Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fifth Course: Tagging and Social Bookmarking

This week we are going to take a look at what tagging is on the Web and how social bookmarking sites like Delicious use tags to organize information.

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 anyway they want.

Delicious is a social bookmarking manager which allows you to bookmark a web page and add tags to categorize your bookmarks.

Many users find that the real power of Delicious is in the social network aspect, which allows you to see how other users have tagged similar links and also discover other websites that may be of interest to you. 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.

Another great use of Delicious is having all your bookmarks in one place. Many of us have a computer that we use at work as well as one at home. We might also use a friend's computer or a computer at the public library. When we've bookmarked sites in the past those bookmarks stayed on whatever computer we made them on. With Delicious, when you want to use a bookmark it does not matter what computer you were at when you saved it. Simply log in to your Delicious account and no matter where you are you will have access to all of your bookmarks.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at Delicious and learn about this popular bookmarking tool.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. View the 8 minute Del.icio.us tutorial to get a good overview of its features.
  2. Take a look around Delicious using Bob's Delicious account. Note: In this account you may find some pretty strange things so be prepared!
  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 that 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?

OPTIONAL: If you’re up to the challenge, create a Delicious account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list.

Note: If you do setup a Delicious account, here’s a quick word about the Delicious Buttons. On PCs that have the toolbars locked down, these will install as options in your browser bookmarks. Use the “Post to my Delicious” link to add the current webpage to your account (you may need to log in). Use the “My Delicious” link to view your online account.

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