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Tasty travel, edible ethics, and career advice with a cherry on top – it’s easy and simply Del.icio.us to get hooked on social bookmarking.  Bookmarking and tagging are such great ways to get and stay organized in our online world and with Del.icio.us you are sure to be coming back for seconds!

WordPress has a widget for sharing del.icio.us bookmarks and you can add the widget to your sidebar on your blog to share your saved bookmarks with everyone who visits your blog. The widget allows you to enter a title and you then add your del.icio.us login in a field and choose the number of links you would like to have displayed when a user goes from your blog to your del.icio.us account.  When a visitor opens up your bookmarks, your favorite tags that you list in the bottom field of your widget are available for your visitors to see and they can find all of your bookmarks and other tags with just a few clicks of the mouse.   You can see my widget sidebar at the top of the right column of my blog –  click on the link and you will be directed to my bookmarks and tags. I have chosen to highlight multiple tags to share which fit well with my current interests. 

For a complete guide to using the WordPress Del.icio.us widget watch the video below.  The support area in my blog contains great advice on all of the available widgets on WordPress and on several support topics they even have videos and categorize this section of their support area as WordPress TV.  The entire video catalogue is available online at WordPress TV

Some of my current favourite tags include travel, ethics, career advice and co-op.  Career advice and co-op are constant topics of interest because they are integral to my work.  Ethics is a new favourite topic as I research how we might integrate this topic into our curriculum. Travel is a favourite subject of mine both personally and professionally.  I provide advice on working abroad to students and have tagged several URLs where I regularly direct my students to research topics such as visas, country profiles and the culture of their preferred destinations abroad. 

I also have an international travel bug myself and because I just recently returned from a trip abroad to Italy, where I completed an archeological field school for three weeks in May, and I have used the travel tag to capture some of my favourite links that I used when planning my trip, such as Hotels.ca where you can book hotels around the globe but pay in Canadian currency, using your Canadian credit card.  I booked my hotels for my trip to Italy both from Canada and while in Italy and did not need to worry about exchange rates and hidden costs, the price I saw was the price I paid and my room was reserved and paid in advance. 

When I was planning my trip, I came across several locations that I did not have the fortune to make it to and by bookmarking I can come back and view these for future travel planning, in months or even years down the road.  For instance, I did not make it to Cinque Terre, and likely will not be heading there in the near future but it is one of my favourite Unesco World Heritage Sites, of which there are 890 sites in total, and I am sure that I will learn more about this destination and plan to travel there someday.  Bookmarking is great for travel sharing too.  There were so many great places I did make it to, such as Florence and Cortona, and not only would I love to return someday, I am also very happy to be able to recommend my tried and true destinations to potential travelers.  To nurture my travel dreams in the meantime, I receive an email newsletter from Travellerspoint and I have bookmarked their website to share with any of my likeminded friends who might join my bookmarking network because they too have caught the travel bug.

Sharing your bookmarks in this way makes the act of bookmarking fall within the realm of Web 2.0 technology, as it takes bookmarking to a social level where it can become a social activity.  You are no longer just saving favorites, like you did in the old Web 1.0 days, on your computer’s browser for only that computer’s users but you can now save, store, and share your favourites online adn access them from any computer with internet access.   You can also make your bookmarks public and can even create networks to share bookmarks. 

Another very popular social bookmarking site is Digg.  It is a news related site that offers community members an opportunity to share bookmarks and blogs.  All members of the community can rate stories with either a thumbs up thus, “digging” a story or with a thumbs down and thus, “bury” a story.  Highly “dugg” stories rise to the top and become part of the Popular Stories which are listed on the main page.

A final bookmarking site that I looked into seems to come up often in the bookmarking literature, it is StumbleUpon.  Although I only briefly took a look at it the concept seems appealing if you like to learn as you go and discover or “stumble upon” like pages that are similar to past topics you have visited.  You must download a plug-in browser that enables you to bookmark and rate your chosen websites. Relevant pages can be found by clicking on the “Stumble” button which gets added on to your browser toolbar with the download.  Given more time, I think this would be a fun site to further explore and though I do not really see how it might relate to sharing for my work purposes it does seem interesting.   

I would have liked to explore other social bookmarking sites in further detail but I only briefly investigated about five other than the ones mentioned above to ensure that I wasn’t missing something major.  Lund, Hammond, Flack, and Hannay (2005) noted a few years ago that “As these services have matured and grown more popular, they have added extra features such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features.”  This remains true today and not only do most bookmark sharing sites have a full complement of features there are many sites to choose from too.  I believe that my appetite for social bookmarking and the features I choose to top my plate with has been fulfilled and I am now addicted and dedicated to Del.icio.us. The features in my chosen bookmarking site are very well suited to sharing for my work purposes and I can imagine creating an account specifically for resources related to topics for our students, for example, cooperative education, career advice, business news, and working abroad, to name but a few.  I could then invite colleagues and students to join the network and we can collaborate on building our very own online resource site.

What interests you?  Who would you want to share your favourite online places with?  You know from my blog that I am a fan of the Unesco World Heritage Sites, if this interests you too consider a trip to my bookmarks to visit my travel tag, and explore my Unesco links in my Del.icio.us bookmarks. If you find any of my topics are also of interest to you, feel free to join my network and we can build and share our favourite links together.

Many friends and family members have shared with me how they loose hours on video sharing sites like YouTube and although I easily understand, I have not been lost there often.  However, I do find that time just seems to escape me when I start playing around with Del.icio.us.  I believe that once I am finished my course and have time to spend organizing and categorizing all that I love on the www that I also will have the potential to loose sections of my free time, in large chunks with this tool and similar tools.  Just starting with a few favorite topics that I frequently research online got me spending hours online and I imagine as I learn to fully use the site to its fullest potential, it is likely to become my favorite tool this summer! 

Want to read a wee bit more about social bookmarking before you decide where to begin? Visit the following link to read an article that provides brief descriptors for 125 social bookmarking sites (the link is also saved at my bookmarking site if you need to find it in the future, just join my network and view my tag titled bookmarking, http://www.searchenginejournal.com/125-social-bookmarking-sites-importance-of-user-generated-tags-votes-and-links/6066/.

 References

Lund, B., Hammond, T. Flack, M., and Hannay, T.. In: D-Lib Magazine 11, Nr. 4, 2005, Retrieved July 14, 2009.

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