n.a collaborative classification system of applying user-created keywords, or tags, to online content to describe and categorize informationGuy and Tonkin 2006A folksonomy is a type of distributed classification system. It is usually created by a group of individuals, typically the resource users. Users add tags to online items, such as images, videos, bookmarks and text. These tags are then shared and sometimes refined.Vander Wal 2007Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one’s own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). Folksonomy is created from the act of tagging by the person consuming the information.Peters and Becker 2009, 153Folksonomies have been developed out of the need for a better structure of the growing mass of information within these information services, the need to make them searchable and retrivable. By now, they have esablished themselves as a method of knowledge representation on the internet, and particularly in Web 2.0. Folksonomies consist of freely selectable keywords, or tags, which can be liberally attached to any information resource.Anderson and Allen 2009, 393Tagging actively engages the broader community in building a more robust knowledge base around the materials in question. Given a sufficient number of contributions over time, a distributed folksonomy classification scheme or schemes will emerge. What appeared to be chaotic or capricious contributions by users will begin to obtain a structure of knowledgeability if not overt intentionality.
Folksonomy is a portmanteau of folk and taxonomy. However, a folksonomy is not a true taxonomy. Whereas a taxonomy is usually hierarchical, a folksonomy is not. A folksonomy does not use a predetermined system of organization; a taxonomy uses a predetermined system to classify content. Folksonomies do not use an established system for classification determined by one person or group; they are collaborative over time.