• Fandom, Folksonomies and Creativity: the case of the Archive of Our Own

    Ludovica Price (see profile)
    CityLIS, Library & Information Science
    Subculture, Fans (Persons), Library science, Information science
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    The Human Position in an Artificial World: Creativity, Ethics and AI in Knowledge Organization
    Conf. Org.:
    Conf. Loc.:
    City, University of London, London, UK
    Conf. Date:
    15-16th July 2019
    folksonomies, Archive of Our Own, fanfiction, classification, tagging, Fandom, Library and information science, Digital archives
    Permanent URL:
    Over recent years Web 2.0 has brought information into the hands of the public, and we are increasingly seeing non-professionals doing sophisticated information tasks not merely for work, research or personal interest, but also for leisure – and even pleasure. This paper looks at an online fanfiction repository, Archive of Our Own (AO3), and investigates the ways that media fans have co-opted new technologies to build a ‘curated folksonomy’ (Bullard 2014), in order to organise the fanworks (fan-created creative works) uploaded by fans to the website. Run by volunteers, the site is a fascinating example of how passion, and even obsession, can bring amateur knowledge workers together collaboratively with users to build an intricate ‘democratic indexing’ system (Hidderley and Rafferty 1997; Rafferty and Hidderley 2007). Through methods of tag analysis and interviews, the paper explores how Archive of Our Own’s curated folksonomy allows fans to make full and creative use of their own original, freeform tags, while also building a highly granular and sophisticated taxonomy which, though highly labour-intensive to maintain, serves the community by maintaining a high degree of accuracy while also preserving the folksonomic properties of freeform tagging. As well as building a functioning taxonomy, through standardising its nomenclature, and facilitating the discoverability of AO3’s collections to its users, these amateur knowledge workers see their domain expertise and knowledge organisation labour as a type of fanwork that ‘gives back to the community’, in lieu of other creative works such as fanfiction and fanart.
    Preprint of the published version.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago


    Item Name: docx isko19-ao3-paper_v3.docx
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