A few days ago Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine noticed an ad for a Tag Editor (Editor 2.0?) job at Britain's The Guardian.  Jarvis explained this is exciting since metadata increases the accessibility and utility of a news site to its audience.

This made me think of our newspaper study this year.  Of the top 100 American newspaper, as ranked by circulation, only one — The Plain Dealer in Cleveland — uses tags on its website.  I wonder why so many papers have avoided tagging but admire The Guardian for willing to make the venture using folksonomy (collaborative taxonomy) since it presents both great challenges and utility.

As social media guru and Everything is Miscellaneous author David Weinberger explained during NPR's All Things Considered on June 11, 2007 in a commentary piece "The Value of a Man-Made Mess, on the Internet" that tagging allows one to classify web content in a variety of ways.  For instance, tags like "American," "food," "yummy," and "crust" are all applicable for a picture of an apple pie. 

Thus, through the use of tagging, a news site doesn't have to limit itself to a small set of sections like metro, style, and national; by using tags it can create sections like "Southern California Fires 2007" or not fret having to exclusively place a story about horse race betting in the sports or business section.  Why not both?

Of course, such freedom and a lack of consistency can make it hard to find anything or tie related information together.  However, that's why The Guardian is going to hire someone to manage this full-time.