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Around 2004, with an increase in social networks, people and businesses started to employ collaborative tagging, also known as folksonomy. As the practice caught on, organization of these tags within their collaborative software programs and business information wikis became necessary. Tag management allows cross-referencing of objects and cross-user consistencies that make navigation and searches more efficient. There are two forms of tag management available as of 2011 that allow organization of "uphill control" and "gardening downhill." The need for tag management is growing as tags have grown beyond social networking into enterprise bookmarking, product databases, knowledge management wikis, component content management systems, and Web content management, among others.
Uphill control tags are for multiple classifications of an object, predefined authority lists of tags, and relating tags to other tags in a synonymous affiliation. Tag management functions for gardening downhill are renaming, deleting, moving, or merging of tags. As tags allow the prodigious and rich content of the Internet to be cross-referenced, the need for tag management grows.
With the growth of the Internet’s websites, there are website management duties including tracking of visitors to sites and what they do while they are there. When a website owner wants to know what attracts visitors, one of the ways to track this is by embedding tags within the site’s underlying code. Without one set standard practices for managing tags, however, this can become confusing. The schemes for tag management are mostly individually developed, with some allowing public tagging and others not, and some allowing only the creator of the website to set the tags for searches. An example of public tagging is photo-sharing websites, on which amateur and professional photographers alike can share photos and tag each photo with their own choices of tags.
Knowledge tagging helps organize databases of reference materials, digital images, and documents. The tags for these are called metadata tags, and they are for use in knowledge management systems. This type of organization not only gathers tags, but creates tag profiles of hyperdata and hyperlinks that follow knowledge threads to annotations and comments. Knowledge tags are different for the type of knowledge being stored; such as conceptual, factual, tacit, methodological, and expectational knowledge. All of these have a need for a plan of tag management.
Increasingly, people are coming up against nearly identical problems in relation to tags and tag management. Some organizations have global distribution of sites but no central management of the tags on those sites. Many are facing frustrations with one-tag, one-project, one-timeline restraints and others would like to switch vendors for their company but then face the problem of managing their invested time in tags. In the absence of any particular standard for terms associated with tags and tag management and with the continued growth of the Internet, it will become more and more imperative to implement management with easy-to-understand term definitions, tag categorizations and practices.