Social bookmarking sites provide a secure online environment for saving and managing web pages and other teaching and learning resources. Saved pages are typically tagged by personally created metadata, which provides an easy way to identify and share them with others. Over 200 social bookmarking applications are listed on the FeedMyApp website.These serve different purposes for a wide range of audiences.
Del.icio.us is one of the better known bookmarking applications and is used widely in educational institutions. Features include the facility to create networks and bundles. Networks are created by setting up reciprocal links to other people’s Delicious accounts. This provides all concerned with a wider and richer variety of informtion. Bundles provide an easy way to manage tags which deal with a similar topic. For example, the tags ‘education’, ‘learning’, ‘teaching’, ‘universities’, ‘schools’ and ‘e-learning’ could be bundled under an ‘Education’ label. Clicking on the bundle name will cause all the articles in the bundle to list.Tags can be managed in a number of ways and are easily edited or deleted.
Why use Delicious?
One of the strengths of social bookmarking applications like Delicious is the ability to create identifying tags in one’s own way. There is no such thing as an incorrect tag – tags make sense to the tagger and provide him or her with an easy to remember set of ‘personalised’ references with which to work. The activity of tagging website addresses according to one’s own criteria is known as folksonomy – coming from the words ‘folk’ and ‘taxonomy’. Mathes (2004) warns that personal metadata can be weak, given that informal identifiers are not necessarily understood by everyone in the same way. Others however, have suggested that the ability to freely index web content in this way offers a “partial solution to the semantic web” (Grosseck, G. 2007:6).
The two most useful features of social bookmarking for teachers are:
- the facility to bookmark and collate a large number of electronic resources which are available from anywhere at any time
- the ease with which these can be shared with others, be they colleagues or pupils. However, it should be noted that the process of looking at resources, evaluating them and choosing relevant tags provides a very powerful learning experience for children. This being the case, it is probably worthwhile having a class bookmarking site, especially when doing project and other work involving the collection and evaluation of information sources.
As mentioned above, there are many bookmarking applications. More and more web pages are beginning to provide direct links to these. The graphic below, providing access to Delicious, Digg, reddit, Facebook and StumbleUpon, is copied from the BBC News site. It also provides a quick share link via email.
More information on social bookmarking, metadata and folksonomies