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User-generated ("folksonomic") tags

When designing J-DISC, we aimed to field expert opinions as to possible style categorizations for jazz recordings. We recognize this is subjective. But want to capture precisely what someone thinks it might be as data. In addition, we believe the demand to identify and especially group performances by their mode of expression is too important, for many reasons, to simply bracket out questions of style.

Our approach, then, has been to create a field where our users (that is, our invited panel of jazz experts) can add style tags, as many as they please, to a given recording session data record, so that it will appear in the display for that record for all visitors to see.

We decided that the session was the proper place for such tags. If someone doing an advanced search is interested in a certain genre, or related keyword, it should be sufficient to find them in the Session results.

Guest editor Jennifer Griffith, however, has pointed out that with someone like Charles Mingus, it is more valid to assing style tags to individual tracks. That is because Mingus' compositions, and group leadership, often deliberately borrow from diverse jazz styles going back to its beginnings, and on to what was the avant-garde in his day (roughly, 1950-1980).

I am opening this discussion to hear different opinions on this issue, and in general to talk about issues in or usefulness of style tags. What do you think?

Discussion Topic: 


I would tend to agree with Jennifer. The ability to tag individual tracks would be useful; musicians putting together an album frequently strive for variety in content, so it's conceivable that different tags might apply to different tracks within a single session.