Sunday, October 09, 2005


As the usage of tags increases, we see more and more "applitags" (there I go again…) – tags that have a specific applicative meaning. Sometimes there is an actual application generating and / or consuming them (e.g. geotagging), or there is an application whose logic is run, at least as of now, by people – manually.

An example of the second kind of applitags is the Deleteme and the 1-5-favorites groups in Flickr. In both, there are guidelines instructing users which specific tags to add or remove under what conditions, and what actions to take as a result. Users actually follow these (somewhat complex) guidelines, since they are essential for maintaining the goal of the groups.

Usage and definition of applitags is somewhat of a wild west thing at the moment. Rules are defined ad-hoc, and are implemented by the users themselves – manually.

It would be good to standardize the format of these tags, to differentiate them from the free-association user tags, in order to reduce the chance of a user changing these tags and breaking a future application that is leveraging these tags.

Here is a proposed definition for applitags:

Applitags are tags whose spelling and semantics are agreed on between a group of users, or between users and a producing or consuming application.

Generic format for applitags:



x:geo.geotagged 31.70
x:geo.lon= 35.20


The purpose of the "x:" is to distinguish applitags from normal users tags, to hint to users (and later, to tag editing applications) that these tags should not be modified without knowing the rules governing them (or better yet, outside an application designed to product them).

There are different types of applitags, but more on that later.

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