Thursday, February 03, 2005

Social Bookmarking in Education

Social bookmarking is just one of the "newest things" sweeping the Internet. In essence, social bookmarking lets you maintain a personal collection of links online, similar to the bookmarks or favorites in your browser, but they are also accessible to others on your own personal archive page. The real meat of the services, however, is "tagging". When you save a link to your collection, you tag it with one or more keywords to describe it. Multiple people can use the same words, so you can search for everything tagged with "distance education" or "RSS" and get the collected archive of everything that anyone using the service has found using that tag.

Two of the biggest multipurpose social bookmarking services are FURL and Both have free registration, and easy pop-up saving forms. has a nice feature of suggesting tags, while FURL actually saves a (private) copy of the page, so you can see it even if the page disappears or changes.

There are also social bookmarking services aimed at specific people or formats. Flickr is a photo service with some neat annotation features. Connotea and CiteULike are aimed at academics and researchers and interface with certain databases and journals.

How can these be used for educational purposes? I first started using FURL when I was finishing my last few classes for my Master's of Education. I set up FURL categories for each class (EDTC575 and EDTC590) and saved my research findings as I worked. The best part was that since FURL (and all the others) is completely web based, it didn't matter if I was home, in my office, or on the Reference Desk, if I found something useful I could FURL it for later use.

A professor could save readings for a class this way, too. Since each tag has it's own URL, like my classes above, the URL could be posted in the syllabus. Many of these services also have RSS feeds, so students who use a news aggregator can see new postings automatically.

Groups can use these services for collective projects. Either a group account can be established, with the password passed around to the group or, in what is probably a safer and more useful version, a group can establish a unique tag and tag all group-related links with it. Joy Weese Moll set up for her Digital Libraries class. (Thanks to the Shifted Librarian for this link!) This could get very interesting, since other people, outside of the class, could potentially add things as well just by using the tag. You could get people from all over the country contributing to your class reading list!

That's the "social" part of social bookmarking. Sure, you are likely to get some things that aren't useful or relevant for your purposes, but in return you get resources that you never would have found on your own.

More Resources:
Update (2/5/05): Here's another example of a course using tags: "Toward a Literacy of Cooperation":
This one is taught by Howard Reingold (Smart Mobs) and his colleagues at Stanford. Howard Reingold is one of the speakers at the Online Social Networking Conference 2005. (Thanks to Mike at Feedster for the link!)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

May be this is interesting for you:

4:20 AM, March 31, 2005  
Blogger moderator said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:35 AM, December 07, 2007  
Blogger Arcturus said...

I would also suggest

edutagger is a social bookmarking service for learners and educators, allowing you to store your web links online, organise them via tags and share them with others, all within an educational context.

12:59 AM, December 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I just joined both Connotea and CiteULike. I hadn't come across either of them before.

4:33 PM, November 08, 2008  

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