I love social bookmarking, I even wrote my first paper for this class on the topic. As a result, I can’t really complete this week’s activity. Instead, I’ll outline a bit about my use of social bookmarking and tagging, and comment on libraries and tagging.
My experience with social bookmarking has been very positive, both for personal use as well as using as a library employee.
Delicious: I have two delicious accounts, one for personal use, the other for work. At the moment both are unused. The work one because I’m not working at the moment, and the personal one because I switched to a different service when Yahoo sold Delicious.
What I liked about delicious was that not only was I about to create RSS feeds of my links to share with co-works but I was able to tag and therefore quickly locate my links. Delicious (and other social bookmarking services) are also great discovery tools, if other users use the same tags, you can locate all of the content that is tagged by other users as well. And- if you are have trouble locating content, you can also search a link and learn what tags have been assigned to it. More about tagging in a bit.
Pinboard: This is my current social bookmarking service. Pinboard does include a sign-up fee, but the person running the site is pretty transparent about what is going on with the service, and solicits ideas from members about new features.
Pinterest: To me, Pinterest is a social bookmarking site, except that images are the primary access point instead of having text that defines the links. Since signing up for the service I haven’t really been back since I use Tumblr to find images and Pinboard to store bookmarks.
I also love tagging, and have tagged most (but not all) of my books in my Librarything, Shelfari, and Goodreads accounts. Luckily the sites allow you to upload your lists of books so that you do not need to re-find your content every time that you join a site. Using these sites have helped me discover new books and authors very easily, and I really enjoy browsing through the sites to find new content.
To me, tagging is a great way to organize content without a controlled vocabulary, but perhaps creating a “controlled vocabulary” of the community as you participate. There are issues with this, such as misspelling words, or alternate spellings (colour/color) that can hamper the creation of these community tags. But, overall is is neat to see that other users are tagging content in a similar way to you, which allows you to discover new content.
The other great thing about tags as a way of organization is that there is no hierarchy. No primary subject access point, or limit to the number of tags. Sure, in tag clouds the most often repeated tag can be visually larger, but you can also use any other the other tags in the cloud as well.
Overall, I find that tags are great for discovery, and I do try and tag every blog post here as well so that someone looking for say- posts on Twitter or about social bookmarking- are able to.
Libraries and Tagging:
For (public) libraries- I feel that tagging is great. At my library we’ve used Librarything for Libraries for years. And we get great feedback from patrons about how they really enjoy having access points that make sense to them. It is almost like the subject access points with their controlled vocabulary is for us (library staff), and the tags are for the users. We can also through sites like Delicious create annotated lists of content (ie Health Websites you can trust) and feed them into the library website via RSS. Often with sites like Delicious you can add an extension to your browser so that you can easily add content from the interesting site, without having to copy the bookmark, sign in to Delicious, paste the bookmark… etc. There are lots of ways that tagging can be used to improve access and efficiency for staff and patrons.