We’re talking ‘bout tags! 🏷️ This page is about Public Lab’s tagging system for organizing information and communities of people by topic of interest.
Lead image: The
wetlands tag is often used together with these other tags that describe specific methods, tools, and places. This interactive tag visualization is found on the Popular Tags page and was contributed by @bsugar, @Manasa2850, and @17sushmita.
What are tags and how are they used?
Tags are words or short phrases that you can attach to research notes and wiki pages. These words can represent:
- environmental topics (
- tools and methods (
- geographic locations and regions (
- specific project names (
one-cranston), …and much more!
And tags do a lot of things around the Public Lab website:
🏷️ Tags describe the work on a post or page
Look at the right-hand side of any research note or wiki page to see all the tags applied to it. Click on any tag to see a page with all relevant work collected in one place (more on this in the next section).
Image: Example tags from this research note by @tylerknight. These tags describe environmental topics (air-quality, particulate-matter), places (gulf-coast, st-james), tools (purpleair), and a project name (formosaplastics).
🏷️ Tags connect research and people around a topic
Connecting related research with tags enables us to form “topic-based communities,” where people can more readily find related work and other community members working within the topic.
All research notes, questions, and wiki pages bearing a specific topic tag are collected on a “tag page” at publiclab.org/tag/insert-topic-here. You can also see all the people who follow or have contributed to the topic.
Image: The “tag page” for the topic air-quality, found at https://publiclab.org/tag/air-quality
And on the website dashboard, you can see recent activity on Public Lab grouped by topics that you follow.
Image: The PublicLab.org dashboard shows recent activity by Public Lab community members, grouped by topics you follow.
Following tags to stay updated
Once you’ve signed up for a free account at PublicLab.org, you can follow tags for topics that interest you. You’ll then receive an email whenever someone tags a post with topics you follow.
Find popular tags and search for tags at https://publiclab.org/tags
In addition to following tags for environmental topics, tools, or locations, you can also follow tags for certain kinds of posts on Public Lab:
❓ Follow questions on topics: to be notified whenever someone posts a question about a topic, follow the tag
question:insert-topic-here. This can be especially helpful if you’d like to support people who have questions about a topic you have experience with! For example, to follow questions on water quality, click Follow Question:water-quality
📅 Follow events: calls and events posted on Public Lab are tagged with
event. Follow that tag if you’re interested in being notified when a new event is announced. Follow Event
You can follow any tag–just look for links or buttons that say “Follow”! You can then manage your tag subscriptions and notification settings from your profile.
How to add tags
You can add existing tags to a piece of work, or create new tags. We try to standardize tags across the website as much as possible to make things easier to organize and find. For example, on content about water quality, the tag
water-quality tends to be used more than the shorter tag
water. The variety of tags and how they’re connected to each other across the website will evolve as tags are continually used and created by the Public Lab community.
Note that tags do not use spaces, so the topic of water quality as a tag is
water-quality with a hyphen between words.
Adding tags to your own work
You can add tags to your own research notes and wiki pages during or after publishing.
In the research note editor, add tags into the box at the bottom by typing them in. The wiki page editor has a similar box at the bottom with a tag icon.
On a page or post that’s already published, find the plus sign on the right-hand side, below tags that have already been applied. Clicking on the plus sign will open up a search bar that says “Enter tags”.
In the bar, start typing in a word and some of the more popular, existing tags with that word will appear in an auto-generated list. If you find a tag that works for you, just select it from the list! If you don’t find the tag you need, create a new tag by typing it into the box and pressing enter. Et voilà! 🎉 The tag will appear in the list of applied tags. To delete a tag you added, click on the “x” on the tag.
Image: How to add tags to an existing research note or wiki page.
Adding tags to other people’s work
If you’re signed into PublicLab.org and have already made your first post, you can add tags to any research note, question, or wiki page to help describe or connect the work. Just follow the same steps above for adding tags to your own published work. Note that you can remove any tags you add, but you won’t be able to remove tags other people have applied.
If you haven’t made a first post that’s been approved by the moderator community, you won’t yet be able to add tags to other people’s published work. When you click on the plus sign to add tags on a page, you’ll see a pop-up:
For more information on making your first post, visit the First-Time Posters wiki here!
Power tags are special tags that enable extra features or functions on pages on the website. You can learn more about power tags here, but below is a quick summary:
Image: Power tags in grey, listed below topic-related tags in blue.
In the list of applied tags on a research note or wiki, power tags appear in grey.
Power tags are entered like regular tags, but follow the format
A few nifty things you can do with common power tags:
Label special kinds of research notes
Tagging a research note with
question:insert-topic-here visually marks the post as a question. It also ensures that the question post will appear in any tables that automatically collect questions on a specific topic.
Image: the power tag
question:law-and-policy visually marks this research note as a question.
Image: posts tagged with the power tag
question:law-and-policy are automatically collected in this table at https://publiclab.org/wiki/law-and-policy.
Tagging a research note with
activity:insert-topic-here will mark the post as an activity and automatically make a couple nifty features appear: a light blue box at the top right saying this is an activity and a “Try it now” button so others can replicate your activity; and a blue “I did this” button at the bottom of your post so anyone who tries your activity can click this and comment on your post.
Adding the power tag
with:insert-username-here to a research note will add a co-author to your note with a live link to the user's profile page; however, the note itself will not show up under that user's profile. E.g.,
Indicate the language of the work
Adding the power tag
lang:insert-2-letter-language-code-here will indicate the language of a research note or wiki page. For example, content tagged with
lang:es contains Spanish and is collected at https://publiclab.org/tag/lang:es.