While recent progress has been achieved in understanding the structure and dynamics of social tagging systems, we know little about the underlying user motivations for tagging, and how they influence resulting folksonomies and tags. This paper addresses three issues related to this question: 1.) What motivates users to tag resources, and in what ways is user motivation amenable to quantitative analysis? 2.) Does users’ motivation for tagging vary within and across social tagging systems, and if so how? and 3.) How does variability in user motivation influence resulting tags and folksonomies? In this paper, we present measures to detect whether a tagger is primarily motivated by categorizing or describing resources, and apply the measures to datasets from 8 different tagging systems. Our results show that a) users ’ motivation for tagging varies not only across, but also within tagging systems, and that b) tag agreement among users who are motivated by categorizing resources is significantly lower than among users who are motivated by describing resources. Our findings are relevant for (i) the development of tag recommenders, (ii) the analysis of tag semantics and (iii) the design of search algorithms for social tagging systems
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