Categories and Tags

Blog categories and tags: what they mean and when to use them

Categories = Audience

Tags = Description

LIS Website Team confession: As a team we’ve struggled with a way to articulate to everyone how and why we structured the categories on this blog in the way that we did, and how we intend categories and tags to be used. Hopefully this explanation will provide a useful distinction between the two, and give both post authors and blog readers guidance for how to use them.

Categories (Select your audience)

Use a category to reach an audience (or several).

We want people to subscribe via RSS to the categories they’re interested in. This will only work if post authors take a moment to categorize their posts for the intended audience.

Categories are reflective of LIS structure, including areas and teams, and the structure of Middlebury and its partner institutions. ★ The Essentials is intended to be the most outward-facing category. Use ★ The Essentials to reach both LIS and the outside world. Use a category like MIIS to categorize a post both for MIIS audience members, and if a post is substantially about MIIS.

Categories were predetermined by the LIS Webteam. The LIS Webteam reserves the right to change or add categories (pending team review and approval).

For more information on categories see the How do I…? page.

Tags (Identify and describe your post)

Use tags to identify the subject matter of your post.

Tags are intended to help readers locate more specific pieces of related content. Tags may be “cleaned up” or consolidated on occasion for clarity, but they are NOT predetermined by the LIS Webteam so please feel free to create your own, and use them liberally in your posts.

(Since it’s also possible to subscribe to tag feeds via RSS, they may also be considered audience selection to some extent.)

For more information on tags see the How do I…? page.

So remember:

Categories = Audience

Tags = Description

Also: A video on subscribing via RSS, from CommonCraft.

Happy posting and reading!

-The LIS Website Team

5 thoughts on “Categories and Tags

  1. Jess Isler

    An additional note on categories and tags and RSS:
    We’re hoping category and tag feeds from this blog will be used on lots of LIS pages in the new Drupal site.
    For instance, the Collection Management Drupal page could have a blog feed from the blog category “Collection Management”, and Special Collections could have a tag feed from the tag “Special Collections”.

  2. Arabella Holzapfel

    This is very helpful – thanks, Jess. Thanks also for tagging and categorizing my previous post on accessing the results of federally-funded research!

  3. Jess Isler

    You’re welcome, Arabella. I think everyone should feel free to add categories or tags to other posts where they are missing (or inappropriate, but I doubt we’ll encounter too many of these)–so please feel free to change any I added if you think another term is more appropriate. Thanks!

  4. Alex Chapin

    This seems like a good strategy for determining how to use categories and tags. Indeed this is as challenging problem. Here’s some other recommendations I’d make re: tagging:

    1. When posting, click on the on link to “Choose from most used tags in Post Tags” and see if you can find an existing tag that describes your content before creating a new tag
    2. Keep tags short, ideally single word if possible
    3. Keep tags as general as possible so that they are more likely to be used in other posts
    4. Use tags to provoke new thinking, to encourage others to think and tag in the same way
    5. Use tags to complement, not duplicate categories

  5. Pingback: Customize your LIS blog subscriptions « Library & Information Services

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