Searchable Signatures: Context and the Struggle for Recognition

Gina Schlesselman-Tarango


Social networking sites made possible through Web 2.0 allow for unique user-generated tags called “searchable signatures.”  These tags move beyond the descriptive and act as means for users to assert online individual and group identities.  A study of searchable signatures on the Instagram application demonstrates that these types of tags are valuable not only because they allow for both individuals and groups to engage in what social theorist Axel Honneth calls the struggle for recognition, but also because they provide contextual use data and sociohistorical information so important to the understanding of digital objects.  This article explores how searchable signatures might be used by both patrons and staff in library environments.

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