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Help Center - Book Tags

Search Terms:

Introduced 9/27/2007. Improved August 2008.

What are they?

Book tags are words and short phrases that describe a book.  When used cooperatively (in a club-useful fashion) by  members, tags provide a wonderful method of discovery for books.   Tags can also be used personally, in a way that is useful to only one (or a few) members.  Sometimes members use tags inappropriately, and inappropriate tags should be removed.  Read on to learn what makes a tag inappropriate and how you can help eliminate inappropriate tags.

PBS plans to make club-useful tags searchable when most of the existing inappropriate tags have been removed.

What kind of words should I use as tags?

You can make Personal Tags or Club-Useful tags.

  • A Club-Useful tag uses words and phrases that describe the content of the book. See examples of Club-Useful tags below.
    • When coming up with a Useful tag, ask yourself "What words will other members search for to find books like this?"
  • A Personal tag has meaning only for the tagger.  See examples of Personal tags.
    • Members can use these, but there is almost always a better way to do what you're trying to accomplish.
  • An Inappropriate tag is one that describes a particular copy of a book, or that is scatalogical (these are never appropriate!), or that actually impedes other members' use of the club. Other inappropriate tags include (but are not limited to) personal email addresses and names of other swapping sites. See examples of Inappropriate tags.

    Examples of Useful Tags:

Historical Fiction, Newbery Medal Winner, Nobel prize-winning author, Set in Spain, Catholicism, Baseball History

    Examples of Personal Tags:

pjfb, 11/13 on 0708,  15 36, hmmm, 11/13, etc.

These have meaning only for the tagger.  They will not be useful to the other members of the club.

Done, Wish List, TBR, RL, BIR, JohnRL, MarysTBR, Traded, My TBR, John-bookshelf, Sent, etc.

        Note that many of these tags are redundant.  The On My:  section of search listings and My Lists serve the purpose of most of them. 

    Examples of Inappropriate Tags:

cover has small tear, No Dust Jacket, some yellowed pages, autographed, etc.

       These tags apply do not apply to EVERY copy of the book, only one.  

Do not order

     Put yourself in the shoes of a new member who finds a book she'd like to order bearing this tag!

     It is not wise to put an email address on a publicly-accessible internet page!

 Posted on/Received From [another swapping site]

     Really?!? C'mon!

Posted for John S. only - all other requests will be canceled!

       Egregious inappropriate use of tags (and of the site)! This tag appears to apply to every copy of the book, so no one will request it. A tag like this will also likely get your account suspended for Terms of Use violations.


       Any tag that is (in our judgment) erotic in nature. Tags that relate to sexual desire or activity will be removed.

If you have created any inappropriate tags, you should delete them. Otherwise, they will start to disappear without warning as other members report them as inappropriate! See below for more information about reporting tags as inappropriate.

How do Tags work?

  • You can apply any number of tags to the same book. To enter them at the same time, separate them with commas.
  • You can view all the items in the database bearing a particular tag by clicking on the tag wherever it appears on a search listing.
  • You can view all the books that you have applied the tag to from your My Tags page.
  • Others can see your tags--if they are among the 15 most-commonly applied tags to that book listing.
  • When you view a book you will see ALL of the tags you have applied to it, as well as the 15 tags that have been most commonly applied to that book by all members.  Less-commonly applied tags will not necessarily show, especially if a book has had many different tags applied to it.

How do I use the Tags feature?

To add a tag to a book:

  • Look for the button on the book listing (in a search result, on your Bookshelf, Wish List, TBR PIle, BIR list, Reminder List, etc.)
  • Click the button and type your tag in the box that pops up.
    • As you type the tag name, the most commonly used matching tags will be suggested to you in a dropdown from the space in which you are typing. It's important to select an existing tag, if possible.  This will give the tag "power" in the Tag Cloud and the coming Tag Search.  If no existing tag matches what you've typed, a new one will be created.
    • To apply multiple tags at once, type them all separated by commas. Example: humor, good for teens. However, you will only see tag suggestions for the first tag that you type.
    • Press Enter or click
  • On Book Details pages, tags are applied in a slightly different manner. The box to type in your tag is always there and you'll click the button AFTER typing your tag.

To remove a tag you have placed on a book:

  • Just click the icon next to that tag name (on the Book Details page, your Bookshelf, etc.)
  • This will remove YOUR TAG from the book.  If others have tagged the book with that tag, it will NOT remove the tag entirely.
  • A tag will disappear from a book only if there are no members using that tag on the book, OR if there are many tags applied to the book and that tag is not among the 15 most-commonly applied tags. A tag can also be "voted" off by other members, as described below.

