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Calm, Yet Fierce: An Experiment in Social Tagging Works of Art

August 18, 2010

Emma-O, Japan, late 16th - early 17th century

What words and phrases would you use to describe this sculpture, Emma-O?  Calm?  Fierce?  Intense?  The Dallas Museum of Art is interested in what teachers have to say about a select group of artworks from the Museum’s collection.  Visit STEVE: The Museum Social Tagging Project to “tag” one, five, or ten of the fifty-two images of artworks from the African and Asian collections.  If you are new to “social tagging”, it simply means to “tag”, or label, a work of art with a descriptive or associative word or phrase.

Why do we care about what you think?  Well, we often get very comfortable with our own vocabularies, which may or may not be interesting or accessible to everyone.  The idea behind social tagging is that you can build a more broad vocabulary around ideas or artworks and can consider new ways to describe and to think about works of art. It is also a great way to work with expert audiences–like educators.  We want to know what words and phrases you would use to describe various works of art and what we can learn from you.

This tagging project is one part of the Dallas Museum of Art’s IMLS grant, Connect: Teachers, Technology, and Art, which is focused on the redesign of online teaching materials for teachers and students.  In partnership with the New Media Consortium, the DMA is one of several museums participating in the Steve-in-Action project exploring various applications for social tagging with works of art.

We invite you to participate in this project.  Visit our tagger environment and look for a screen similar to the image below.  Create your login and then tag away.  Spend five or fifteen minutes sharing words and phrases that you feel aptly describe works of art from the Dallas Museum of Art.  It’s also fun to see what others have to say about the artworks.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

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