#17 - Tagging and social bookmarking with Del.icio.us

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorizing that allows users to associate keywords with online content (webpages, pictures & posts). Unlike library subject cataloging, which follows a strict set of guidelines (i.e.Library of Congress subject headings), tagging is completely unstructured and freeform, allowing users to create connections between data any way they want.

In the past few weeks, we’ve already explored a few sites – Flickr and LibraryThing to name two --that allow users to take advantage of tagging and in Thing #5 many even used a common tag (MISDLTP20) to create an association between photos that we individually uploaded. This week, we want to take a look at how tagging enables people to share their favorite web sites with others by using a social bookmarking site.

There are several social bookmarking sites available, but the most popular and widely-known is called Del.icio.us. Del.icio.us allows you to bookmark a web page and then add tags to categorize your bookmarks. Many users, however, find that the real power of Del.icio.us is in the social networking aspect, which allows you to see how other users have tagged similar links. It also allows you to discover websites on topics that interest you that other people have found. You can think of it as peering into another users’ filing cabinet, but with this powerful bookmarking tool each user's filing cabinet helps to build an expansive knowledge network.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at Del.icio.us and a couple of other social bookmarking sites to see how this tool could be used in your school.

Discovery Resources
1. Start your exploration of social bookmarking by watching this video by the Common Craft guys.

2. Watch the Del.icio.us podcast tutorial (8 minutes)
3. Check out Furl and Ma.gnolia - two other social bookmarking sites.
4. Watch a Furl tutorial here.
5. There's a Ma.gnolia tutorial

Discovery Exercise

1. Review the resources above to get a good overview of social bookmarking - especially the Del.icio.us tutorial.

2. Take a look around Del.icio.us using the MISDLTP20 account that was created for this exercise. Note: In this account you will find lots of resources that have been highlighted or used throughout the course of the Learning 2.0 program. You can keep up to date with what's added by subscribing to the RSS feed.

3. Explore the site options and try clicking on a bookmark that has also been bookmarked by a lot of other users. Can you see the comments they added about this bookmark or the tags they used to categorize this reference?

4. Create a blog post about your experience and thoughts about this tool. Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere? How can libraries take advantage of social bookmarking sites?

Would you like to read more about del.icio.us and other social bookmarking tools? Go to MISD Libraries del.icio.us page and look for entries under the tag headings “del.icio.us” and “socialbookmarking.”

OPTIONAL: If you’re up to the challenge, create a Del.icio.us account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. You might even want to explore Del.icio.us’ latest addition, a network badge. (Psst! see it over there in the navigation sidebar.)

Image by cambodia4kidsorg, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/260004685/

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