What is social bookmarking?

Social bookmarking allows you to save and organize your favorite websites online so they can be easily managed and shared. If you currently save website links to your browser's favorites folder or to your bookmarks folder, you've probably encountered one or more of the following problems: 

  • It can be difficult to keep them organized. You might have one giant, overwhelming list, or lots of folders that make it hard to remember where you put something.
  • If something happens to your hard drive, your favorite links will be lost.
  • When sharing your links, you might find yourself emailing certain site addresses and descriptions over and over.

Social bookmarking resolves all of these issues. Social bookmarking tools allow you to save your favorite sites in an online database that you (and your colleagues and students) can access from any web browser. Rather than organizing links into folders, most social bookmarking sites rely on tags—keyword labels that you associate with a link—to organize content. One of the most popular and easy-to-use social bookmarking tools is delicious.com. An example use of Delicious for Arabic education can be found at: delicious.com/DePaulStarTalkArabic.

How can social bookmarking be used for education?

Instructors and students can use social bookmarking to:

  • Save and organize links to favorite websites.
  • Share lists of useful websites with others.
  • Create a group account or use a unique tag to organize colleagues' or classmates' links in one place.
  • Subscribe to specific tags to keep up with new links saved with a particular keyword.

Recommended Social Bookmarking Tool: Delicious

Delicious.com is owned by Yahoo! and is one of the most popular social bookmarking tools on the web with millions of users. This offers several advantages:

  • thorough help documentation
  • sufficient funding to provide reliable service for the foreseeable future
  • a large community of users sharing millions of hand-picked, useful websites

While there are other social bookmarking tools that offer more features than Delicious, the simplicity of the Delicious interface makes it much easier to learn compared to other tools.

Using Delicious to Find Learning Materials

Delicious isn't just a good place to save your favorite websites. It's also a great place to find useful resources. Each bookmark on Delicious.com has been evaluated and deemed useful by at least one real person. So, when you search for instructional resources on Delicious, you're searching a much more exclusive collection of websites than when you search the entire web using a search engine like Google. You can view the results of a search for "arabic resources" on delcious to see how they differ from a general web search.

Issues to Consider

  • Users have to install shortcut buttons in their web browser's toolbar. (Without shortcuts, users must go to delicious.com every time they want to save a link.)
  • Tags cannot have spaces. (Spaces are used to separate multiple tags.)

Delicious Help

For a visual demonstration of the basic concept behind social bookmarking, watch the following video.