the social bookmarking experiment…

I’ve recently joined the wave of web users to try online bookmark tools – specifically – known as a ‘social bookmarking’ tool. is simple and, for what it does, it works very well. The social aspect is the real revelation though. You bookmark a page and see that others have also bookmarked it, so you get to explore things that have interested them. I have already found dozens of excellent sites I would never have found in other ways.
Still, I’m a picky bugger, and I find it lacking polish and integration.

I have now dropped in favour of Furl. This is state-of-the-art in online bookmarking. In beta, run by Looksmart and (at the moment) free, it has all the appeal of, but with added extras like: bookmark importing (yay!); page snapshots; export to bibTex, endnote etc.; smarter handling of the social aspects; superb integration with firefox and IE; integrated contact management; several different feeds for my weblog (coming soon!) etc…

While I was ferreting around I found another excellent tool that people might like to explore… Connotea. This is a much more hard-core academic bookmarking tool, though still in development. A level of polish and integration somewhere between and furl, but definitely one to watch. The only problem with connotea was that I felt a bit low-brow posting my ‘fun’ urls, when everyone else on the site was posting scholarly journal articles… the latest postings show up on the front page!

I still feel there is plenty of room for improvement and further integration that would significantly benefit the academic user/researcher/student, but I feel these tools are going to change the way we look for new information, having huge implications for search engines, metadata etc. If you think about it, they are profiling you, then finding other users with similar interests and then offering recommended urls based on that information – you are multiplying your searching and filtering powers for every user that you silently collaborate with. Compelling stuff!

One reply on “the social bookmarking experiment…”

  1. If you like those, you might want to check out Scuttle a free open source php script that allows a user/group of users create their own social bookmarks manager.
    I use it now simply for my own bookmarks managing, as it is hosted on my own site, and am slowly getting around to incorporating it’s RSS feed into my site (heavy emphasis on slowly).

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