How Will I Organize My Tags? An App? MOAT? A Feature in Delicious?

Here’s my dilemma. I have a ton of bookmarks on my account.  I love using an online bookmarking system. But still, Delicious and others’ systems for organizing bookmarks don’t really help with a need I bet most users have: Tag-Optimization.  

What we need are tools for analyzing and perfecting the organizing of bookmarks.  Every one of these systems like Delicious, Furl, StumbleUpon etc, have the same problem: user-submitted tags are bug-y!!! The engine of the platform needs to guide the users toward better tagging!  Basically, we need built-in systems for finding the types of redundancies and other tag-errors that we all have. We need debugging software, so our bookmarks can become good, clean representations of how web-users feel about various web resources.  “Suggested Tags” and “Popular Tags” are great time-saving features but I’d like to also have a tool for correcting tag-cancer.  
These software offerings, if/when they finally exist, are going to make it increasingly more easy to harmonize user-submitted value from folksonomies with the ‘Semantic Web,’ which is right around the corner.
Some examples of areas where I think a robot could help users to clean up tags are:
  • Redundant Tags. Usually just alternate tenses of the same word (like the plural and singular form) but also synonyms. Example: Image, Images, Picture, Pictures, Pix
  • Arbitrary Capitalization. HTML vs html etc.
  • Vagueness. Like los or awesome (wouldn’t it be safe to assume that all the things you bookmark are ‘awesome’ to you?’). 
This is a screen-shot of my tagging screen from Delicious.  I added the red scribbling to point out just a few of the problems my tags have.
Del.Icio.Us Tags Gone Wild
Del.Icio.Us Tags Gone Wild

On several occasions, I’ve set out to clean up my tags manually, but I’ve never made it very far.  It’s just too much work.

Maybe the coming overhaul to Del.Icio.Us will ad some of these needed features, although somehow I doubt it.

I’ve heard of the MOAT (Meaning Of A Tag) Project, and perhaps this could save us, but like many other ‘Semantic Web’ projects, I haven’t found a way, as a lay person, to utilize it.  At some point down te road,  maybe someone will make a Delicious-MOAT-erizer Web-App that will clean-up-shop-by-proxy and make the metadata available to the Semantic Web.


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3 Replies to “How Will I Organize My Tags? An App? MOAT? A Feature in Delicious?”

  1. We are trying to solve this problem with Here you have predefined tags that are Wikipedia concepts. That solves the redundancy problem and issues with capitalization you’re writing about. It also deals with ambiguous terms, for instance ‘keyboard’ (Is it a computer keyboard or a musical instrument?).

    Another great thing with ‘semantic’ tags is that the system automatically classifies tags into topics for you. So, you can track for example topic “Semantic web” and it’ll show you all your bookmarks tagged with tags that belong to the topic. (

  2. Hi Andrew,
    We developed a web app to organize tags into structured knowledge. You can groups tags as equivalent, join them as one, give them a hierarchy, etc.

    We are doing alpha testing at
    Right now, it only works in firefox. We would love to get some feedback from the community. Here is an invite code: JB2J86

    We would love to hear your feedback

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