Catagorize, Classify, and Re-Organize... Well Maybe, or Maybe Not!

I still struggle with tags. Too many, not enough, to few. It is the OCD nature of one of these geeky teachers. I think my cohort in crime would disagree as she is the librarian not me but I will own it. I can never decide. I inevitably look for a way to categorize the things I create, the things I find, and the things I know I want to remember. But then I am stuck. What are the best words to categorize something for a teacher? How can I make things as powerful to use as to reference?

I will now admit that I am a stalker of good taggers. I love looking at Diigo lists from other teachers, professionals, and students, to see how they organize things in a certain way, or categorize things for a future purpose or reference. What I have found though is the need to divide how I tag into the purpose of the item or list. To some this may seem simple, to others an overwhelming task. So then where to start?

I recently heard a great discussion by a local geek at a dinner party who was talking about developing lists for three different types of audiences. After that opening comment, I had to listen in and totally eavesdrop on the conversation. He was teaching a class for trainers and mentioned his top five ideas for staying organized while tagging lists for his students. Hmmm...some nice ideas to share here. ( And yes I asked- and no he did not want a citation event though I was willing to give credit ) So here they are. Maybe something to think about the next time I tackle a new organizational method!

5) Think about using Google's Keyword search tool. This tool helps a user to come up with new ideas for key terms or words commonly referenced when searching for the subject area or item. This tool will also give you commonly referenced phrases to reference, and can help you decide on meaningful tags that may come up in a search.Chalk another one up for Google-- I didn't know it existed. Add another tool to the teacher toolkit!

4) Decide on your audience. Is the referenced term going to be used by a student or adult? Vocabulary level makes a difference, and so does word choice.

3) Decide on a situational use. Is the term being used in a professional context where professional terminology is needed? (such as methodology, pedagogy, curriculum, standard, lesson, etc) Or is the item being used as a reference for a project where a theme is more appropriate ( language arts, grammar, revolution, equations etc)

2) Attack a browser or two! Open up a different browser on your computer and check and see referenced terms it may use to give suggestions. People reference browser key terms often and get used to looking at them as reference. These browsers use popular terms that can help you think of alternative suggestions to tag.

1) Remember that you cannot be something to everyone. He said that he decides on an audience or two,  brainstorms a list of tags, and then slashes it in half and uses those he feels are most appropriate. Side note: Here is where I groaned as my list would be huge and probably take me an hour for one word ! Then he tags and lets go knowing that the tags may not be perfect, but then neither is he. His belief: if it is worth finding, someone will come across it. The key is making it worthy of the find.

Well that's a thought.  I think I will go tag a few things for tomorrow's lesson and see if their next primary source is worthy of finding.