Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week 5: Tagging and Social Bookmarking

Believe it or not, we are half way through this Web 2.0 training course.

When people try to explain what Web 2.0 is about, they often use the description "social" and we've seen little bits of this in the course so far. However, today we're really going to focus on a tool for being social (and organized) on the web, called Delicious.

Delicious (or as it is sometimes written, del.icio.us) is at its core, a bookmarking tool. It allows you to bookmark web pages, articles, blogs, etc. that you find interesting, fun, or useful, the same as you can using your Favorites in Internet Explorer or Bookmarks in Firefox. However, just like our Bloglines accounts gather everything in one spot, so to does del.icio.us, so you can access your account and bookmarks from any computer.

But this is only the tip of the del.icio.us iceberg. What makes it social is the tagging function, which allows you to classify your bookmarks using keywords, and then share these tags and bookmarks with other del.icio.us users. For example, if you find a great article on increasing public library use by teens through subliminal advertising, you would bookmark it using del.icio.us, and give it a few explanatory tags (teens, library, subliminal, advertising). Then other people using del.icio.us who do a search for any of your tags would find your linked article, as well as other related tags.

The social aspect continues as del.icio.us not only shows the related tags, but also how many other del.icio.us users bookmarked the same article. The higher the number, the more likely the article is a good one (or at least widely read). Try to think of del.icio.us as a peer-reviewed search engine: it won't be as vast as Google, but the bookmarks are screened and recommended by real users.

Please do the following:

1. Go to del.icio.us, click on the Join Now link, and create an account, which requires creating a Yahoo! account as well.

2. The next screen will ask to Add Bookmarking Buttons, but the TPL computers won't permit the software to run. Instead, choose "Skip this step" on the next two screens until you get to the Registration Complete! message. Now, to manually install the buttons go to this link and scroll down to the section called Internet Explorer (Manual)or Firefox depending on your browser of choice. Follow the steps there, and you're done. Note: For Steps 2 and 3, right click with your mouse directly on the blue text in Steps 2 and 3.

3. To see your new del.icio.us favorites, do a right click in the Links button on the far right of your Interne Explorer browser window past the address bar and Go button. Uncheck "Lock the Toolbars" and then click and drag the Links button to just below the address bar. You should now see a number of links for Footprints Work Orders, TPL Homepage, and My Delicious and Bookmark on Delicious.

4. Go and find a web page on any subject you like from any website (perhaps something already in your Internet Explorer Favorites menu). Click on the "Bookmark on Delicious" button in your Links menu.

5. You'll be taken to a new del.icio.us window which shows the URL and title of the page you were on, as well as notes and tags fields. Add a few terms to describe the page in the tags field and click save. You'll then be taken back to the page you were on.

6. Click on the "My Delicious" button in your Links menu, and you'll be taken to your account page where the page you just tagged will be listed, showing how many other people saved the same source. Click on any of the tag key words and a page will open showing all the bookmarks you saved using that tag (only one at this point). If you click on "view all" just above your bookmark, you'll see all the bookmarks in del.icio.us using the same tag.

7. Add two or more web pages to your account by repeating steps 4-6.

8. Explore other tags and do some searches within del.icio.us for topics that interest you. Create a new post to your blog about your experience using this tool, and send a message to 23things@torontopubliclibrary.ca when you are finished.

Although it can be a bit daunting to get set up, once you play around with del.icio.us I think you'll find it has real value.

See you next week.

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