Social Bookmarking

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What is it?

Social bookmarking gives you the ability to bookmark pages from anywhere, search others have bookmarked, and share bookmarks with your peers. While there are a few different types of social bookmarking services, Del.icio.us and Diigo are two widely used bookmarking sites by educators.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Del.icio.us, but other sites work in very similar ways. Please note that with any service you choose, where your friends are sharing will make a difference in it's functionality for you.

Getting Started

Delicious icon.jpg
Again, you are not limited to using Del.icio.us, however, for any service you choose you will need to create an account. Visit the homepage of the service and look for a link that says something like Create an account, Register, or Join Now!. If you haven't already done so, take a moment now to create an account. The remainder of this article will focus on using Del.icio.us.

Create an Account

To create an account, visit www.delicious.com and click the Join Now! link in the upper right. Like most services on the web, you will be asked to enter an email and a password for your account. Take a moment to think of a username that is easily recognizable for people trying to share with you. If you are looking to share with a group, you will want to learn everyone's username within your group. This is important when sharing bookmarks, as you will see.

If you have an existing account, click the Sign In link in the upper right.

Once you have filled out the form and agreed to the agreement of Terms of Service you will want to click Register. At this point you will be asked if you want to import your bookmarks from your web browser. If you aren't on your own computer don't worry about it you can import them later.

Importing Bookmarks

Decide whether you would like to share your existing web browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari or other) bookmarks using Delicious. To make this an easy process for you, Delicious and most other social bookmarking services, allow you to import these items into your new account.

To import your bookmarks into Delicious click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner of the page you will be brought to a page listing various settings that can be adjusted within Delicious. Look for the Bookmarks area on the Settings page, by clicking on this link you will be brought to the page that will actually walk you through the process of importing your bookmarks or favorites.


Changing Settings


Option 1 - Easy Import (Recommended)

If you are using the computer where your bookmarks are saved, choose the Easy Import option to have Delicious automatically import your bookmarks from your web browser.

Option 2 - Manual Export/Import

For more information on how to manually export and import of your bookmarks, refer to the Import/Upload Your Old Bookmarks on the Delicious website here

Step A - Export Bookmarks

The first step to add you bookmarks to Delicious is to export them from your browser. So for example in Internet Explorer you would go to File > Import and Export... this will open a Wizard that will take you through the process.

Click Next to start the wizard.

ExplorerExportBookMark1.jpg

Select the option to Export Favorites and then click Next.

ExplorerExportBookMark2.jpg

Select the Favorites Folder of the links that you want to export are saved.

ExplorerExportBookMark3.jpg

Now Browse for the location where you want to save your document.

ExplorerExportBookMark4.jpg

Now click Finish
ExplorerExportBookMark5.jpg
and you should see the following message pop up.
ExplorerExportBookMarkSucess.jpg

Click OK and you are finished exporting your bookmarks from Internet Explorer.

Step B - Import Bookmarks

The next step is to Import/Upload the exported bookmarks file to Delicious.

So you will see that there is a Browse button. Click on this button and find the file that you just exported from your Internet browser. Once you have chosen the file you should scroll down the page and read about your options. At this point you can have your bookmarks made public or private to start with.

DeliciousImportExport.jpg

Once you have chosen the options that you want click import now, note that your bookmarks will be private to start with. Now you can choose how you want to share your bookmarks and how you want to organize them.

Browser Buttons

Another great thing about Delicious is that you can integrate it into your browser for fast and easy bookmarking. By adding Browser Buttons to your Internet browser you will be able to simply add to your favorites with a click of a button.

Adding Buttons

To add you the Delicious Buttons to your browser click the Help link that is at the top of the Delicious site. On the Help page look for the Need Tools? section, click on the link and choose the browser buttons for you browser. Once you are on the page you should see a link that says Install Add-on. This will instruct you on adding the buttons to your browser. It usually requires you to close your browser at some point.

For Internet Explorer There are 4 steps.

First you will want to Run the application.

DeliciousIEbookmarklet1.jpg

The second window will be telling you what you are running and is a waring. Since we know that this is a Yahoo based software we can be sure that it is OK to install.

DeliciousIEbookmarklet2.jpg

The next step is asking where you would like to install the program. You will want to leave this in the default location.

DeliciousIEbookmarklet3.jpg

This step is the one that you will want to close your Internet Explorer windows then click OK.

DeliciousIEbookmarklet4.jpg

Once you have finished your installation you will now have three buttons that will be added to your browser.

Organizing Basics

When you first start out with all of your imported bookmarks it can be a bit overwhelming to have all of these things laid out before you. At this point a good way to start organizing them is to find the bookmarks that you use the most. This way you can get a feel of how the organization of your bookmarks might work best for you. Since Social bookmarking doesn't have a formal taxonomy for organizing content it will be helpful for you to think of how you might organize items. Also don't worry about describing something too much, it can actually be helpful.

Adding a New Bookmark

There are two ways to add a bookmark. The first can be done right from your Delicious page, the other is to use the buttons installed in your web browser. From the Delicious web page, look at the top right hand corner of the screen for a link that says Save a New Bookmark.

DeliciousTagOptions.jpg

Now you will be asked to type or paste the URL of the web page.

DeliciousSave1.jpg

The next step is to add the tags that represent the information on the page. As a rule of thumb try to think of three words that you would relate to the web page. For example if this is a page that has research on it I would use that as a keyword, as well as what the research was about. Another tag I might use is a tag call revisit so that I know to revisit the site.

DeliciousSave2.jpg

You will also notice that there is a tab next to tags called People this will let you share bookmarks with people who's delicious account you know. More on that in a bit.

