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Conceptual syntagmatic associations in user tagging



This study aimed to integrate the linguistic theory of syntagmatic relations and the concept of topic and comment into an empirical analysis of user tagging. User tags on documents in a social bookmarking site reflect a user's views of an information object, which can augment the content description and provide more effective representation of information. The study presents a study of tag analysis to uncover semantic relations among tag terms implicit in user tagging. The objective was to identify the syntagmatic semantic cores of topic and comment in user tags evidenced by the meaning attached to the information object by users. The study focused on syntagmatic relations, which were based on the way in which terms were used within the information content among users. Analysis of descriptive tag terms found three primary categories of concepts: content-topic, content-comment, and context of use. The relations among terms within a group and between the content-topic and content-comment groups were determined by inferring user meaning from the user notes and from the context of the source text. Intergroup relations showed syntagmatic associations between the topic and comment, whereas intragroup relations were more general but were limited in the document context. The findings are discussed with regard to the semantics of concepts and relations in user tagging. An implication of syntagmatic relations to information search suggests that concepts can be combined by a specific association in the context of the actual use of terms.