An alternative method of searching for information on Be Communities is to take advantage of something called tags. A tag is a keyword or term associated with a piece of content (e.g. forum post, wiki or blog article, file or image, etc.) It links the content to other content that it relates to contextually. Tags give you flexibility in structuring a Web site and in helping map information. Tags also make the information on a Web site more accessible.
You can take advantage of searching for information that has tags associated to it by using something like a tag cloud. Tag clouds scope to the content they represent. For example, a tag cloud that might exist on community home page focusing on animals might look like this:
Tags listed in a tag cloud are used in all community applications (e.g. forums, blogs, wikis, etc.) in varying numbers. The tags are listed alphabetically and their relative point sizes represent how frequently the tags used. In this example, "cat" and "kangaroo" are the largest because they're used most frequently.
How does this help with searching for information? Quite simply, a tag cloud contains a list of tags that link to search results of content which include that tag. You could click "elephant," for instance, and see the posts that contain this tag. If the widget is placed on the site home page, the result of clicking “elephant” would be all posts in all communities and applications with that tag. If the widget is placed on a blog home page, the results would be only the blog articles with that tag in that community blog. This is why the tag cloud more often than not looks different from one page to another on our site.
Of course, searching for information via tag cloud yields more positive results when content is tagged in a consistent and judicious manner. When posting anything on Be Communities, including a few tags that identify the main context of what you are posting (e.g. product name, functional area, product version, language, etc.) will make it that much easier for anyone to find. So before clicking “Post”, remember to include tags! And then take advantage of tag clouds.
Thanks, Phil. Great explanation!