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Abstract

This study examines the question of whether tags can be useful in the process of information retrieval. Participants were asked to search a social bookmarking tool specialising in academic articles (CiteULike) and an online journal database (PubMed) in order to determine if users found tags were useful in their search process. The actions of each participants were captured using screen capture software and they were asked to describe their search process. The preliminary study showed that users did indeed make use of tags in their search process, as a guide to searching and as hyperlinks to potentially useful articles. However, users also made use of controlled vocabularies in the journal database to locate useful search terms and of links to related articles supplied by the database.