What is Folksonomy

Table of contents

What Folksonomy is and What it's for

Folksonomy is a way to organize data and digital content, where users add categories or tags to identify the content. Natural language is used to provide descriptive information by the users

Folksonomies, also known as social tagging, are user-defined collections of metadata.

Thus, we are dealing with a form of tagging or categorization of digital content that allows users to classify websites, images, documents, and other forms of data so that content can be easily classified and localized by users.

Examples of social bookmarking

The simplest examples of folksonomies can be found in social networks:

  • Facebook
  • Tuenti
  • LinkedIn
  • Xing
  • Twitter
  • Viber
  • Youtube

For example, Twitter hashtags are a form of taxonomy widely used by its users or in websites such as Freepick or Flickr, both web projects where users are the main content creators.

There are no rules, so you can find different taxomomies in the same content element.

Social bookmark managers

Social bookmark managers allow us to save, organize and share links on different social networks. We can access our social bookmarks from any device with an Internet connection,

Some of the most popular social bookmark managers are:

Why it is important

Folksonomies, when used well, serve to capture trends and detect new topics of importance to users that we can use to create new verticals on our web pages and, of course, classify information autonomously.

Being based on tags added by content consumers instead of a webmaster, it is not necessary to use a predefined hierarchical content categorization system, resulting in a more natural classification and closer to the needs of users.

Therefore, these tags end up being written in natural language, instead of a forced or formal list.

In this way, taxonomies and folksonomies complement each other.

Creating a more complete and partially automated navigation system.

Perfect for large projects.

Folksonomies Limitations

Folksonomy is a powerful tool as long as there are many users adding tags to the same information.

But it has its limitations.

First of all, it requires a critical volume of users to classify information in the same way.

In addition, this classification system can become very chaotic and not very relevant.

Think about labeling a color. One person may say it looks like “teal”, another may think it is “turquoise”, and some may simply categorize it as “blue” or “green”.

Too many casuistries would be generated to classify the same content, duplicating information.

Not to mention the existence of similar terms, synonyms or users’ own ambiguity.

This necessarily implies paying a lot of attention and allocating resources to cleaning them up.

In conclusion:

Website owners can use folksonomy data added by users to devise better ways of structuring content to help them find what they are looking for.

This improves the user experience and the internal navigation of the website.

In addition, it is scalable and fast to use when you have large volumes of visitors.

Links and recommended readings:

Frequently Asked Questions

The Folksonomy is a ranking system made by the users of a web page. If you want to learn how to enhance this quality on your website and make your webmaster’s job easier, you need to understand this concept thoroughly in order to take advantage of it.


Tanto la folksonomía como la taxonomía son métodos que se utilizan habitualmente para clasificar datos y contenidos digitales, a menudo mediante etiquetas. La diferencia principal entre ambos es la forma de generarlos. Mientras uno depende de los usuarios el otro debe ser definido por sus creadores.

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