Tagging vs. Controlled Vocabulary: Which is More Helpful for Book Search?

Toine Bogers, Vivien Petras

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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The popularity of social tagging has sparked a great deal of debate on whether tags could replace or improve upon professional metadata as descriptors of books and other information objects. In this paper we present a large-scale empirical comparison of the contributions of individual information elements like core bibliographic data, controlled vocabulary terms, reviews, and tags to the retrieval performance. Our comparison is done using a test collection of over 2 million book records with information elements from Amazon, the British Library, the Library of Congress, and LibraryThing. We find that tags and controlled vocabulary terms do not actually outperform each other consistently, but seem to provide complementary contributions: some information needs are best addressed using controlled vocabulary terms whereas other are best addressed using tags.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of iConference 2015
Number of pages15
Publication date24 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2015
EventiConference 2015: Create, Collaborate, Celebrate - Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, Newport Beach, CA, United States
Duration: 24 Mar 201527 Mar 2015


ConferenceiConference 2015
LocationNewport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa
CountryUnited States
CityNewport Beach, CA


  • book search
  • indexing
  • social tagging
  • controlled vocabularies

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  • iConference 2015

    Toine Bogers (Participant)

    24 Mar 201527 Mar 2015

    Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

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