The Indexed Web contains at least 2.3 billion pages. With that much real estate on the web, how can you be assured you will ever find—and get back to—the information most relevant to you?
The answer is social bookmarking. And it’s not quite the same as the favorite birthday card you used to hold your spot in the novels you read over the summer.
Pinterest: The New, Visual Standard
Pinterest came on strong in 2012 as the new standard for social bookmarking. It’s very visual, allowing users to create Pinboards for sharing links to pages through the images on them. For a more complete description of how to use this tool in a heritage context, view Terry Brock’s post about it on his “Dirt” blog.
Delicious: The Grandaddy of Social Bookmarking
One of the most widely used of these tools is one called “Delicious.” Delicious is a free service that allows the user a web-based way to bookmark sites. This means you can get, and add, to your web bookmarks from any computer, where ever you are. If that weren’t nifty enough, you can also add descriptions and keywords, or “tags” to make sure you will be able to find the right page when you most need it.
It’s called folksonomy, which means anyone can help identify the appropriate context for information on the web. This is one of the pillars of the social web and is also what makes Google work so well: It watches what keywords you search for and tracks what you ultimately choose as the result most relevant to you. With this potentially happening thousands of times over each day, Google can offer up the most appropriate search results in a fraction of a second. Unlike Google’s computerized algorithms, however, pages tagged on Delicious are typed in by humans. And the results, while sometimes quirky, can also be highly relevant to your search.
While you’re there, sign up for your own Delicious account. Not only can you save your own bookmarks, but you can save to accounts of other Delicious users by adding them to your network. In turn, others can share websites they think you might be interested in without clogging your e-mail inbox. Remember, as a social tool your bookmarks are visible to anyone unless you mark them private. This can be an advantage for anyone who uses the web for research in that you can explore Delicious based on a tag and potentially find much more relevant content than an ordinary search engine might provide.
There are many advantages of using a tool like Delicious and best practices for using it to organize your web search. For example,
Delicious acts on the very principles of socio-biology and ant-like behavior that are so dear to some innovative thinkers of our time. Individual “netminers” and information seekers explore openly and wildly the vast available online resources. Each one of them pointing and reporting whatever she finds to be most interesting and valuable. Thanks to individual netminers’ discoveries other individuals can rapidly discover the same resources, further annotate them and make them part of their own “preferred” view.
The greater the number of information seekers selecting a certain bit of information the greater the relevance and the darker the visual shading applied to the information.
K.A. Oostendorp, W.F. Punch, and R.W. Wiggins
Intelligent Systems Lab, Michigan State University, E. Lansing
Computer Center, Michigan State University, E. Lansing