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Topic: Tagging for Subject Matter

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Subject: Tagging for Subject Matter
Date Posted: 1/27/2008 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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A lot of people have had great things to say about using tags for personal reasons -- tagging books in your TBR, on your WL, etc, so you don't order them twice. (A great post talking about doing this is here )

What about tagging for the public good? The Historical Fiction folks have started a movement, of sorts, archiving tags they find useful and listing them so others who want to tag can re-use ones that are already in use -- because tags that are used more often show up in the Tag Cloud, and are otherwise more useful than tags just put on once by one person to one book. (Their post, with some very useful tags, is here )

Am I the only one who's been tagging for content? I tag with the place the book is set ('Victorian, Victorian England, England, London, Victorian London' for a Sherlock-Holmes-era story, for example), the main character's first name, the name of the series the book is in (if any), and its position in the series (the format '1st in Series' '2nd in Series' etc seems to be the most commonly-used).

In addition to that, I've tried to add things like 'female protagonist,' 'alien protagonist,' 'animal protagonist,' because I find those to be interesting pieces of information that affect whether I'm going to want to read a book or not. Likewise, 'retold fairy tale' and 'retold version' for books where the author is playing with metafiction, retelling an old story in a new context. 'Cozy mystery' seems to be fairly widely adopted, and is useful.

I try not to directly duplicate things that are already in the Subject searcher (like 'sci-fi'), but rather add things that *aren't* in that list of categories (like 'classic sci-fi,' or 'sci-fi by female authors').

It's easiest to tag the books and series you love best, because you KNOW them best.

What tags do you use? What tags do you think would be very useful to spread? I'll maintain a list here in the top post so people can see them and get ideas.

Last Edited on: 1/27/08 12:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/27/2008 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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Gothic Romance

Gothic Mystery

Classic sci-fi

Sci-Fi by Female Authors

Cozy Mystery

Retold Fairy Tale

Retold version

female protagonist

alien protagonist

animal protagonist

teenage protagonist

child protagonist



gender issues

Last Edited on: 1/27/08 1:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/27/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I am liking the tags more and more especially when they aren't personal tags.  if it is a series that i haven't read I appreciate knowing what is book 1 and so on.  I like knowing what genre, is it really a cozy or just a mystery?

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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Some of us have agreed to help tags become more useful:

Making Tags Useful - Mission #1

Making Tags Useful - Mission #2

Jane - we need a new mission to get us going again!

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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The only thing is I have seen way too many Tags with Totally wrong information...like listing a book as #1 in series when in fact it is #2 etc. 

As far as: Classic sci-fi; Sci-Fi by Female Authors; Cozy Mystery; Retold Fairy Tale; Retold version...those may help some people but, they mean absolutely nothing to me when I am looking for books.


Just my 2 cents


Date Posted: 1/27/2008 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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Christy H: So what things would make a difference for you, when browsing for new books to read? What things about a book (that aren't already in Subject, Author, or Title) would pique your interest enough to want to read its description?

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 3:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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I would find the tags useful for breaking down a favorite genre into stories with certain elements in them, for example I love mysteries, but I especially like mysteries that are set in Great Britain, in a snowy climate or on a seacoast.  Or, mysteries that are about books, inns, antiques, archaeology, or  WW II.  It would be great if I could enter some tags and find every mystery set on the coast of England during a WW II archaeological dig-LOL!  But that's the type of thing I would search for.  Same is true of general fiction, I have strong preferences as to setting, type of character, etc. 

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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To be perfectly honest Eloise M. the only useful thing I find with the TAGS is for personal usage.    I'm probably one of the odd ducks around here but, I search by Genre, Author, and Publisher...rarely if I've been to the bookstore and written down Names & ISBN will I search by those.  I often visit my favorite author's websites and find titles that I would like to read.

Also, unlike others that I've seen posting here I don't find the TAGS distracting.  Mine are always available to me and if there are others there I honestly don't really notice them unless they are incorrect and then that drives me bonkers.

Ok, so now there is more of my take on the subject.


Date Posted: 1/27/2008 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I make those kinds of tags. It's those tags that will help make the personal ones less visable.  Those are also tags that will be used to help people search for other books.  I like Highland romances.  I noticed someone was tagging books with Highlander, Scottish romance, highland romance etc..., I tagged some with this as well. Now when I'm in the mood to order a new Highland romance, I can click on the tag and see what books I may have never heard of fall under that category. So tag away.

I recently read a WWI historical fiction series by Anne Perry. I tagged them all WWI.  There were other books that were tagged WWI and I looked at them.  I discovered a new to me Victorian Detective series by clicking on that tag. 

See the Useful tags thread. 

Date Posted: 1/27/2008 6:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Eloise sez:

<<Am I the only one who's been tagging for content?>>

Nope.  I try to add appropriate tags for Historical Fiction and other genres (including all my husband's "Scottish Romance"), as well as locations and other useful tags related to the book's content.

You are not alone :-)



Date Posted: 1/28/2008 8:01 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 547
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I tag for content.  But only on books that I read, as I read them.  I tend to get a little weird when I tag, because I want to come with something useful.  I always check on the book and see how others have tagged it.  Then I reenforce those tags that are useful and add some of my own.  I like to add things like location, type of book, main character. If it's a cozy, I add the type of cozy (craft shop, scrapbook, caterer, book store).  If it's a paranormal, I break it down by the type of creature (ghosts, shapesifters, werewolves, vampires).  If it's romance, I like to break it down more by time period (modern, historical).  You should see what I can do with a cozy paranormal romance.  :) 

One thing that I have noticed is that books in a series are not always labeled in the order the AUTHOR wants them labeled.  I always check wih an author's web site before I label which book in the series this book might be.  I know of at least one series where the first 3 books are published by a different company.  In the book information, they say that a book is book 1 in the series, but if you go to the author's web site, it is book 4.  Add in the fact that authors don't always write books in chronological order.  The author might think that a reader new to the series should start with the 5th book so they can have the best understanding of the series, but it was published 5th.  So when I say a book is book 5 in the series, I'm going by what the author thinks, not the publisher.


Date Posted: 1/29/2008 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2006
Posts: 29,850
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I use and like tags only for the order of a series.  When I tag, I use the information from the author's website to get the information.  I only read series in order and I want the entire series before I read any of them.  I have found that some of the tags for series order are not right so I always verify the correct order for myself.

Date Posted: 1/29/2008 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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OK, OK, Coz! Just lemme think... :)