ACAT Should libraries use user generated tags in their catalogs?

Posting to Autocat

On 11/7/2014 5:17 AM, Leah Leger wrote:

Hi I am an MLIS student at the University of Denver and for a cataloging class I have to read and come up with a question from the article and get feedback from the field.

My questions are should libraries include user generated tags in their OPAC, should they be from websites like Librarything or created by users, and should they be searchable in a libraries’ OPAC? What are your thoughts?

I have studied and written on this a bit. I used to enjoy searching Amazon for controversial books and see the tags people assigned. Mostly they were insults of various kinds. One of my postings is here, concerning Sarah Palin’s book “Going rogue”:

I mentioned the tags and gave links to various Amazon tags (, .can, etc.), where I only summarized them and then gave links to the pages. Unfortunately, a few years ago, Amazon stopped letting the public see the tags assigned by others, although you can see your own (I guess. I don’t do it).

While the tags do not exist in the current Amazon pages, I discovered that the Internet Archive has arrived to save the day once again! The links need to be changed but you can still see them: where the page exists, and you can see all the tags (from Oct. 4, 2009) at

I think these tags explain pretty clearly why Amazon stopped it. Many thanks to the Internet Archive!

There was another perspective on a part of a talk by Clay Shirkey about “Authority in an Age of Open Access” where he discussed tags used in a web project, which was interesting, and I gave my own analysis as a cataloger. The discussion that took place on NGC4LIB was also noteworthy.

Customers have used amazon reviews in unexpected ways as well. You can see them in, a child’s toy of a predator aircraft. The reviews are really something.

It seems to me that when libraries have implemented tags, either nobody uses them (as so often happens) or they turn into variations of spam. There needs to be a certain “critical mass” before they start to take off but even in Worldcat I have seen relatively few of them.

Maybe someone from OCLC could provide some percentages of records with tags, and maybe if they are children’s books or other types.