I’ve recently had fascinating conversations with two professional taxonomists – one at EDS and one at the BBC – and both use very different but imaginative and innovative combinations of folksonomic and traditional taxonomic procedures.

All the best taxonomists advocate consulting as much as possible with your users, which is obvious, and a folksonomy is pretty much a glorified mass user consultation exercise. But why stop with the consultation stage?

You still get an awful lot of noise to your signal in folksonomies and the best way to clear that is still to apply some trained thoughtful evaluation – the principles of taxonomy. The combined approach gives you the best of both worlds – gather the tags as a folksonomy (you still need a critical mass of taggers), and then do a bit of pruning and tidying to make them work properly. Ideal!