Software

Del.icio.us

I’ve been playing around with Joshua Schachter’s Del.icio.us “social bookmarks manager.” It’s a browser-based bookmark service. It’s social because your bookmarks are stored on a central server, where not only you, but others can see them, and even copy individual bookmarks, with a single click, to their own collection of bookmarks. In addition, bookmarks are tracked so that you can see how many others have marked a particular page, and who they are. You can even subscribe to another person’s list of Del.icio.us bookmarks.

Once you register for a free account, you can drag customized bookmarklets to your web browser’s toolbar. Whenever you find a useful site you use the bookmarklet to add it to your collection of bookmarks on the Del.icio.us server. The URL is copied automatically to a simple fill-in-the-blank form that allows you to add a short description, and a single-world category or “tag” so that you can keep your bookmarks neatly organized. You have your own “page” on the server, with a static URL (in other words, a permanent address) and there’s even an automatically generated RSS feed for each person’s bookmarks page.

Why, you ask, would you want to share your bookmarks?

  • Your bookmarks are available from any computer, any browser.
  • You can benefit from what I think of as open source data verification—you can see how popular a particular site is, and who likes it—often a good indication about the quality of content.

In part because of the Del.icio.us API, there are already a number of interesting add-ons from other developers. Brad Choate offers some helpful Del.icio.us tips for users, rather than developers. I quite like Buzz Andersen’s Cocoal.icio.us, a Mac OS X client for using Del.icio.us. Another user has posted an AppleScript for posting to Del.icio.us from Ranchero Software’s NetNewsWire. Del.icio.us is pre-alpha right now, so while I encourage you to play with Del.icio.us, make sure you backup your bookmarks. Wolf Rentzsch has some suggestions about here. Christina Zeeh has written delicious2safari, a Mac OS X client for importing Del.icio.us bookmarks into Safari. There’s even a Java version of Del.icio.us in development.

I’m especially intrigued, as my XBEL post makes clear, with the instructional possibilities of bookmarks. I often teach students and faculty to make annotated lists of bookmarks, creating a URL bibliography. Faculty often have lists of web pages they want students to use, but don’t know how to present or “publish” them. I see something like Del.icio.us offering a lot of potential for “knowledge sharing,” to use the current jargon. If you want, you can see my Del.icio.us bookmarks here, or subscribe to my Del.icio.us bookmarks RSS feed


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