and Educational Social Bookmarking

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This page was originally authored by Michael Haworth and Amy Frank (2008). Updated by Paige McClelland (2017). (sic) is one of many different web 2.0 Internet applications used for social bookmarking that allows for the archiving, organization, and sharing of a users Internet bookmarks online. According to Bryan Alexander (2006), “social bookmarking is one of the signature Web 2.0 categories, one that did not exist a few years ago and that is now represented by dozens of projects (p. 34).” While bookmarks, also called favourites or hotlists have been a feature of web browsers since the early development of the World Wide Web, they were generally restricted to individual computers and specific web browser software and were not easily sharable (Hammond, Hannay, Lund, & Scott, April 2005) (Fryer, n.d.). Social bookmarking via for-fee or free Internet tools, such as, allows bookmarks stored online within a user's account are available to anyone on any computer with any web browser and Internet access regardless of time or place (“”, n.d.).

File:Web2.0 framework.jpg
Framework for understanding social bookmarking and other Web 2.0 applications within the educational setting. Credit to Wesley Fryer 3/26/2007

While a user requires a account to add additional Internet bookmarks, no account is needed to browse a user’s stored bookmarks. Beyond merely storing Internet bookmarks online, social bookmarking tools such as lets users catalog and organize the bookmarks using keywords called tags, that are “…one-word descriptors that you can assign to your bookmarks…” (“”, n.d.). When bookmarking any Internet resource, a user may add as many tags as desired and then can add, delete, or edit any tags associated with a specific bookmark at any time. Using tags or 'tagging' with bookmarks stored within social bookmarking tools like, offers a simple and powerful method for sharing bookmarks, “Tagging can be a lot easier and more flexible than fitting your information into preconceived categories or folders.” (“”, n.d.). When social bookmarking is extended further with tools such as Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a dynamic, real-time interchange of available Internet resources can occur between users of

Social bookmarking tools like presents opportunities for students, teachers, and others within the education field at any level (K-12 or Post-Secondary) to aggregate their bookmarks and create collaborative collections of learning resources, this is also known as folksonomies or collaborative tagging (Hammond et al., April 2005). Thomas Vander Wal coined the term folksonomy to describe the type of collaborative categorization that becomes possible when collective categories are created by the general population (Bull, 2005). Joshua Schacter’s was one of the first popular folksonomic sites, based on the creation of tags that permitted users to be able to save information about sites they found interesting (Alexander, 2006). This is classic social software—and a rare case of people connecting through shared metadata (Alexander, 2006). "The site employs choices that users themselves create rather than attempting to establish uniformity through an official list of descriptors that professional catalogers assign (Bull, 2005, p.22)." (sic) is one of many different web 2.0 Internet applications used for social bookmarking that allows for the archiving, organization, and sharing of a users Internet bookmarks online.

How to Get Started Social Bookmarking With

Example of users bookmarks and tags

To get started with social bookmarking, go to a social bookmarking site and register. The site will provide the basic information on how to get started.

Below, instructions on how to get started using are outlined.


To get started using

  1. Go to


  2. Click on the register link located at the top right hand of the screen. The following is required:
    1. Username
    2. Full name
    3. Password
    4. Email address

  3. File:Registerpage.gif

  4. Click on the File:Install buttons now.gif link.
  5. Click on Run.

Bookmarking Sites

Once the buttons have been installed, a button and a Tag button will appear on the links bar (typically under the address bar). Using the tag button, webpages can be placed on the personal site.

File:Links bar.gif(

When a site is desired on the bookmarking page, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the File:Tag icon.gif button.
  2. A new window will open and prompt for the following information:
    1. URL and description - These fields are populated automatically; however, if edits are required, the information can be changed by typing in the field. Editing the URL does not make sense, but sometimes the description lacks information or is not clear enough.
    2. Notes – Use this field to type in a brief description on what the site is about or information on why the site has been tagged.
    3. Tags – Use this field to enter key words that could be used to search for the entry. For example, if the site focuses on bakings chocolate chip cookies, possible tags might include cookies, chocolate chip, bake, chocolate cookies, and more.
  3. Click the Save button.

Example of users tag collection

Viewing Bookmarks

A user can view their personal bookmarks, by clicking the File:Delicious icon.gif button on the browser, enter a personal URL, or visit the site and enter username and password information. To view other user’s bookmarks, go their del.icious account by typing the web address (replacing the del.icio.us_username_here with the actual username).

Additional Information on Getting Started Using

For further information on how to get started using, view the following videos:

Uses of Social Marking Within the Educational Setting

Example of bookmarking and tagging ETEC 510 wiki site via

As education is a highly social process, using social bookmarking tools such as as within educational settings has several applications. The following list contains possible uses of and other social bookmarking tools in an educational setting:

