Better Bookmarks

22 Feb

This is how I keep track of websites that I like:

I love being able to file away a snapshot of the website in my “important papers” binder under the corresponding topic. To atone for the waste of paper, I say a small prayer for each tree that has been sacrificed for my enjoyment of this organizational system.
For my Web2.0 course this week I had to learn all about social bookmarking. To learn about the topic, I watched Social Bookmarking in Plain English.

It was a good starting point and inspired me to create a Delicious account. However, after a few days of use, I was still printing out screenshots and filing them away in my binder because Delicious did not agree with my predominantly visual learning style. 

Delicious allows users to save websites with a series of user generated tags (keywords). The bookmarks are  then filed by tag and date. My difficulty with Delicious was that I could never remember the websites by name alone and I would have to reopen each of them. One way to remedy this is to create notes for each page, but that takes time, and time is what I don’t have a lot of these days. (I’m also nervous to invest more time in Delicious because of rumours that Yahoo is selling the site  (Tsotsis, 2009) and who knows what will happen to everything I have accumulated.)

I kept looking for more information about social bookmarking, convinced that there had to be a better way. I perused an overview of social bookmarking (Educause Learning Initiative, 2005), enjoyed a quick tour of other services (Jackson, 2009), and read Crane’sUsing Web 2.0 Tools in the K-12 Classroom (2009). Finally, while reading Richardson (2010), I found Diigo!

Since my learning style is so visual, I knew Diigo would be the perfect fit for me. I had bookmarked Diigo in Delicious (ironic) and I had intended to go back and check it out later, but this was my motivation – Diigo has a tab which opens a website preview without navigating away from your Diigo page.

To learn more about Diigo, I watched their clear and informative introductory videos and quickly felt like a pro at the site (an indication that the videos are very well done).

Diigo also made the transfer of my Delicious bookmarks easy with step-by-step instructions for exporting Delicious bookmarks in an idiot-proof process. But best of all, now when I save a site in Diigo it automatically links to Delicious and ensures that the same link is saved there as well! Genius. I am in favour of any site that does the work for me. 

In an attempt to seem invaluable to the teachers in my school, I have been putting learning links onto the website as shameless self-promotion. However, I have run into difficulty when linking to our EBSCO database and it is confusing to try to lead students to the location (and it takes way more than the suggested 3 clicks). Searching on Diigo allows me to find the sites behind the password and save them for kids to view. If students want to expand their search they can simply enter the school’s username and password and continue their search within EBSCO. Perfect! 

I set up a Diigo account for school use (separate from my personal account for the same reason that I have two Facebook acccouts) and bookmarked some sites for a teacher’s upcoming Humanities 8 project. Diigo was so simple to figure out that I easily created alist for the sites and exported it to Blogger. Within minutes I had the link posted on my school library site. I tried adding annotations but I didn’t like that other people’s annotations also show up when students access the site through the Diigo bookmark list.

It is also possible to set up an educator account in Diigo where you can create private groups and share bookmarks within the group (Wylie, 2010). This isn’t useful for me in the position I’m in this year but it is definitely something that I will look into if I enroll a classroom in the future!

Finally, I have to mention one thing that disturbs me – the sharing aspect of social bookmarking. Richardson (2010) and Crane (2009) both tout social bookmarking as an indispensable researching tool where you can save bookmarked sites (great!), search other people’s bookmarked sites (okay) and even get RSS feeds when select people add new bookmarks (and this is where I become uncomfortable).

I do understand how social bookmarking can help find research. I love reading bibliographies to find further references but these people have published their work with the intention of having it viewed, referred to and critiqued. I feel like my bookmarks should not have to stand up to the same sort of dissection.

I view my bookmarks as akin to my closet. I have some things that I want to have people see and other items that are more personal. Using social bookmarking and making any links public is just like inviting anyone and everyone to take a browse through your closet. I can just hear it now… “I’m sure that site makes her hips look huge” or “Who does she think she is looking at that site?” Who knows what people are thinking? Who knows who is traipsing through my bookmark closet? Creepy. 

Oh well, at the end of the day, the pros of social bookmarking greatly outweigh the cons and I have officially become a convert.

For further investigation (when time allows):


Crane, B. E. (2009). Using Web 2.0 Tools in the K-12 Classroom. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers Inc.

Educause Learning Initiative (2005). 7 things you should know about social bookmarking. Retrieved on February 8, 2011 from

Hendron, J. (2010). Developing info-seeking vocabulary. Learning & Leading with Technology, 38(2), 32-33.

Jackson, L. (2009). Sites to see: Social bookmarking. Retrieved on February 8, 2011 from

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Richardson, W. (2009) New reading, new writing. Retrieved on February 10, 2011 from

Tsotsis, A. (2010). Is Yahoo shutting down Del.ici.ous? Retrieved on February 8, 2011 from

Wylie, J. (2010). Teaching social bookmarking with Diigo education. Retrieved on February 11, 2011 from


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