Tagging in all its glory is a form of indexing. Like most all other concepts on the Internet it is wide open for anyone to create. Folksonomy is so prevalent on the Internet that I think people have become conditioned to using tagging or keyword searches that they don’t know how to use authority indexes. In fact, I have seen middle-schoolers try to find things in a book and not have a clue how to use the index. I don’t think libraries have a choice – they will be forced to accept tagging at some level. As more databases and reading materials are available electronically, it is convenient to do tagging in order to find information. I really think tags should be used to supplement subject headings. Regardless of how careful and detailed catalogers are, databases contain errors. Tags may find a link that was not listed as a subject heading therefore not found by the user.
Personally I like tag clouds; clouds point to new ideas. When I am doing research for a specific topic it is sometimes necessary to approach the data at an angle to gather all relevant data. The main time this is true is in the fall when science fair projects are beginning. Students are required to have two Internet sources and two print sources. In our case we have to get creative in finding enough sources for several grades all doing the same project. I feel like I’m in the clouds sometimes anyway!