Social Bookmarking101


What is Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking is a way to organize the links you use often in one central location that can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. It is also a way to gain access to sites that other people have selected as important to them. Educator and technologist Quentin D'Souza describes the process this way:

"In the past an individual might have saved their favorites or bookmarks on their local computer. Their bookmarks might have been organized under a few general headings. The social bookmarking web site allows individuals to store their bookmarks on the Internet and makes them accessible anywhere."

Educational computing lecturer David Muir created this list of reasons why the switch from using traditional favorites to the social bookmarking site

1. Save site found using multiple computers (home and school) to one resource.
2. Access your bookmarks anywhere you have web access.
3. Continue to access your bookmarks even when your computer crashes or you get a new
4. Share web sites with your students or peers.
5. Search your bookmarks by keywords and tags.
6. Use related tags to narrow or extend your searches.
7. Display your saved web site links by category.
8. Learn about new sites from your other users.
9. Subscribe to other users’ bookmarks.
10. Check out recently posted and popular sites.

Social Bookmarking works through a system of classification called "tagging," whereby the individual user chooses how websites are classified, so instead of relying on someone else for classification, you determine how your web is classified. For a more complete picture, let's go through the following presentation:

Setting Up Your Account

Here are step-by-step instructions to set up your account written by David Warlick, educational technologist, teacher, and founder of the Landmark Project.


Once your account is set up, it is now time to begin tagging sites to build up your folksonomy. I have put together a short list of sites for use by us under the tag "spartasocial07." If you type that into a search, you will come up with a few sites that you can tag. From there, you can use the "saved by..." feature to find out what other people are tagging related to the site in question. I will walk you through this process slowly. When you are comfortable, use the list of educators below to find useful sites to tag.

Other Educators in

Here is a list of elementary and middle school educators who are using Feel free to visit their accounts and even use RSS to subscribe to their accounts or just a single tag.

Ms. Armstrong is also using a feed: - Tami Brass via - Collin Bonner (Special Education K-12) via - Derrall Garrison via - Clarence Fisher - via - Jeanne Simpson via - Doug Noon via - Bob Sprankle via - Robert Eiffert via - Mark Ahlness via - Landrum Middle School via - Graham Wegner via - Alicia via - Al Upton via - Mike Hetherington -
taken from Quentin D'Souza's wiki on Social Bookmarking

Class, Group, or Department Tagging

As you have noticed, I have tagged a small number of resources with the tag "spartasocial07." This is a class specific tag that will most likely only be used for this class. Educators across the nation and world are using this type of tagging with their students to help them identify useful sources of information for their classes. For example, Darren Kuropatwa, a math teacher from British Columbia, instructs his AP Calculus students to tag sites with a class specific tag so that all of the students in the class, and all of us, can access sites that he and the students feel are relevant to their study of Calculus.

Think of a tag that could be specific to your class, department, or group within the school and find some sites that you could tag with that specific label. Then, when others come on board with, there will be a host of resources waiting for them.

Here is what it could look like:

  1. Enter into my account by typing in
  2. Type in the tag "spartasocial07" into the search bar.
  3. The results will come up as a short list of sites. del.icio.us18.jpg

Other uses of Tags

The idea of tagging can be extended to several other websites that contain data as well. For example, the picture sharing website known as Flickr, uses tags to categorize photos. So if I log into my Flickr account,

I can search for photos tagged "chocolate."

If there is a photo that I find interesting by a certain photographer, I can click on the picture and then subscribe to the RSS feed for that photographer. Flickr3.jpg Then, every time they upload a photo, I will be updated with new photo.

Using RSS with Tags

As more and more content is added to the web, and we can access the searches of others through our accounts, the next step is to set it up so that we don't actually do the searches, but they searches come to us. How do we do that? Through the magic of RSS.

If, while you are searching through someone's bookmarks and you find that they are finding some really good stuff and you would like to be made aware of too, you can use RSS to subscribe to their tag or their account. Here's how:


Setting Up our Google Reader Accounts

We are going to use Google Reader to track the RSS feeds for tags. So we must first set up our Google Reader Accounts. Let's do this by following these steps.

  1. Direct your browser to Google.Once there, you will notice a "Sign in" google2.jpglink in the upper right hand corner.Click that.Now Google is asking you to sign into your account. If you already have an account, fill in your emailgoogle3.jpg address and password. If not, then click on "Create an account now" at the bottom of the page.Once you do that, it follows like most other account sign-up sites.
  2. Fill in the necessary information and you will be directed to a page that is the home base for your account. google4.jpg

3. Your page will list your services, of which you might not have many at this point. We need to go down to the section of the page that says "Try Something New"google6.jpgand click on "more."
4. This takes you to all of Google's services (which are really cool). Once there, look for a link that says "Google Labs"google7.jpgThere, you will look for a link under "Graduates of Labs" called "Reader."google8.jpg

At this point, you can use this video to show you how to set up your Google Reader Account by adding feeds,

or follow along below.

  1. Find a tag that you think might fit the research you are doing. It should be general in nature to start with. For this example, I will use "ushistory" as my tag.
  2. In the address bar of your browser, type in the following address:
  3. (or insert the tag you wish to search with).What will result is a list of sites that were tagged with "ushistory."
4. At the bottom of the page you will see the RSS symbol.
5. By clicking on that button, you are essentially subscribing to this tag, so that every time someone tags a site with "ushistory" you will be made aware in your Reader.
6. After clicking on that button, most likely you will see a page that looks pretty foreign. Ignore the craziness, and take that URL (web address) and copy it.
7. Go to your Reader page and click "Add subscription"
and paste the URL from into the space under "Add subscription."
8. Click "Add."
9. You will now see all the recent uses of this tag displayed in your reader. This lets you keep track of any sites tagged with this particular tag in
10. Go ahead and try this with any number of tags that either you identify as a need for you, or that you notice other people on have tagged also.

Here is the link to the professional development survey.

West, Casey. "Social Way." Online Image. June 10, 2006. March 30, 2007 <>.