Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Tagmash, redux: Tim’s favorite feature

Tagmash. I’ve redone, improved and expanded my favorite feature, tagmashing.

Introduced back in 2007, tagmashes, allow you to investigate what books satisfy two or more tags. It’s a great way to find books of a clear type, but for which no single tag really works.

For example, no one has yet used the tag “vegetarian Indian cooking” and there’s no Library of Congress Subject Heading for it either. But combine three tags, like vegetarian, India and cooking into the tagmash vegetarian, India, cooking and you get over 50 good matches.

Simple two-tag combination can work wonders:

Some of my favorites are off-beat: all those books about knitting for your dog and—shiver—knitting with dog hair can be found at knitting, pets. erotic, zombies is 80% Laurell K. Hamilton. And who can say no to humor, pirates? (Did you know that this Saturday is Talk like a Pirate Day? You will.)

On the serious end, fairly complex topics also work:

You can also use – (minus) or — (double minus) to mean “demote” or “remove” a tag. For example:

An important feature of tagmash is that it’s not just a “search.” Once created, tagmash pages stay there, and it enters the “swirl of relatedness.” Somtimes a tag page will suggest the perfect tagmash. Other times, a tagmash will suggest an unconsidered subject.

New Feature: Tagmash overlap. I’ve added a new feature that, I think, brings tagmash to a new level—the tagmash overlap.

It works something like tag mirrors. Instead of showing you how you tag things, it shows how others tag your stuff. Except instead of showing you Individual tags, it finds tagmashes.

The results is, I think, a good list of topics you’re interested in—topics more complex than a single tag can express. In my case, it surfaces topics like Macedonia, history, Greek, divination, Ottoman Empire, travel and erotic, poetry (!). Abby is apparently interested in adventure, surreal, English, death, love and—what a winner—evil, love.

You can find the feature from your profile statistics page. If you’re signed in, this link will take you to yours.

What do you think? Comment here or come over to the New Features Talk thread.

Labels: classification, tag mirror, tagging, tagmash


  1. Vicki says:

    Very nice! However, I still miss being able to do tagmashes using "currently reading" or "to read". Before these tags became collections, I could do this. It was a nice way to see what's currently popular for a specific tag – for example, "literary fiction, to read" or "zombies, currently reading." Any chance of making collection names available for tagmashes? Thanks!

  2. Library Hag says:

    I adore tagmashes. It is invaluable when I am creating booklists for library patrons.

  3. theAshLad says:

    This feature single-handedly convinced my roommate to finally join LT.

    Well played, Tim.

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