Blog Post

Social Bookmarks

In the past few weeks the Carsey-Wolf Center (the research organization that I work for) has been working with a social bookmarking program called Diigo (  We decided to use this social bookmarking tool to collect news articles, trade publications and documents of interest that could constitute a press library for our areas of interest.  This simple undertaking has proven to be very difficult because of the things that the program allows its users to do. 

For example we have tried to use the "social" capabilities of this program to "crowdsource" our collecting of all of the articles.  In order to do this everyone that is working on the project must have the same "tag" citation guide.  This can be difficult as all of the variables within the "tag" guide have changed each week as different topics emerge in the news.  Diigo also makes it difficult to cross-reference materials.  At first we thought that this would be an easy way of creating a collaborative library.  Instead it seems like this has allowed us to create a daily news feed.  This is also useful but does not accomplish our intended goal.  The solution may be to make a variety of different reception locations for content (one for news, another for resources, another for working papers).

The reason I thought that I would bring this up with the HASTAC community is that I was surprised how quickly adding more participants to this social bookmarking project created more chaos.  Despite our best efforts to organize and create a citation system it seems that a social bookmarking project requires a strong central editor.  Like so many efforts to use technology to streamline work, the effect of using social bookmarking seems to have created a new full time working position, "Tag Curator."  Information gets unruly in short order. 

I would be interested in any other reports on success or failure with attempts to use social bookmarks.


1 comment

It's nice to see there is some sort of competition for the Delicious giant. I found your post interesting and was curious as to why you think a curator needed for this type of social network. I can confidently say that Delicious is the most valuable social networking application I use, for various reasons. Perhaps it feels the most usefull, rather than being a source of entertainment. How would a curator solve the messiness of all these tags? Do we need one? Don't these book marking sites make the user a curator?

Perhaps I have a different interpretation of what exactly a currator is since I come from an art background. It seems the job of curating is less about sorting through messiness as it is more about creating coherence.