Volume 4 Issue 1
Spring 2008
ISSN 1937-7266

Tagging for Health Information Organization and Retrieval

Margaret E. I. Kipp

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada

Medical professionals seek papers via keyword or free text search in digital libraries or on the web but are also interested in finding material that has not yet been indexed in on-line databases. Search engines provide a multitude of results, but may not provide enough distinction between relevant and irrelevant articles. Social bookmarking, where users tag items for their own use, offers a way to locate new and relevant information. CiteULike allows articles to be tagged with useful keywords for later retrieval.

A previous study of information science articles tagged on CiteULike examined differences in keyword usage between users of social bookmarking sites, authors and indexers. Many tags were related to indexer terms (controlled vocabularies), but were not formally in the thesaurus. The current study examined the use of tags on CiteULike from three medical or biology related journals indexed in Pubmed with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). Comparison of tags and MeSH index terms shows many of the same similarities and differences as the previous study.

Controlled vocabularies help narrow a search to a manageable size but can be expensive and require user training. User tagging could provide additional access points to traditional controlled vocabularies and the associative classifications necessary to tie documents and articles to time and task relationships among other novel items.

Tagging for Health Information Organization and Retrieval
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