The University of Chicago: Tagging

The University of Chicago library is another academic library that supports tagging of its collection.  This library uses AquaBrowser  which includes the My Discoveries tool.  My Discoveries enables users to tag and rate library resources, and also write reviews.  The tags, ratings or reviews that a user creates can either remain private or be made public so that all library users can see them.   To make this user-added information public takes roughly a day, according to the My Discoveries tool.

The My Discoveries tool is built right in to the library catalogue, and can be accessed in two places.  One can click the “My Discoveries” link in the top right hand corner, or select the “Save or Tag” link just below.  The tool is, therefore, quite easy to locate, but it is not overtly advertised.

Using the My Discoveries tool is very simple.  At the University of Chicago Library’s website, My Discoveries is not limited to those affiliated with the library. Anyone is able to create a My Discoveries account on the library’s website.  I created an account to see how the tool works.  After an account has been created, users can simply click on the “save or tag” link and a simple fill-in form for tags, ratings and reviews appears on the page.  Users can then view their resource lists, tags, ratings and reviews by clicking on their user name in the top right hand corner of the screen.  I believe that for first time users, this tool would be quite easy to use.

The tags created by the My Discover tool give another dimension to the library catalogue records.  The tags function as a further description for a given work.  When one hovers over a tag in a record, the number of times that the item has been tagged with that term appears.  If an item has been tagged multiple times with a certain term, it suggests that the item is most likely more “about” that term than other tags that appear with less frequency.   I would certainly use this tool to help me evaluate resources if I were a patron of the University of Chicago library.

I was unable to find one review or rating written by a user about an item in the library’s collection.  I searched through a great many records and did not find any.   I am not sure if this is because few users actually share their reviews and ratings, or if I was just unlucky in the records I chose to search.  What I did find was links to Google Books reviews, which would be somewhat helpful to a user trying to evaluate a resource.  One possible change I could suggest for the University of Chicago Library is to include a way of ordering search results by highest rated or most discussed.

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