[tag-tec]Social bookmarking[/tag-tec] is the practice of saving your [tag-tec]bookmarks[/tag-tec] to a public Web site and then “tagging” them with keywords related to the content. Some of the biggest social bookmarking sites are, Ma.gnolia, del.icio.us, blogmarks. Social bookmarking is fun, easy to do and it’s free.
To begin with, you have to register with a social bookmarking site to be able to create a collection of social bookmarks. These sites will let you store bookmarks, you can then add tags of your choice and designate individual bookmarks for everybody to see (there’s usually also an option to keep your bookmarks private). If you are a visitor to a social bookmarking site, you can search for resources by [tag-tec]keyword[/tag-tec], person or popularity and you can see public bookmarks, tags and classification schemes that registered users have created and saved. It is a way of networking and sharing information.
Social bookmarking only goes back a couple of years. It is particularly useful if you are collecting a set of resources that are to be shared with others – and it is something that anyone can do.
Social bookmarking tends to open doors to new ways of organizing information as well as categorizing resources. The person who creates a specific bookmark will give tags (a sort of defining phrase or keyword) to each resource, which then results in a user-directed, “amateur” method of classifying information – in the same way as libraries use the Dewey system of classification. Social bookmarking services let you know who has created each bookmark and provide access to that particular person’s other bookmarked resources. Users can then easily make social connections with other individuals that are interested in just about any topic. As a user, you will also be able to see how many people have used a particular resource. You can then search for all resources that have been assigned to that tag. In this way, all of the users over a period of time will be able to develop a unique structure of keywords to define resources. This is something that is now known as a “[tag-tec]folksonomy[/tag-tec]”.
Social bookmarking gives users the opportunity to express their own opinions and understanding of information and resources through informal organizational structures. This allows people with similar interests to find one another and create a new community of users. Whenever this happens it influences the ongoing evolution of folksonomies and common tags for resources. By using a folksonomy based tool for research, you can take advantage of what other users have done to find information that relates to the topic that you are researching. This practice is also good for site owners as it encourages users to come back to the site as the resources are constantly changing.