W3 — Tagging

Tagging and Social Bookmarking (Building Your Own Catalog)

Tagging is the key to controlling and organizing your online experience — be it a learning experience or an entertainment experience — and sharing it with others. It uses terms you choose, your vocabulary, as opposed to library cataloging terminology, to meaningfully apply descriptive terms to a website, photograph, video, document or music. Tags can be anything, even non-linguistic symbols. As you select tags and apply them, you are building your very own classification system from the ground up. It is fun and very creative!

Listen to the short podcast below for an introduction to tagging and social bookmarking:


tagged salmonTagging incorporates two concepts. The first is folksonomy, which is derived from folk and taxonomy. Folksonomy means that tags are based on the “wisdom of the people,” making it a very democratic process. For instance, if 100 people visit a website, and each describes it with his own tag, those people are actually casting a vote for the way that website should–in their view–be described. The most popular tags will rise to the top of the poll. Users of a social bookmarking site will be shown those tags when they save that URL, and they may want to use that tag to add relevance for others with whom the site may be shared. But the user still has the option of using whatever other personal tag he or she chooses to further describe that bookmark.

One of the primary uses of tags is to search for information — like using keywords in search engines or the library catalog. Most of the web 2.0 tools we will explore use tags as the way they index their database.

Social Bookmarking means that instead of saving a link in “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” on a single computer, you save your link to a social bookmarking site on the web, such as del.icio.us. The most obvious benefit is that you can now access these links from anywhere because they are stored on the internet instead of on your home computer. And, you can direct other users to the site by means of your tags. We will use del.icio.us in this course, and the skills we gain in tagging and grouping can later be applied to other technologies such as Flickr (which stores digital images) or Technorati (which searches blogs).

tag cloud

del.icio.us, Flickr and Technorati all feature something known as a “tag cloud,” and this is a perfect illustration of how folksonomy and social bookmarking work. Theoretically, all tags are displayed. The most popular tags are displayed in larger, darker or brighter type. Users can see immediately which tags have emerged to the top of the heap.


We are going to use del.icio.us in this course. To find out more about it, check out this short video tutorial from commoncraft, then go to About del.ic.ious at their website.


del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site. This means that when you open an account and subsequently add a url, your site becomes a part of the complete database of sites in del.icio.us and may be accessed by other users. You can search del.icio.us and add sites found by other users to your own del.icio.us account. When you do that, you can add your own tags for these sites and/or use the tags already attached to it. Whichever you do, you are adding to the “tag cloud.”

There are a number of social bookmarking sites (see below). We are using del.icio.us because it is fast and simple, allows the reuse of tags, and has probably the richest folksonomy on the net. Additionally, its search engine looks at all fields in the record: the url, the description, the notes and the tags.

Even if you are not a registered del.icio.us user, you can still search its database. And, what is really convenient, you can search it without logging in to the site. For example, you can view the Port Orchard Reference site or its Reading Group list without logging in to del.icio.us.

Go to the Port Orchard Reference site and scroll down the right hand side to KRL Quick Connects and see where those links take you. Click on the tags and then click on the site you want to see when it appears to the left. Also, check out the KRL del.icio.us account.

Setting Up and Using del.icio.us

The important things you’ll want to learn about del.icio.us are:

  • Setting up an account
  • Bundling tags
  • Setting up a network
  • Sharing sites
  • Subscriptions

Follow this link to a post titled “del.icio.us” for more information about setting up and using your del.icio.us account.

Additional Resources:

To find out about the other features of del.icio.us–and for general help–go to the bottom of any page on the site, and click on Support.

