23 Things for Archivists

Thing 20: Social Bookmarking

By Jessica Miller

Have you ever sat at your computer at home and wished you could remember one of the great links bookmarked on the reference desk computer at work or the link to a new digital collection that a colleague sent you earlier that day

Social bookmarking is a way to organize web-based information resources so you can access them from any computer, share them with other users, and rate their quality.  Social bookmarking is different from bookmarking sites in your web browser because you can access the bookmarks from any computer, not just the one on which you created them, and because you can share them with other users and access other users’ bookmarks.  Some social bookmarking sites also allow users to rate links shared on the site.

Most social bookmarking sites allow users to organize their bookmarks by “tagging” them.  Tagging allows users to assign items to categories based on natural language rather than controlled vocabulary terms. This type of categorization is sometimes referred to as “folksonomy.”

Some of the main social bookmarking sites are Del.icio.us, Digg, and StumbleUpon.  They have “bookmarklets” that you can add to your browser tool bar that give you quick access to your bookmarks and/or to add new websites to your account. In Del.icio.us, for example, by clicking the “Bookmark on Delicious” bookmarklet will pop up a window that lets you save a new bookmark to your Delicious account. The “My Delicious” bookmarklet will take you to your bookmarks on Delicious. You can get to these bookmarks from any computer by visiting your Delicious URL (ours is: http://www.delicious.com/23thingsforarchivists).

Many blogs, media outlets, and even some archives and libraries include widgets that allow users to share their content via social bookmarking sites without leaving the site. (See, for example, the “share this” links in the Archives of Michigan’s online collections.)  Other archives-related uses of social bookmarking include the National Archives Education’s Bookmarks on Delicious and the University of Dundee’s Centre for Archive and Information Studies Bookmarks on Delicious.  The Interactive Archivist is tracking archival institutions using tagging and folksonomies. You can view their extended  list of implementors at Interactivearchivist’s Folksonomy Bookmarks on Delicious.   


  • Create an account on Delicious, Digg, or StumbleUpon, and explore their features.
  • Create some bookmarks and assign tags to them.  Explore sites other users have bookmarked with those tags.
  • Check out some links in Delicious, Digg, or StumbleUpon, and rate or favorite them as you see fit.
  • Find some content on the web that includes a widget that lets you share it with one or more of your social bookmarking accounts.  Use the widgets and share away.


  • Set up accounts on all three sites and blog about the differences.
  • Add a social media sharing widget to your blog or another site you run/administer.

Blog Prompts

  • What features do you find most or least useful?
  • What do you see as some potential benefits or drawbacks of social bookmarking?
  • Do you think social bookmarking sites could be useful for your institution or for your own professional or personal development?  If so, how?  If not, why not?


  1. […] Thing 17: Creating Video Slideshows Thing 18: Video Sharing Thing 19: Online Timelines Thing 20: Social Bookmarking Thing 21: Wikis Thing 22: Google Docs Thing 23: Online Surveys LikeBe the […]

  2. […] 6 is Social Bookmarking.  It is Thing 9 on the libraries list and Thing 20 on the archives […]

  3. […] it must be said: I have never been able to wrap my head around social bookmarking. Which is not to say that it isn’t useful to SOMEONE– people obviously get good stuff […]

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