How to Share a Taxonomy with Other Photoshop Album Users?

In: best of|digital lifestyle|meta-tagging the universe|software

24 May 2004

Photoshop Album is one of those rare applications that make meta tagging so easy that even "normal people" can use it. Now, let’s say I want to create a taxonomy and share it with other users, is there a way to do it so that a) they don’t need to re-create those tags, and b) they’re going to use my controlled vocabulary in order to avoid alternate spellings and other discrepancies? I could even throw in some fun such as nice, well chosen thumbnails for all those tags. (Don’t you love an app than lets you choose your own thumbnails to visualize metatags? And you should see the feature in action, it’s very graceful.)
The goal is to keep everyone on the same page to feed a common database. Is there an explicit intersection between desktop photo management tools and the semantic web (say, an ontology created with Prot

2 Responses to How to Share a Taxonomy with Other Photoshop Album Users?


Stewart Butterfield

May 25th, 2004 at 12:42 am

Flickr actually has tags as well, which operate in a delicious/album sort of way. You can see the 150 most popular tags at
The UI is not as nice as Album, but it will be comparable (nice and easy) in the next release and perhaps cooler by v1.0. I actually installed Album a few weeks ago (finally) and it is really well done. But it’s not online, which is a little insane (of course, our plan is to remedy that ;)
The thing I really like about tagging is that there is no controlled vocabulary. The way it is, you get perhaps 80% of the value of a more traditional ontology-driven approach, but it at least 10x simpler — and that is a very good trade off.


Olivier Travers

May 25th, 2004 at 10:01 am

Stewart, in the context of Flickr it makes total sense to let people use adhoc tags. If your users somehow converge on a loosely normalized set of tags as seems to be the case, so much the better, but it’s not core to your value. On the other hand the online application I’m considering building is dedicated to a specific domain of interest. Those last 20% is where the added value will happen in my case, and the kind of users I’ll be going after should hopefully be able to cope with it. For my project the ontology is the web site.
There might be an intersection between such a topical, structured space and a looser, social space such as Flickr and I’m watching your services to think of opportunities to connect. I believe the same picture has the potential to live in several places for different purposes (e.g. a nice mugshot could go in Flickr, a blog, HotOrNot to support sharing, story telling, aggregated rating). More later once I’ve secured the resources to create a pilot site.

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I'm CEO of an online/mobile trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We strive to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is noisier by the day.

This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, publishing, software, and more. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that better stood the test of time.



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