Other social bookmarking sites:

(Mashable has a list of 50+ Social Bookmarking sites)

Activities for Week 3: Tagging

  1. If you have not done so already, sign up for an account on del.icio.us. You can do that by going to http://del.icio.us/ and selecting registration. Once you have your account, copy the URL (web address) and paste it into the Tracking Log (click on the “Tagging” tab at the bottom of the sheet).
  2. If you are working on your own computer, install the del.icio.us buttons.
  3. Post at least five websites (including the Blog you made in Week 2) to your account either by using the “Post to del.ic.ious” button you have installed on your toolbar or by copying the URL and pasting it onto the Post page. As you post sites into your account, notice who else has posted them and the tags they use. Remember you can use their tags or create your own. You can also explore their sites to see what else you have in common.
  4. Write a blog post about your impressions of social bookmarking and how we might use it at KRL. What sites did you tag? What did you find interesting about them? Post the URL of your blog post into the Tracking Log along with the date.

Extras for Week 3: Tagging

  1. Check out the krl2pt0 del.icio.us site. Add krl2pt0 to your network.
  2. Select 2 sites or blogs you have found that are library or web2.0-related, and add them to the krl site by using the tag for:krl2pt0. (For more information, see the network help page).
  3. Document these in the Tracking Log.

22 Responses

  1. Shirlee, your podcast on tagging is very thought-provoking, especially since you are so very knowledgeable in traditional library indexing.

  2. i said it once, i’ll say it again: i love del.icio.us! thanks for all of your hard work shirlee.

  3. It seems there is getting to be a lot of confusion using the tracking log. It shows in the file’s disorder and I’ve heard actual people struggling with where to put what. In our department we have experience with shared files that easily become corrupted and sometimes need to be rebuilt. I hope someone is regularly backing up or something.

    One person could easily accidentally delete someone’s hardwon homework.

    Obviously some people have figured out how to make major alterations to the pages and there are a lot of people with a lot of skill levels all going in and out of the same file. It’s only the third week and it’s pretty messy in there.

  4. UD:

    You’re right, it is getting a bit messy.
    I keep an offline version that’s updated and backed up daily, and I’ll move stuff that folks have added to the first page later this week. I want to send out a message to everyone first, so no one thinks their info has been lost.

    I’ll also add some additional information to try and help clear up the confusion.

    Thanks for the observation

    Bob Christensen

  5. HELP!!!!
    I installed the buttons at home last night and decided to add them to my work computer this morning. Access denied by administration. How the heck do I add new sites to my del.icio.us account without the buttons????????????????????????????????

  6. Hey I.V. —

    Good question. Nancy M. is off today, but I’ve asked her to give an IT response re: adding the buttons to KRL computers.

    We’re putting together some info on using “bookmarklets” in del.ic.ous as something of a work around, and will try to get that posted to everyone soon.

    Bob C.

  7. I used this link to help a couple of people at SW install buttons on their computers. We were not blocked by Admin. This site has a great tutorial — to start the tutorial click on the GREEN play button just under the screen shot. When you finish with the tutorial you should see your buttons on the “links” toolbar. Remember you must register first before installing your buttons.


  8. Thanks Jeannie:

    If the tutorial noted above doesn’t give you quite enough info on how to do this, hang in there. We’ll have a post up by tomorrow with step-by-step instructions. Look in the Tag Cloud for “bookmarklets.”

    Bob C.

  9. Thanks for the info. I’ll give it a try. Just to be clear to others reading these comments…….part way through the process of trying to add the buttons a window keeps popping up which says something along the lines of ‘Access denied by administration’ or ‘Contact your administrator’. Well, you get the idea. It kept getting stuck.

  10. Hey I.V. —
    We talked with the IT experts — the difference between the del.ic.ious buttons and the “bookmarklets” we are talking about is that the “Buttons” actually install new stuff on the computer, the “Bookmarlets” add things to the browser, but don’t download anything to our servers, which is an important distinction in the IT world.

    The post on “Bookmarklets” will be up tomorrow morning.

    Thanks for keeping everyone informed.

    Bob C.

  11. Some of the blogroll links seem to go directly to an old post instead of to the blog, humor memorandum and accumulate man for sure, others possibly. Could whoever (Bob?) is editing that try to fix it so that it will open to a current rather than an archived page? Thanks.

