All posts by Amanda McConnell

Week Six: Tagging and Social Bookmarking

Welcome to Week 6 – Tagging and Social Bookmarking. This week’s thing is presented by Rebecca Brown, liaison for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine at KU Med Center, and Amanda McConnell, Circulation Coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library. We hope you enjoy our thing! Please ask questions and we’ll do our best to help you along the way.

Click here for the 23 Things Kansas Guide to Delicious (PDF will open). This guide will give you all the instructions you need to complete the activities of the week.

Introduction – This week we are going to concentrate on social bookmarking, tagging and a popular social bookmarking site called Delicious.  Bookmarking on your computer or adding sites to a list of “favorites” to access again later, is not new.  Social bookmarking, stores your bookmarks online, allowing you to have access to your bookmarks from any computer with Internet access.

Tagging is an informal method of organization. A tag is a keyword, and tagging is the process of assigning a keyword to online content such as web pages, images, and blogs, etc. Unlike library cataloging, which follows a strict set of guidelines (ex. Library of Congress Subject Headings), tagging is non-hierarchical, unstructured and free form. It allows users to create connections between resources anyway they want.  You can quickly search your bookmarks using keywords that you assign.

View a 3 minute and 22 second video created by Common Craft, that gives a visual, easy to understand (and funny) explanation of social bookmarking.


Sharing and Discovery– In addition to the timesaving and convenience of an online bookmark manager, social bookmarking really shines when it comes to sharing and discovery. I refer to social bookmarking as bookmarking for the greater good.  I share, you discover. You share, I discover.  It can become a powerful research tool as you find new resources, popular resources, and people who may be interested in similar topics.  Click here to see a list of schools and libraries that use Delicious.

When I first heard the term social bookmarking a number of years ago, the use of the word social made me a little nervous.  I wondered if I was going to have to talk to strangers or mingle.  No, there is none of that with social bookmarking, and you don’t have to be social if you don’t want to.  If you choose to do so, you can make the bookmarks that you save on Delicious, viewable by the world. So, when I save a bookmark with the tag low_literacy, Delicious will show me how many other Delicious users have bookmarked the same site with the tag low_literacy Here’s an example of being social in Delicious.

I discovered that being social could be a very valuable thing. In a sense, I do mingle with others, but in a solitary way. I refer to it as guided discovery. Instead of clicking on links willy nilly, I am clicking on links bookmarked by people who have the same interests as me (indicated by the tags they have used; low_literacy in this case). When you click on the number in the little blue box next to the site you bookmarked, a door is opened where you just might discover resources that you were unaware of. Watch a short video about sharing and discovery.

Collaboration—Many libraries use a social bookmarking tool as a central place to gather and organize information at the Reference Desk.  Here’s an example from my library.  Another library application would be my use of delicious as the library liaison to the department of Health Policy at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Click here to view the account and subject guide for that department.

Privacy—Sharing is great, but not always desired.  For your personal, non-work related bookmarks, Delicious gives you the option to make them private. Here’s an example of using the Privacy setting.

Another option is to have both a work and a personal account.  If you are signed into your personal account and you find a site that you feel would be good for the library account, you can use the Send option to send the site to the library account. Here’s an example of sending a bookmark. As long as you know the Delicious username, you can send a site to anyone (even if you don’t know them personally). Now, I realize that last sentence might send up some red flags, but I found this to be harmless. If you send someone a site, it will arrive in their Inbox, and the user has the option of saving it (with their own choice of tags) or deleting it.

Tools for your consideration

Delicious, formerly know as, has been on the scene since 2003.  However, it is not the only social bookmarking utility in use.  Browse these sites for other examples of social bookmarking at work:

Diigo—Diigo (dee-go) is similar to Delicious in many ways.  One of the special features of Diigo is it’s capability to easily highlight, annotate, and add sticky notes to sites that you bookmark.  Check out how Bob Martin, Technical Trainer with the University of Missouri puts Diigo to use. On the first page you see his list of resources and use of tags.  Click on “Annotated” to see one way you may highlight a particular aspect of a resource.  Then click on one of the other tabs – networks, groups, and profile to get a quick tour of Diigo and how it can be utilized.  This 6 minute video provides a good introduction to using Diigo.

