I just read a post about the need for taxonomies at Chuck’s blog and I found a need to discuss how I view taxonomies and why they still seem relevant to me. From my experience there are no silver-bullets and the most important thing to respect is the need for multiplicity and multiple perspectives on things.
In this case I actually see no contradiction between folksonomies and corporate taxonomies. We want to create context our our content, right? And we most likely need users to do some part of that since they know the subject best. So we need to motivate them to provide context on top of that which the tech platform automatically can provide.
That does also mean that there is no need use in choose between either of the approaches. The just provide a metadata layer on top of the content, right? And as someone said, you have really not have too much metadata. Sometimes we will have more and sometimes less depending on a lot of factors.
Folksonomies can be analysed and used to fuel taxonomy development. And taxonomies will most likely either inspire or deterr people from certain ways of tagging.
The key is that it does not matter HOW we provide context. The payback comes when we consume it. Then all these different context layers provide us means to provide many different views of the same information. Tags will provide one, taxonomies in metadata a second and relationships between objects a second.
The more I read about this subject I think a good way to solve this is to build your infrastructure around Documentum repositories and them provide a multitude of different interfaces on top of that. Maybe in the form of wikis, blogs, search, GIS, timelines and others. The key is to store stuff the the right way. Only then can we create cool and usable interfaces for consuming it.