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Five Social Reasons to Use Social Bookmarking

After you’ve made the switch from browser-based bookmarking to social bookmarking, here are some ways to maximize the social potential of your bookmarks.

1.       Find like-minded individuals.

When you bookmark something socially, you can see how many others have bookmarked the same resource. Clicking through to other users’ bookmark lists (and exploring the tags they use) can reveal useful sites you might have missed in your web searches.

2.       Join a group.

Some social networking services (Furl and Faves are two examples) allow users to organize themselves into interest groups. Group members contribute bookmarks to a common pool and communicate with each other in discussion forums. For example, here is a group for Furl users interested in Libraries.

Connotea is a social bookmarking tool for clinicians and research groups. It integrates nicely with PubMed, pulling in bibliographic information as well as links to citations. Think about how Connotea or a similar tool could be used to enhance an in-person journal club, or to facilitate an online journal club. Here is a review of Connotea by medical librarian Melissa Rethlefsen.

3.       Share links without becoming a nuisance.

Do you have a friend or colleague who loves to e-mail you every time she sees a link you might find interesting? Maybe that friend is YOU? Social bookmarking allows you to benefit from your friend’s generosity (or to share as many links as you please) without creating more e-mail for anyone to manage. For example, when I want to share a link with fellow delicious user Maryanne Blake, I add the tag:


Maryanne will see the link and any comments I’ve written about it the next time she signs in to delicious.

Another way to share links is by using mutually agreed upon tags. For example, if there is a Web 2.0 resource you would like to recommend to Medical Library Association members, bookmark it in delicious and add the tag: mlaweb2.0  To see what other MLA members are tagging, go to:

4.       Share links on your organization’s web page or blog.

Delicious provides Linkrolls and Tagrolls as options for sharing recently bookmarked links on your own web page or blog. A number of libraries have experimented with Linkrolls and Tagrolls as ways to keep their pages updated with new, fresh content. For example, see CSU-Pueblo Library or Holdredge Area Public Library.

Maybe you would like to provide research guides or pathfinders but are discouraged from getting started because of the time and effort it would take to maintain extra web pages. Social bookmarking tools allow you to assemble research guides in practically no time at all. Look at the delicious links from North Metro Technical College Librarian. On the right side of the screen, you will see tag bundles for each of the college’s academic programs. This delicious page is linked from the library’s main web page under the heading “Resources related to YOUR program of study.”

5.       See what’s being bookmarked at the RML.

Check out Alison’s bookmarks, Nikki’s bookmarks, Gail’s bookmarks, Maryanne’s bookmarks, and Patricia’s bookmarks. We’d love to know what you’re bookmarking, too! If you are a delicious user, add us to your network.

We also make it easy for you to bookmark NN/LM resources. Have you noticed this graphic in the upper right corner of NN/LM pages?

Click on it to share the page in delicious or on any of 33 other social sites.

For More Information:

Tags Help Make Libraries

7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking

A Little More Help From My Friends: Social Bookmarking

5 Responses to “Five Social Reasons to Use Social Bookmarking”

  1. Christi Wheelock Says:

    I recently signed up for FURL only to discover, when I decided to explore, that someone has designated all their favorite porn sites as Public and General under topics. Do Social Bookmarking sites have rules or courtesies that people should follow concerning bookmarks? Can you suggest some ways or social sites where I can avoid the stuff I know I don’t want to sift through? I am new to this. Thanks.

  2. Alison Aldrich Says:

    I’m sorry that happened to you, Christi! Unfortunately, sites that are really useful and popular are also prime targets for spammers. The developers of social bookmarking sites need to be vigilant about inappropriate content because it’s very easy for legitimate users to take their bookmarks elsewhere! You can report abuses to Furl here or to Delicious here.

    To avoid sifting in general, though, I’d recommend searching rather than browsing, or starting from your own list of bookmarks. Assign some specific tags, then see which other users chose those same tags. It’s not a guarantee that you won’t stumble across something you’d rather not see, but the vast majority of social bookmarkers do use the service appropriately.

  3. Hope Leman Says:

    Very interesting discussion. It is also important to leverage social bookmarking services when you are setting up Web sites. I made sure when setting up ScanGrants that our designer prominently featured buttons for delicious, Connotea and CiteULike. If you want try to ensure the widest possible dissemination of your content, facilitating the bookmarking of that content is a good move. People do share their bookmarks and I know from Google Analytics that some of the visitors to ScanGrants have come via the bookmarks of visitors who have used ScanGrants and added some of its listings to their bookmarks. Visitors bookmark items of interest and share that info with others, who then visit your site. Gotta keep the traffic coming! Leverage those tools.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    A decent amount of users is necessary. Otherwise the whole social aspect looses relevance.

    The service has to have quite extensive documentation, FAQ and/or help pages, to guide users.

    More advanced users will want good import and export possibilities. Import is necessary for bringing old bookmarks from your browser or from another online bookmarking service, export is important for backup copies and to ensure that your bookmarks can go with you to another service if you decide to switch.
    A good bookmarking service should have feeds (RSS and/or Atom) of tags or groups of tags.

    I would want my bookmarking service to have a blog so I can be kept up to date about new features, bugs, bug fixes and more.
    Social Bookmarking

  5. Bookmarking Demon Says:

    It’s not a guarantee that you won’t stumble across something you’d rather not see, but the vast majority of social bookmarkers do use the service appropriately.