LEGO Tagging Standard Proposal

This post’s for bloggers. You can skip it if you’re looking for pictures of minifigs or mecha or space ships or castles.

Sean’s LEGO Bloggers’ Code proposal last month got me thinking about other ways we LEGO bloggers can cooperate more, helping to create more of a network of blogs that compliment each other.

In addition to linking back and forth, one way I think we can create this network — something that adds up to more than the sum of its parts — is through tagging.

Tagging is a lot like the art of indexing a book. An index isn’t just all the words in the book listed alphabetically — that’s a concordance, and search engines already do this (though they call their process “indexing,” just to confuse you). A human indexer evaluates information and assigns keywords that a reader might use when trying to find that information. These keywords might not appear in the content itself. Similarly, the author of a blog post assigns tags based on how they want their information to be found. For example, I don’t always use the word “LEGO” in my posts, but I want people looking for information about LEGO to find my posts.

Since several of us are now using Technorati tags to categorize our posts, I thought it might be time to see if ways we could standardize our the way we use tags. Standardization will help our readers find related information across all of our blogs. For those of you who aren’t using tags yet, I’ve found that people really are using Technorati to find information on blogs; I get a fair number of referrals from Technorati searches, and the added keywords get picked up by Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. (And let’s just admit it’s all about readers, because otherwise, what’s the point?)

As I copied and pasted tag sets from one post to another, I’ve developed a standard of my own that I may as well share with you. Each string of tags at the end of my posts includes the following information:

  • LEGO
  • The theme, such as Castle or Space
  • The subtheme, if any, such as Steampunk or Mecha
  • Any tags specific to the creation I’m blogging
  • Where I found the creation, such as Brickshelf or Flickr

    What’s missing from this list is some identifier for the builder, so I’ll be adding that going forward. See another post for an example (because this post isn’t about any of those things).

    Technorati requires registration — you “claim” a blog — so that you can “ping” Technorati when you’ve posted something. (Some blogging tools include built-in or plug-in Technorati ping functionality. Blogger doesn’t, so you have to do it manually when you’ve finished posting.) But tagging a post is as easy as pasting in some code. For Blogger users, you can add these to your post template (Settings > Formatting > Post Template) and they’ll appear automatically in each new post — you just have to edit them.

    For your convenience, I’ve created a tag template you can use. Copy the following block of code, paste at the bottom of your post (or in your post template), and replace both instances of each all-caps keyword you want to use. For example, replace both instances of the THEME placeholder with Castle. Delete any of the <a href> blocks you don’t want to use. For example, delete the Flickr block or the Brickshelf block. Here’s the code:

    You’ll also notice that this is the first post to include three new links above the Technorati tags. These links make it easy for readers to bookmark the current post using, highlight it on Digg, and post it to Furl. You can find the easy-to-use JavaScript code in an article on

    Welcome to Web 2.0. Good luck!