tagging allows users to find other users with potentially similar interests. On the surface, for example, this may seem no different than finding like-minded people at a sports-related bb or finding a romantic connection at However, this form of collaboration is about sharing information, not making a love connection.
  2. More importantly, leveraging this collaborative culture provides personal information managers with exponential power to filter the information universe and make better sense of their own personal infocloud.

I liken this to a professor with multiple research assistants. This professor must divide his or her time wearing many hats: teacher, researcher, and presenter (and parent, spouse, etc.). The research assistants save this professor valuable time by doing a lot of the gruntwork – thereby giving the professor more time to easily assimilate this information and focus on pioneering new research initiatives.

For instance, Mark Woodman describes how users can leverage others’ bookmarks as a way to better manage your own personal infocloud.

Social software such as flickr,, and more are powerful because, not only do they let people collaboratively categorize information, but they allow users to bookmark these categories, either directly or through RSS / Atom feeds.

Collaborative filtering certainly makes my life a whole lot easier.

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James E. Lee on May 20, 2005 AT 07 pm

You commented on my “Why I have 2 blogs” article a while back, and advised me to check out Furl. I just wanted to say thanks; I finally got around to checking it out, and it’s definitely a better solution than Bloglines’ clip blog, except that it doesn’t integrate with Bloglines, my feed reader. Hopefully, we’ll reach a point when aggregation services permit saving content to arbitrary locations/services/sites.

I also like your idea of feeding my clips to my blog sidebar; cool!
In any case, I appreciate the feedback!

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