Once you have entered your term and clicked Save you will then the newest bookmark saved in your Delicious account.

Add Bookmarks with Browser Buttons

Above you saw how to add a bookmark by simply going to http://delicious.com/, but it doesn't make sense that every time you want to bookmark a page that you have to copy the address and paste it into your Delicious page.

This is why Delicious and other social bookmarking sites give you tools such as browser buttons, that have been created for Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox.

DeliciousBookmarklet.jpg

How this works is that once you have installed the browser buttons you now have a shortcut to your Delicious Account. So the next time you arrive at a page you want to bookmark simply click on the browser button. This will automatically open up a Delicious window for you.

DeliciousBookmark.jpg

The URL will be in the appropriate location and then all you have to do is add your tags. Once this is done click save and now you have added a new bookmark. So now you can bookmark away without ever having to return to the Delicious page.

Accessing Your Bookmarks

So how do you get back to your bookmarks that you have saved? If you are on your computer and have the Delicious browser buttons installed your bookmarks have been integrated into your browser. If you are on another computer that isn't yours you can still access your bookmarks.

To access your bookmarks from your browser you can go to View > Explorer Bar > Delicious Sidebar in Internet Explorer, or View > Sidebar > Delicious in Firefox. A fast way to open this is to use CTRL + B to open and close the sidebar also. This will open up a sidebar which has all of your tags and bookmarks.

DeliciousSidebar.jpg

Once this sidebar is open you can search by your tags to find the bookmark that you are looking for.

You can also do to http://delicious.com/yourusername to access your bookmarks without being logged in and find a bookmark that you need. For example if you go to http://delicious.com/obrient you will be able to see Tadge O'Brien's bookmarks. This is a nice way to share your bookmarks with your students and coworkers. Especially if there are resources that you would like to make available to them in one place.

Tagging

Tagging is something relatively new to the web, and is the way social bookmarking services help you organize your information. Tags simply are user defined keywords for a piece of information. Instead of a professional sorting and labeling information with descriptors you create your own descriptors and a taxonomy for you information.

For example if you are using a social bookmarking site for a project relating to the World War Two you could tag resources with a tag such as WWII. This way when you or your social network are looking for information on World War Two they could simply click on, or search for this tag.

As you tag your pages you can use multiple tags to describe additional things that are relevant. So as a teacher you can tag these resources with additional tags such as history, 8th, curriculum and other tags that would be helpful to other teachers. Tagging lets you really start to discover and search information, though if you tag something it might not be defined the same way as someone else has. Hence the term people use for the way information is sorted is called a folksonomy.

Editing Existing Bookmarks

When you have either an imported bookmark or a bookmark that you would like to edit you can do this simply by going to the specific bookmark and clicking on the edit section of the bookmark Delicious.png. This will open the form that allows you to edit the bookmark in question. The basic fields you have to describe the bookmark include the title of the page, the URL, any notes you want to add, tags and the option to mark it as private.

DeliciousEdit.png

The key field of this form is the tag section. Tags are basically words or sets of words that describe the page that you are marking. Think of it like a set of keywords that you can use to search by in the future. Each tag in Delicious is seperated by a single space, so when you are entering tags and you want to use two words to describe them, you can do so, but if you want them to seem like a combination of words then it isn't a bad idea to enter the as oneword.


One great thing about these services is that all of them will also suggest tags that you might want to use as you are bookmarking information.

Delicious-tagging.jpg

These are based on other tags that you have used, tags others have used for the same or similar sites, as well as giving you access to sharing it with your network of people.

Diigo

Social Bookmarking and Notation at Diigo

Personal and Classroom Use

Networking

One of the great things about social bookmarking is that in a sense you can network with others using the tool. Hence the social aspect of bookmarking. For example if you know that a friend of yours has Delicious bookmarks and you know their user name, for example mine is obrient you can add their name to the delicious URL to view their bookmarks. So my bookmarks would be http://del.icio.us/obrient. Then you can add me to your network, to do this click the your network link and simply type that persons username in the add field. Now you are connected to your friends or other people who have similar interests as you. You don't have to have anyones permission to add them to your network.

Vetted Resources

One additional way of looking at Delicious and other Social Bookmarking sites is that the bookmarks that have been placed in the service have already been called Favorites by someone else. This can help you as you actually are searching for information about a subject. So for example if I wanted to search for teaching resources I can also go to Delicious, and enter my search terms into the search field. This will then search everyones bookmarks that are in Delicious for those tags. It will then show me my own bookmarks and others bookmarks that match that search term.

So why is this helpful? Since someone else may have been online searching for a particular site, or resource prior to you they may have already found something that they thought was useful, bookmarking it in Delicious or another service. You can also see how many people have bookmarked to specific site when you are searching a site. For example seeing a site that has been bookmarked by 9,000 other people says something about the relevance of a site, at least to the population of people using the Social Bookmarking site.


Subscriptions

One great thing about Delicious and other Web 2.0 tools is the ability to have it do work for you. One example within Delicious is the use of Subscriptions. Basically if there is something that you are interested in and someone else tags it with a certain tag you will be notified by Delicious.

For example say that you are interested in Math. Go to your Delicious page click on the subscription link under your username. Now in the top right hand side of your page there is a section with a link called Add a Subscription. When you click on this you will be asked for a tag to subscribe to. Simply type in your term and click Add. Now every time someone else tags a page with your term your Delicious subscription will be updated.

This is a great way to keep up with the amount of information that is being created on the Internet in relation to what you are interested in.

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