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What do fanfiction readers look for when given the ability to specifically seek certain content through tagging? Fanfiction is often broadly defined by a variety of definitions, but the easiest way to understand it is simply by the name: It is fiction of existing works/media of any sort, expounded upon by fans of the content to create something original, while still using characters, plots, themes and so on of the original work. For instance, a fanfiction may take characters and write them out in new scenarios but having the original content having still happened in that character’s background, or fanfiction may write a ‘fix-it fic’ where the writer seeks to rewrite a canon event in a way they prefer. Fanfiction exists almost exclusively on the internet. Thus, sites that host fanfiction collections will often employ a ‘tagging’ system. Tagging is the method of authors attaching key-words or phrases to a work to help readers find content that contains those ‘tags’ in it, thus customizing their reading experience. Using an ethnographic approach to survey English Majors, the researcher sought to produce a better understanding of how readers choose fanfiction, what they choose, and why. We discovered more information to answer these questions, including asking students to list their tag choices and explain why they feel they seek those tags specifically, as well as asking if their choices as a reader have changed over their time as a reader and why they think this is. This research will both help expand knowledge on reader trends of interest, as well as expand on knowledge of fanfiction and the many facets of reader interaction with content in those spaces.

Publication Date



Logan, UT


fanfiction, tagging, reading choices, reader trends


English Language and Literature

These Are the Droids You're Looking For: Tagging and Content in Fanfiction