Thursday, February 23, 2006

Social Bookmarking

Heard about social bookmarking yet?

Social bookmarking is an increasingly popular way to locate, classify, rank, and share Internet resources through the use of shared lists of user-created Internet bookmark lists, the practice of tagging, and meta-data inferred the use of such tags and their relation to one another.

In such a system, users store lists of personally interesting internet resources, and (usually) make these lists publically accessible. They also classify their resources by the use of informally assigned, user-defined keywords or tags. Most social bookmarking services allow users to search for bookmarks which are associated with given "tags", and rank the resouces by the number of users which have bookmarked them. Many also have implemented algorithms to draw "meta-data" inferences from the tag keywords that are assigned to resources by examining the "clustering" of particular keywords, and the relation of keywords to one another.

Such a system has several advantages over traditional automated resource location and classification software, such as search engine spiders. All tag-based classification of Internet resources (such as web sites) is done by human beings, who understand the content of the resource, as opposed to software which algorithmically attempts to determine the meaning of a resource. Additionally, as people bookmark resources that they find useful, resources that are of more use are bookmarked by more users. Thus, such a system will "rank" a resource based on its perceived utility. This is a more useful metric for end users than other systems which rank resources based on the number of external links pointing to it.

Here are some archtypical and popular examples of this new technology:

Furl stands for Frame Uniform Resource Locator. This highly-rated site allows you to save, search, and share every web page you've ever wanted to keep.
Don't let the pun fool you, this is a seriously useful way to archive websites! It employs a non-hierarchical keyword categorization system where users can tag each of their bookmarks with a number of freely chosen keywords. has a simple HTML interface with human readable URLs, as well as a REST API and RSS feeds for web syndication.

Similar in function to the other popular social bookmarking sites listed above, iKeepbookmarks prides itself on being easy to use. Even kids can purportedly use it, but you can make good use of it too in a professional or personal sense depending on your needs.

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