  • Allowing students and educators to collaboratively research, evaluate, catalog, and create collections of Internet resource bookmarks (“CR2.0 Social Bookmarking”, n.d) (Hurst, 2005) (Muir, 2005).
  • Facilitating educators to network within a school, school district, or anywhere in the world on common goals or interests (“CR2.0 Social Bookmarking”, n.d).
  • Provide a vehicle through which students and educators can collaborate on group projects by sharing project bookmarks (“CR2.0 Social Bookmarking”, n.d).
  • View other bookmark collections from other users of social bookmarking tools to discover new Internet resources and confirm shared bookmarks (“CR2.0 Social Bookmarking”, n.d) (Muir, 2005).
  • Subscribe via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to view an always-current listing of a bookmarks from other users of social bookmarking tools(“CR2.0 Social Bookmarking”, n.d).
  • Expand community understanding of content by examining tags used by other social bookmarking tools users for the same or similar Internet resources (Seldow, 2006).
  • Use social bookmarking tags to provide students with an opportunity to develop and refine classifications for Internet resources (Seldow, 2006).
  • Offers a method to provide a common set of bookmarks to students and educators at any time, on any computer, using any web browser, in any Internet-accessible location (Hurst, 2005) (Muir, 2005).
  • View the popularity of an Internet resource by seeing the number of times it has been bookmarked by others within a social bookmarking tool such as (Hurst, 2005).
  • Increase student information literacy through collaborative review of reliability and validity of social bookmarked Internet resources (Des Roches, January 2007).
  • All relevant research material can be in one place (Des Roches, January 2007).
  • "Finding people with related interests can magnify one’s work by learning from others or by leading to new collaborations (Alexander, 2006, p.36)."
  • Clusters of tags reveal patterns that might not be relevant when viewing one individual URL, leading to a new perspective on research(Alexander, 2006).
  • The ability to create multi-authored bookmark pages permits group work to be completed in a way that allows for all resources and materials to be available to all team members (Alexander, 2006).
  • Viewing an individual’s bookmark site gives insights into the individual’s research (Alexander, 2006). This could prove to be beneficial to instructors who wish to track the progress of students and students who wish to learn from their instructor’s findings.

Social Bookmarking and Research

Social bookmarking and tagging can be incredibly helpful for students to find and evaluate their sources during the research process. For instance, many people use tags to find relevant sources or general information about their topics of interest, so they can see what other people in the field found relevant (Purdy, 2011, p. 49). Social bookmarking has become immensely popular with other social media platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest, which use tags so that users can easily track and find relevant information. In fact, these platforms have largely influenced how people find and critique information in general (Purdy, 2011, p. 50). Because of Web 2.0 software like social bookmarking, doing research is becoming more of an accepted social process where users are expected to engage in the scholarly conversation and build from each other in a way that was perhaps unacceptable and definitely not possible a few decades ago (Purdy, 2011, p. 57). Because of the relative ease of access that social bookmarking affords, there are special considerations that educators need to keep in mind when they introduce social bookmarking into the classroom and design with this technology in mind, especially when they bridge informal and formal sites of learning (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007, p. 672).

Teachers should be aware that students need to be taught media literacy skills in the context of doing research, and not, as Jenkins (2009) argued, an afterthought or add-on subject (p. 109). In addition to media literacy, information literacy also needs to be taught when social bookmarking is introduced into the classroom. According to Wikipedia ("Information Literacy," n.d.), "information literacy is a key focus of educational institutions at all levels and in order to uphold this standard, institutions are promoting a commitment to lifelong learning and an ability to seek out and identify innovations that will be needed to keep pace and outpace changes." Both of these literacy skills are essential for students to apply while conducting, refining, and evaluating research as well as keeping pace with the changing nature of how we gather and spread knowledge.

Please see stop motion artifact below!

Stop Motion Artifact

This stop motion artifact focuses on using social bookmarking for the purposes of research, but within the framework of a critical pedagogy. Henry Giroux, a scholar and cultural critic, defined critical pedagogy as a "political and moral project" that calls into question who has control of production "over the knowledge, values, and skills, and it illuminates how knowledge, identities, and authority are constructed within particular sets of social relations" (Tristan, 2013, para. 3). Critical pedagogy is important to consider as the lines between producers and consumers blur, and social media becomes more of a fixture in the modern-day classroom. Giroux goes on to argue that critical pedagogy "takes seriously what it means to understand the relationship between how we learn and how we act as individual and social agents; that is, it is concerned with teaching students how not only to think but also to come to grips with a sense of individual and social responsibility, and what it means to be responsible for one's actions as part of a broader attempt to be an engaged citizen who can expand and deepen the possibilities of democratic public life" (Tristan, 2013, para. 3). While social bookmarking can be an effective tool, it needs to be used responsibly and ethically because of its powerful ability to spread information easily and quickly. Both students and teachers have a responsibility to ask critical questions about their use of social bookmarking sites such as to do research and contribute to the chain of knowledge. by Paige McClelland

Limitations of Social Bookmarking Tools

While many uses of social bookmarking exist, there are limitations inherent to the process of social bookmarking both for creating and using others bookmarks.

  • Users of social bookmarking tools must use a lingua franca, such as English, when tagging Internet resources to be able to understand and relate to each other’s tags and tagging system (Seldow, 2006).
  • When using others social bookmarks, users must understand the contextual meaning of the tags to be able to decide if an Internet resource is useful or not (Seldow, 2006).
  • The folksonomy created by tags selected by users for Internet resources are not controlled within a framework of rules or guidelines such are used within the scientific or library sciences fields, thus results of searching tags may not be predictable (Hammond et al., April 2005).

Other Social Bookmarking Tools

In addition to, several other social bookmarking tools are available for use in the education realm. Some social bookmarking tools are designed for specific fields such as the scientific or education fields, while others are more generic and may not shield students from inappropriate content. These lists should be considered an overview of social bookmarking tools and not an exhaustive list.

Social Bookmarking Tools for General Use

Bookmarking Tools for Education Use

Social Bookmarking Tools for Other Fields

See also:


External links