Research: Social Book marking


An emerging area of interest is the idea of social bookmarking. Simply, it is categorizing (i.e., tagging) and saving book marks in a publicly accessible area on the web. Some obvious implications of social bookmarking:

  • The links you create are accessible by you regardless of which computer you use (no more trying to keep browsers on the same or different machines in synch)
  • You can see the links others have collected, and should you have confidence in their choices of sites it offers a means to find interesting [peer-reviewed] content; it suggests a better–more refined–means to find content than the shot-gun approach of search engines
  • Others can see the links you have collected. This enables Social bookmarking services to build up a profile of personal preferences based on the bookmarks you amass. Depending on the privacy policy, some suggest such services could expose a larger security threat than spyware.

More important than the first-order implications is the broader trend towards the creation of personal trust networks. This is yet another form of social communities–grouping by interest–which in itself is not new, but the mechanism is: book marks to the sites that reflect some content of interest.

It has been suggested that social bookmarking is the next step in knowledge management or what it should have been but never could have been. Dave Pollard states:

Now along comes Social Networking and Social Software, also with its adherents from academia, consultancies, and IT. Beneath the torrent of hype and theory, it may reveal an important truth about KM, business, and how we learn: Social networks can provide the essential context needed to make knowledge sharing possible, valuable, efficient and effective

Four important unanswered questions:

  1. What role can Social Network Enablement and social software play in enhancing individual and organizational learning?
  2. How do you measure and reward contributions to a network (a) by full-time knowledge workers (people in the organization, like researchers and help desk staff whose sole value is contributing to the network) and (b) by network ‘players’ outside the organization?
  3. How do organizations equip and foster networks without unduly controlling their actions and membership and therefore crushing them?
  4. How do we capture summaries and abstracts of organizational conversations that occur in other than written form (voice-mail, teleconferences and meetings), so that the blog record of networks is complete?

So, social bookmarking is a means to collaborate.

Elsewhere, Pollard includes a chart distinguishing the role of collaboration in the complex vs. complicated world. In reviewing this chart, it became apparent that the complex world is managed through a culture that progressive organizations have been trying to achieve for the last many years through various performance improvement programmes.

But, may be more importantly, the Complex World is the domain of the knowledge worker, and that’s where I live, and so for me collaboration is essential and if there is something that can help that process then I’m interested in finding out more about it. Does that start with Social Bookmarking? Who knows, but let’s try.

Getting down to tangible issues, we need a service to host the book marks. The first question is what are some criteria for selecting a service? The Working Network offers some suggestions, including: out of the box experience; basic bookmark functionality, tagging, tag sharing, RSS Support and support in general.

As suggested in a review by roxomatic, there are a lot of criteria that could be used to compare services. I think I will start of with a simple set:

  • Bookmarks can be shared
  • Bookmarks can be tagged
  • There is RSS support
  • I can use this service to categorize my blog.

Next step: test out the services


Some social bookmarking services

  1. BlinkList
  2. Connotea: Social bookmarking for scientists.
  4. Furl
  6. Jots
  7. Linko
  8. Shadows
  9. StumbleUpon
  10. Web feeds: Users moderate and decide which items make it to the home page.
  11. Yahoo!‘s My Web
  12. Zurpy


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