Academic & Student Affairs

Social Bookmarking

Web browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox) allow you to bookmark and add to a list of favourite websites so you can find them again easily. However, these bookmarks are only available on the computer where you created them. If you do not have access to that computer, your bookmarks are not available to you.

A new way to bookmark is to use a social bookmarking website and not your browser. One of the most widely used is called Delicious. Social bookmarking sites allow people to access their bookmarks from anywhere, regardless of where they work or study. Organisation of bookmarks is achieved by the use of tags which are descriptive words you add when you bookmark a website. These are used to categorise the bookmarks and help find them later.

Delicious bookmarks are usually public. This means your colleagues can see your bookmarks and use your tags just like you. That's why this is called social bookmarking as your bookmarks can benefit other people. There are also options to save bookmarks privately or share only with specified people or groups.

Advantages of Social Bookmarking

  • It is easier to organise large numbers of bookmarks.
  • Bookmarks are stored online, not specific to one computer and can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Social bookmarking allows you to share bookmarks with contacts and colleagues.
  • Bookmarks can be viewed by category or tags, chronologically or through searching.

Disadvantages of Social Bookmarking

  • There are no standards for tagging, so other people’s bookmarks may be tagged differently from the way you might choose to categorise them.
  • Sets of social bookmarks must be maintained and updated to remain current and useful.
  • You must be careful to choose what you make private and public.

Uses of Social Bookmarking for teaching and learning

Social bookmarking allows you to follow what other people, with similar interests, are bookmarking and provides a more focused way of searching and selecting information based on your preferences.

It is beneficial to both staff and students and simplifies the sharing of resources. Possible uses include:

  • The opportunity for students to collaboratively build a set of relevant bookmarks for a module or piece of group work.
  • Tutors can actively build online bibliographies, references and papers as a course progresses.
  • Collaborative development of staff resources across a teaching topic.
  • Supervisors can view supervisees bookmarks as their research projects progress
  • Can help to foster informal and independent learning in students.

Alternative Tools

Other bookmarking websites (e.g. Connotea, CiteULike) have been developed for more academic users as they incorporate the facility to manage citations. For this reason they are often referred to as social reference managers. To assist in the management of bibliographic references, Queen’s staff and students can use RefWorks which allows the creation of a personal database of references.

Case Studies

Relevant Articles

CED's Delicious Tags