Social tagging systems have established themselves as an important part in today’s web and have attracted the interest of our research community in a variety of investigations. Henceforth, several aspects of social tagging systems have been discussed and assumptions have emerged on which our community builds their work. Yet, testing such assumptions has been difficult due to the absence of suitable usage data in the past. In this work, we thoroughly investigate and evaluate four aspects about tagging systems, covering social interaction, retrieval of posted resources, the importance of the three different types of entities, users, resources, and tags, as well as connections between these entities’ popularity in posted and in requested content. For that purpose, we examine live server log data gathered from the real-world, public social tagging system BibSonomy. Our empirical results paint a mixed picture about the four aspects. While for some, typical assumptions hold to a certain extent, other aspects need to be reflected in a very critical light. Our observations have implications for the understanding of social tagging systems, and the way they are used on the web. We make the dataset used in this work available to other researchers.
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