To see the tags that have been applied to a book:

  • Search for the book using any search method.  Your own tags and the 15 most popular tags that have been applied to the book will appear below the general information about the book.
    • The tags with the beside them are YOUR tags.
  • Look at the Details page for a book.  Your own tags for the book and popular tags will be shown separately.
  • Look at your Bookshelf, Wish List, TBR PIle, BIR list, Reminder List, etc. pages to see only your tags.
  • Look at your My Tags page, found under My Lists. You'll find every tag you've created along with usage information.
    • Place your cursor over a tag name to see how many books you've used it on.
    • Clicking the tag names FROM THIS PAGE will show you only the books to which YOU'VE applied the tag. Normally, clicking on a tag name shows you the list of books that any members have tagged.

You can also view the 'Tag Cloud' for the club or 'My Tag Cloud'.

The Tag Cloud is a page of the 250 most commonly-used tags in the club.  The number of members using a tag appears as a superscript to the right of the tag name.

  • The font size on the Tag Cloud corresponds to the number of times that tag has been used by all members.
  • Clicking any tag will take you to the list of all books bearing that tag.

You can get to the Tag Cloud page under Community in the top menu of any page on the site.  Click here to go directly to the Tag Cloud.

My Tag Cloud is a page of YOUR 100 most often-used tags.  The number of times you have used a tag appears as a superscript to the right of the tag name.

  • The font size on My Tag Cloud corresponds to the number of times that YOU have used the tag.
  • Clicking any tag will take you to the list of  books to which YOU have applied that tag.

You can get to My Tag Cloud from the My Tags page.  Click here to go directly to the My Tag Cloud page.

Can I search for Tags I am interested in?

There is not currently a way to search the Tags in the database, but there are some ways to find the Tag list that you are seeking:

  •  Click on the tag you are interested in, when you see it on a book listing.  That will bring up the whole list of every book tagged with that tag.
  •  Look at the Club Tag Cloud under Community at the top of any page on the site. If a tag is being used by enough people, it will show there.
  • Tag a book using the tag you are interested in, and then click on the tag to see the tag list.

Other information found on the My Tags page

 Besides the previously mentioned list of your own tags, you will find the following usage information on your My Tags page:

  • Under the Uses column you'll see two numbers. The top number tells you how many times the tag has been used across the site and the bottom number tells you how many members have used that tag.
  • Under the Uses column, clicking the top number shows all books bearing that tag and clicking the bottom number shows you all members that have applied that tag. The font size corresponds to the number of times a member has used the tag.
  • The Most Recently Tagged column shows the last book to receive that tag from any member.
  • You can use the button to order your tags by their name or by the number of times YOU'VE used the tag.
  • You can use the button to quickly locate one or more of your tags. Typing just the first few letters then clicking Search will locate all tags that begin with those letters.
  • After searching for tags, you can click "Clear your search" to bring back all of your tags.

Click here to go directly to the My Tags page.

How do I report other members' tags as inappropriate ?

  • Every tag that wasn't created by you will have an  symbol at the end of the tag. Clicking this symbol will report the tag as inappropriate.
  • After a certain number of members have reported the tag for that particular book, it will be automatically deleted from that book only. This allows members to get rid of tags that are inappropriate for a certain book without removing it from other books where it may be appropriate.
  • You will only be able to report a particular tag as inappropriate once per book.
  • Please use good judgment when reporting tags. Abuse of this feature may result in losing your ability to use or even see tags. Repeated abuse can result in your account being suspended.

Is there anything else I should know about tags?  Gimme the short version.

  • Remember that when you view a book in the search results, you will see many tags that have been applied to that book, by any member. 
    • Those tags you see may be completely irrelevant to the particular copy of the book YOU will be requesting if you click "Order This Book". Tags about book condition are the classic example of an inappropriate tag.  In such cases, you should use the "Report as Inappropriate" feature to report the tag.
  • You can remove only your OWN tags. You can't directly remove other members' tags from a book.  You can, however, report a tag as inappropriate. When enough members have reported a particular use of a tag as inappropriate, it will automatically disappear.
  • You have a new "My Tags" page under My Lists, and a new "My Tag Cloud".
  • When the inappropriate tags have largely been eliminated from the database, we will be able to implement the Tag Search, which we know many of our members are eager to have available. 


 Related items:

Tag Cloud



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