Ontologies are instruments for capturing and using formal semantics, and are often the result of a ”central committee controlled” style of working. A new trend on the Web is the increasing popularity of folksologies in the form of social bookmarking sites. Folksologies provide informal semantics and can be created and adopted by anybody anytime anywhere on the Internet. Shared meaning in a folksology emerges through the use of tags that are used to bookmark web pages, their usage frequency being considered a reliable indicator of their usefulness and acceptance.
Rather than choosing for either ontologies or folksologies, hybrid emergent semantics systems are needed that combine elements of both perspectives, depending on the particular application. There is a need to analyse the larger picture (including the full range of semantics’ functionalities in their context of use.
In this paper, we outline a number of key design characteristics of emergent semantics systems (ESS). We examine the functionalities of two existing examples of well-known ESSs: del.icio.us and Piggy Bank. Using the results of this comparison, we introduce DogmaBank as a proof of concept implementation of a next-generation ESS that introduces a more advanced combination of lexical and conceptual emergent semantics functionalities.