February 20, 2015 by jrenner1
In examining and evaluating the tagging criteria for History@Work for potential repetitiveness and overall effectiveness, I discovered that each of the following tags: education, training, scholarship, and methods did have similar enough properties that could perhaps warrant a single tag or two to serve as a description for all of them. Certainly many of this particular grouping of tags appeared with some level of frequency within the tagging clusters. One could perhaps argue that either of the tags “education” or “methods” might be sufficient. At the same time, each tagged category had some level of unique characteristic that makes it difficult to complete eliminate any of the tags completely as a means of classification. Education as whole seemed to more reflect the changing nature of history, with a particular emphasis throughout on both professional development, public history, and the implications of increasing digitization as a historical method. It had the ability to describe both the methodologies for public education as well as the education of historians. This differed slightly from training, which shifted further away from public education into the realm of professional development. This shift is also reflected in the category of scholarship. The last category, methods, seemed the most distinctive, and not only encompassed some of the more prominent aspects of the education category, such as media and digital history, but also revealed a high level of concern for the ways in which we tell history, and how can we work to communicate history with more marginalized groups of society, who have traditionally have not felt their story was told. Each of this categories had articles that appeared across multiple tagging classifications, but each also included unique examples not found within the other descriptive schema.
I tend to think words are a tricky thing. The ways in which we utilize words in blog posts and classify our writing via may have particular meaning or significance to the author. I think we have to trust the bloggers intentions with they categorize their work. If I had to eliminate all other categories of my group of tags and only leave one, I would say they could perhaps all be classified under “professional development.” But then one has to question whether someone utilizing the search method of the site would look for a topic like “methods” under a tagging category of “professional development.” I am not sure I would. I generally think redundancy in tagging is actually a good thing. It increases the likelihood that someone searching for a specific topic would be able to find it via a synonymous tag category (for example if I typed “training” when the articles I really wanted to read might be better classified as “methods”). Thus, in my opinion, I would be an advocate for keeping all of the categories in my group, rather than eliminating one or two for the sake of efficiency.