I have been wanting to write more about social bookmarking for a long time, but I had two job interviews last week and an all-day marathon interview to prepare for next week. So I decided I’d just link to other articles/presentations that I thought were interesting and hope to have more time for a mega commentary-type post in the near future.
Sherri Vokey at UNLV has published her talk about folksonomies in powerpoint format and as a Flash movie (using Captivate). I got a lot out of her Captivate movie and would highly recommend it if you have the patience to download the 17 mb file. Sherri discusses the negative impact of artificially created taxonomies, the pros and cons of folksonomies (using the examples of del.icio.us, flikr, and citeulike), and how folksonomies can be employed in libraries. It serves as an excellent introduction to the subject.
Sherri’s talk was inspired by Clay Shirkey’s lecture, Ontology is Overrated, which can be downloaded at IT Conversations. It’s definitely worth listening to.
And I know I should have linked to this a million years ago, but a month later it is still very much worth mentioning. Library Clips wrote a meta-post on social bookmarking back in April that blew my mind with its comprehensiveness. In this long post (more article than post), he explains social bookmarking (its pros, cons, applications, structure, etc.) and includes links to dozens of other relevant articles, papers, and blog posts. It’s a fascinating overview that I learned a great deal from, and I especially liked the fact that it was an honest look at social bookmarking’s implications and limitations. Most of the things I read on the subject are either uncritically for or against folksonomies.
If you are interested in learning about folksonomies, social software, tagging, etc., then definitely subscribe to the RSS feed for Library Clips. This is definitely one of the best blogs out there in my opinion and always offers really interesting food for thought.
Something I’ve been thinking about that is problematic with social bookmarking is the fact that people often tag things so that they can find it themselves, but not so that others can find it. So if I tag an article in del.icio.us that I want to read later “to_read”, it’s pretty useless for anyone other than me. What does this mean for the collective knowledgebase? Isn’t it polluted by this kind of tagging and how can it be avoided? So I was very interested in reading this post at Ken Norton’s blog, which discussed the problem. You should definitely also check out James Archer’s blog post (on the same subject) that inspired Ken’s post.
Another thing that people have been using social bookmarking for that may or may not be good for the “collective knowledgebase” is tagging one’s own posts. Steven Cohen railed against this practice a few weeks ago, arguing that he felt like it was all about self-promotion. But many people countered that it is a valid way of categorizing posts so that they can be found by others. I personally like looking at certain technorati tags to find articles that I’d otherwise have missed. The easier you make it to find your work, the better it is for people who would be interested in it. Others have used self-tagging as an inventive way to create categories in their blogs (for those whose software doesn’t automatically provide it). David Bigwood at catalogablog has created his own categories for his blog by tagging them in del.icio.us and linking to the del.icio.us categories on the side of his blog. Considering that each page in del.icio.us has its own RSS feed, this is an easy way for people who aren’t too RSS savvy to create category feeds for their blog. There are plenty of blogs I read where I don’t really care about everything the person discusses, so I’d love to only get posts in certain categories.
Ok, I guess this was more than a “link dump”, but there are still so many more ideas swirling around in my head about social bookmarking (like how it can be used in libraries!) and more links that I haven’t mentioned. I’ll save it for another time when I have bloggers block or more free time. 🙂
You should also take a look at Clay Shirkey’s “7 things you should know about social bookmarking”: http://www.educause.edu/LibraryDetailPage/666?ID=ELI7001
Cool! Thanks for the tip, Paul!