Citeulike—This tool is a hybrid between social bookmarking and a bibliographic manager (like Zotero, EndNote, or Reference Manager).  Its primary use is to tag and organize scholarly papers.  Use the search box on Citeulike’s main page to find users who have bookmarked papers on a topic of interest to you.

Stumbleupon— On the lighter side of things, stumbleupon is a great find for discovering sometimes random resources.  Visit Stumbleupon, select a category that interests you, and then “Start Stumbling”.  Each time you click on the Stumble! Button in the top left corner, you’ll “see” a new website someone has shared.

BlinkList— Blinklist describes itself as “like itunes for web pages.”  Visit the Blinklist website to see another utility that allows you to save and organize the web pages that you want to find again.

Tool Instructions

Click here for the 23 Things Kansas Guide to Delicious (PDF will open). This guide will give you all the instructions you need to complete the activities of the week.

Activity of the Week

  • If you don’t already have a Delicious account, consider opening one (optional)
  • After registering for an account, upload the bookmarks from your browser (optional)
  • Tag a site for yourself and send it to me too, using my username, rbrown3, in the Send area.  (see Send instructions in guide)
  • Make a bundle (see Tag Bundles in guide)
  • If you don’t want to open a delicious account, search for resources in delicious using keywords of your choosing.  See if you can discover some new or interesting resources.
  • Post a comment on your blog about your Delicious experience. Share your Delicious username if you would like.  Share how you see it fitting into your work and personal life.

Week 14: Library Thing, Etc.

I can’t believe it’s been 14 weeks, everyone deserves congratulations!  Amanda McConnell, Circulation Coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library, and Erin Downey Howerton, School Liaison with the Johnson County Library, will be your guides for this week.

Introduction- Over time we’ve seen bookstore websites and library catalogs increasingly grow in function and add new options for browsing and interactivity.  This week we’re looking at some 2.0 tools aimed at book lovers.  Whether you think of it as social networking for readers, social cataloging, or personal library tools, sites such as Library Thing, Shelfari, Goodreads, and others are allowing readers to connect in new ways.  We’ll tour some sites used to organize a collection, track personal reading histories, and discover a wealth of information about books and readers.   Did you know?

  • LibraryThing has well over 500 reviews of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone including reviews in 10+ languages and shows the many different covers that were released.
  • There’s a community of people waiting to help you remember the name of that YA ghost story set in Wisconsin with an El Camino…
  • LibraryThing’s Zeitgeist shows David Sedaris among the top 75 authors just edging out Virginia Woolf and coming in right behind William Gibson based on holdings in member libraries.
  • 7, 315 members belong to a group called Librarians who LibraryThing.

Sharing/Productivity/Community- I’m sure many of us might appreciate the efficiency gained by having a catalog of the books we own.   An easily accessible log of what we’ve read and our impressions of it could also be a handy personal or professional tool.   As a reader, these tools could be another way to find that next book, find readers with similar interests, and share & discuss your reading.  The large community of users allows you access to people and comparative information in a way that was not possible before.

Tools for Your Consideration-



  • Launched in 2006 and bought by Amazon in 2008
  • Quick Highlights Tour
  • There is a shelfari app on facebook, but several users are having difficulty with it.
  • How to Add Shelfari to your blogger blog  (Usually works like a charm, but in case you’re not getting the shelf, only a link, try copying and pasting the widget code instead of clicking on “blogger” as suggested here.)


For more details, check out this Comparison Chart for LibraryThing, Shelfari, and Goodreads compiled by Jody Wurl @ Hennepin County Library.  Or check out some of the many other tools out there:

  • Google Books My Library Added in 2007 according to google books history
  • Anobii Originating from Hong Kong in 2005 the name is short for bookworm
  • Book Jetty Tour this site founded by Herryanto Siatono in Singapore
  • We Read Not very old, this application is usable on many social networking sites
  • Along with literally hundreds of other online resources for book lovers…  I’m sure others here have many other favorites.

Activity & Instructions-

A)     Create an account on Shelfari.  Add to your profile and bookshelf as much as you wish.  Explore the site and write about your experience on your blog.  Easy Get Started Guide.

Or     B)      Choose your own project.  Explore any of the sites above further.  If you already have an account, add to it, or try something new.  Write about your experience on your blog.

Have fun!  Share your two cents and vote for your favorite tool.