Delicious Bookmark Service
This advice document brings to your attention the free online bookmark service Delicious. Its ability to allow you to manage bookmarks by saving, searching and sharing will be of interest to anybody who has to manage many bookmarks for individuals or groups. It has applications of use for teaching and learning which will be described below.
The Delicious service has just relaunched for further information see the Delicious announcement.
What is a bookmark?
‘Bookmark’ is the common term for a shortcut to a website which you save in your browser. Some browsers refer to bookmarks as ‘favourites’. We click the bookmark to return to a website without having to remember its address. Though very useful, once you have more than 30+ they can be difficult to manage, even when organised using folders.
Delicious fits in… (lightbulb moment)
Delicious is a web service created to help you store, manage and share all or some of your collection of bookmarks. Two of its powerful features are tagging and its ability to allow access to all of your bookmarks from any computer with an internet connection.
What is tagging?
Each time you save a new bookmark using delicious you have the option to add tags to the bookmark. Tags are essentially keywords that you and others will use to find this bookmark in the future (assuming you are sharing with others e.g. module group).
Managing your bookmarks
Once we find a useful website, many of us have a requirement to return to the website for later reuse. As noted above this becomes extremely difficult once we start having many bookmarks and folders. Two of the problems with using folders are organisation of what goes into which folder and searching for bookmarks contained within the folders. To overcome and manage these issues Delicious acts as a bookmark repository with features to improve searching and finding bookmarks.
The more relevant tags assigned to each saved bookmark gives you and your learner group a better chance of finding it later on when you do a search. This includes using a subject-based thesaurus where appropriate.
Tip: if a word has multiple ways of being spelt, it can be useful to add all the versions to better help others find the bookmark. By way of example if you have an international student body, the use of the words colour and color could be applied.
Searching for saved bookmarks
Using Delicious you can search for your saved bookmarks by typing keywords that you gave each bookmark. Rather usefully, Delicious also shows you results of other users who use the same keywords below your results. This can be useful for learners finding research/supporting material. When you use, reference and cite many website’s content including digital media, a service like Delicious helps manage this. Example We like many others in the community use Creative Commons images in our work. To support referencing of the copyright holder we use Delicious. This allows us to find the original sources and license both easily and quickly.
As the service is online it is possible to access your bookmarks on any computer.
As with many web services of recent years the ability to share your data is a useful feature and one that Delicious does in several ways.
Public vs private
Delicious gives you a unique web address to identify you. Using this address others can view all of your publicly available bookmarks and tags.
If you wish to use your Delicious account as a resource for others to use then at least some of your bookmarks will need to be publicly available. Sharing of bookmarks is a great way to provide relevant website resources. With the power of tagging it is easy for people to find specific resources. Accounts can be created for modules, courses and types of content to help filter the masses of bookmarks you may have.
However in the settings of Delicious this can be adjusted so that all or some bookmarks can be private should you wish. A common scenario for using the private option is when an account is used for work and personal bookmarking.
Adding a network
Delicious has a sharing feature referred to as a “network” which allows you to push a saved bookmark to members of your network. When a bookmark is pushed to a user of your network they are notified that you are recommending a bookmark to them.
Advanced sharing using Yahoo! Pipes.
To further facilitate sharing of bookmarks here at the University of Bristol amongst some of the e-learning staff we use Delicious with Yahoo! Pipes. Essentially Yahoo! Pipes lets us make an RSS feed from a set list of keywords from Delicious and then each of us receives notification when a member adds a bookmark using the set keywords. This highlights new resources for us.
Using Delicious for search
Delicious can be handy as an additional search tool when you’re struggling to find websites using normal search engines. There is a good chance that the content has been tagged by another person using tags that may better fit your search.
Backup your bookmarks
As Delicious is a service external to your institution it is worth backing up all of your bookmarks at regular intervals. This feature is in the settings menu.
For those that use the Firefox web browser there is a handy extension that allows you to quickly view and save bookmarks. If you intend on using Delicious daily then it is worth considering.
Our sister service JISC TechDis reviewed Delicious and wrote “most of the site is very accessible and keyboard navigable”. As accessibility is crucial to successful use of web services it is reassuring that Delicious scores well.
The collection of bookmarks, with rich tagging and the ability to share them is a useful tool for teaching and learning. The service can be used to serve bookmarks by module, course or other key criteria to support learners. The account can be pulled into other locations such as websites, easing access and availability. Additionally it is accessible from anywhere, which benefits access by multiple devices.
It is a simple solution to a common problem and one that has uses for all subjects, categories, course levels and disciplines.
Our team delicious account