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What Does Tag Mean?

A tag is a piece of information that describes the data or content that it is assigned to. Tags are nonhierarchical keywords used for Internet bookmarks, digital images, videos, files and so on. A tag doesn’t carry any information or semantics itself.


Tagging serves many functions, including:

  • Classification
  • Marking ownership
  • Describing content type
  • Online identity

Techopedia Explains Tag

Tags can be in the form of words, images or marks. They help search engines identify the content of pages online and, using that information, produce the best results for a given search. Tagging was popularized by websites associated with Web 2.0.

Tags are useful not only for the one who employs them but also for other website users. Websites that use the tag feature usually display them as a collection of tags, which are known as tag clouds. This allows users to navigate more effectively by clicking on the tag that interests them within the cloud, thereby displaying all the content with that particular tag.

There are two different types of tags:

  • Triple Tag: Uses a special type of syntax to define extra semantic information about the tag. These tags consist of three parts: a namespace, a predicate and a value.
  • Hashtag: Hashtags include the use of the hash symbol (#) with one or more words following it. This type of tagging is often used by microblogging platforms like Twitter.

New tags can be applied to an item as easily as older tags and they are intended to help classify items in a way that is useful to users. In some cases, users can create the tags of their choice. However, this option sometimes results in metadata that includes homonyms and synonyms that may lead to inappropriate search information about a subject.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.