Nov, O., Naaman, M., and Ye, C. What drives content tagging: the case of photos on flickr. In CHI ’08: Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 2008), ACM, pp. 1097–1100. [PDF]
This paper builds a conceptual model of the factors that stimulate people in generating tags for their multimedia items they share online. The model mainly tests three elements: te stated motivations for creating tags, namely to serve the self, family and friends, or public, social presence indicators, and participation level.
To test these hypothesis they used a questionnaire together with quantitative data extracted from the logs of Flickr the popular picture sharing web sites they focused on. They analyzed the answers and tested the model using principal component analysis (PCL). All the relation were significant except the relationship between family and friends motivation and the tagging level because, according to the authors, users added tags to describe images to family and friends, not to help them find images. The authors found that one of the key motivation of tagging behavior is the ability of increasing one’s social presence.