Posts Tagged ‘social bookmarking’

A Delicious Contemplation

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Having recently created the 1000th bookmark on my Delicious site, it’s as good a time as any to pause and reflect on social bookmarking.

I think Delicious itself is one of the most smartly realised websites out there. Its pared-down 2008 redesign – with its two-colour, modular interface – perfectly suits my design sensibilities. Not only is this one of my most important social media resources, but is one that has significantly changed the way I think about collecting Web-based content. I can confidently and routinely save and forget about the resources I tag, yet easily find them again when required (evidence that tools can and do shape practice). Any ‘intra-personal’ tagging inconsistencies are quickly resolved by occasional housekeeping.

Folksonomies would seem to represent a radical democratisation in the ordering, managing and sharing of digital content. Yet part of my role as a critical researcher is to challenge the rhetoric that routinely surrounds Web 2.0 technologies, and in considering social bookmarking, two issues in particular spring to mind:

Just how social is social bookmarking?

I’m fully aware of the social and collaborative affordances of social bookmarking sites like Delicious, yet I consider my own resource as predominantly a personal rather than social bookmarking site. Clearly there are specific strategies and methods that can be adopted to utilise participatory features such as networks and subscriptions, yet I’ve never been motivated to apply them regularly. Is this use of Delicious typical, or am I oblivious to widespread social and collaborative practices across bookmarking sites?


I also wonder how distinctive folksonomies represented by the collective tagging of a platform like Delicious actually are. When I’ve occasionally used Delicious as a social search engine, results have been interesting, yet I’ve not been inspired to adopt this activity regularly. If the majority of users are saving Web resources based on Google searches and social networking interactions, does social bookmarking merely replicate existing and more dominant systems? I’d be interested in any thoughts on this.

Visualizing Social Bookmarks

Sunday, January 11th, 2009


This is just a small part of my Delicious site as interpreted by the CALIBRATE visualization programme developed by Joris Klerkx in the Department of Computer Science at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The tool identifies and presents tag and community (multiple-user) relational structures using cluster mapping, and integrates a list view and frequency filter. In a paper just published online in the Journal of Digital Information, Klerkx and Erik Duval describe the development of the programme and present results from ‘Think Aloud’ user testing and post-experimental questionnaires. You can download the software and view a demo video here.


Klerkx, J. & E. Duval, E. (2009). Visualising Social Bookmarks. Journal of Digital Information, 10(2).

Digg Labs

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

My favourite website at the moment is digg labs. Providing a ‘broader (and deeper) view’ of Digg activity, it presents 5 visualization formats of real-time activity. Design-wise, this is amongst the most effective info-viz sites I’ve come across, and offers a glimse of how we may browse our social bookmarking and networking sites in the future.