Why is that a tag?!: User-generated tag structure in online fan fiction archives

  • Author / Creator
    Hitchcock, Ella
  • Established in 2007 by the Organization for Transformative Works, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) is a fan fiction archive that hosts over three million fan works, consisting mostly of fan fiction. It has become an active hub of fan activity, making it an ideal object of study as a current representation of fan attitudes and trends. This thesis will examine the linguistic features of user-generated tags in fan fiction archives across three different types of media: television, print, and film. It proposes that there are similarities in user-generated tags that cross organizational boundaries on AO3 and that the linguistic features of user-generated tags change across category (hereafter called fandom) boundaries in ways that show user engagement with the type of media for which they are writing. Data was collected from three related fandoms: Hannibal (TV), Hannibal Lecter Tetralogy - Thomas Harris, and Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins Movies). It was then run through feature analysis software to determine how tag structure changes across fandom boundaries. This analysis is aimed at revealing relationships between fandoms through the similarities and differences of tags used in each fandom and showing how users engage with the property through the complexity of the tag structures in each fandom. The results revealed that while user-generated tags on AO3 contain distinct linguistic features, there are minimal differences in tag content between the three fandoms, and that while the majority of the tags analysed consist of short, simple noun phrases, there are enough longer, more complex tags to indicate that users engage and communicate with other users through the tags themselves.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Studies
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.