  12. U.D.–

    I went through the blogroll and made sure all the links are set to the root domain of the blog — in English — the link should go the the home page. Usually, this should show the most recent post on top, with earlier ones below it, although I think several people have created a home page that will always show up first.
    Everything should be copacetic now, but let me know if you find another one.


  13. We haven’t added all the plugins for krl2pt0 for security reasons.

    There are lots of wonderful things on the web that we are learning about and I’m sure by the end of krl2pt0 we will have a list of plugins that we want added to our staff workstations. My job will be to make sure they are safe in our network environment and then that they get installed consistantly throughout the system. We locked down the staff workstations before we launched this program on purpose. We are also going to install fresh AnitiVirus software with all new plugins of it’s own before we install the browser plugins.

    This job is right down my alley because I get paid to be parinoid. You know what they say “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you…N

  14. Whew! Made it… I am trying to figure out why this was more difficult. Maybe it was all the interruptions, or trying to get through in 30 minutes. Speed reading the instructions – not a good idea.
    But when all was said and done – very cool!
    Onward and upward!

  15. I tried to use the link for the “video tutorial from commoncraft” (just underneath the “tag cloud” example) and instead got a cute animation about how to survive a zombie attack. Maybe this link needs to be updated?? 🙂

  16. Hi Betsy:

    Thanks for the heads-up. The link is now fixed, although given the season, maybe we should have left the zombie link there as well.

    If anyone wants to be zombie-proof, they can still check out the video at http://www.commoncraft.com/zombies.

    Bob C.

  17. Working on the Extras here…. so I added krl2pt0 to my network, and I bookmarked a couple of pages (one was a great blogging idea, and another was a grant writing resource page) and tagged them both as to:krl2pt0….Done, right?…..but I don’t see either of them show up on the krl2pt0 del.ici.ous page. When I click the “links for you” link, it throws me back to my own page. So how can I tell if I did it right? Why aren’t my recommended links showing up on the krl2pt0 del.ici.ous list?

  18. Hi wildsoles:

    You did everything just right, and yes, wild one, you are done. Your comment captured things perfectly — we can look to see if we show up in someone else’s network, but the one thing del.ic.ious doesn’t let any of us see, is what links have been sent to someone else’s site (the “links for you” thing). As you note — it just take you back to your own page.

    But your tags did show up, and you are in the network — your extras are done!

    Bob C.

  19. Like wildsoles I was possesed about completing the extras, too. I sure hope that I did it right. I also made a new post to my blog today, but for some reason, it’s not showing up if I use the blog link down the left-hand side of the krl2pt0 page, but I can find it if I go into the edit posts…? Should I chalk it up to gremlins in the network, after all it is Halloween? I hope I can find it tomorrow…

  20. Hi Mary:
    you can safely return to your pre-possessed self. you did the tagging thing just fine. i checked your del.ic.ious site — krl2pt0 is in your network and your tags showed up on the krl site.
    also, i went to your blog from the blogroll (on the left side). your new post was there — great anecdote BTW–no tricky gremlins this halloween. sit back and enjoy a delicious treat.
    (sorry – couldn’t resist).


  21. So, I just finished week 3 on del.icio.us and tagging. To make sure I’m summing up the purpose behind del.icio.us…now that I have my account set up I can post favorite bookmarks there which can be accessed when I’m away from my own computer… and del.icio.us allows others to give me other website suggestions, say if I’m interested in researching one thing or another or to share info and ideas…right?

  22. Dear chickenmom:

    I couldn’t have said it better — it allows you to share sites and add people to your network. It also provides some nice tools to organize your bookmarks in ways that make the most sense to you.

    One other feature that you might want to check out is “subscribing” to a tag or two. Pick a tag that represents in area you are interested in and subscribe to it. Each day you’ll have a list of new websites sent to you that others have tagged with that same term. Some you’ll ignore, but you’ll find some keepers in there too. The best part is that once you subscribe, you don’t have to do anything else — del.ic.ious does all the work!

    Just go the the “subscriptions” link on the menu at the top of the del.ic.ious page. The help feature will give more details on the step-by-step if you want more info.

    bob c.

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