Thursday, July 29, 2010

Your Move, Social Bookmarking: Delicious vs/ Diigo

I have truly come full circle when it comes to social bookmarking.  A few years back, I was involved in a class on technology for school librarians at Arcadia University with the fabulous and amazing recommendation writer Calvin Wang and one of the tools we became familiar with was Delicious - at that time  Delicious is a social bookmarking tool so you create a page where you store, tag, and share all of your bookmarks.  I just didn't get it.  I didn't see the need for such a site.  Why would I want to share what websites I visited most frequently.  Sounds stingy of me, doesn't it?  I wasn't thinking why would I want to share...but at the time the websites I visited most often were ones to check my bank balance, pay and check credit cards, check my email, and other sites that I didn't feel were necessary or wise to share with the world.  Now, I have a much different perspective on this exact topic.  I think that before my web world was very small - I visited certain websites for teaching on a daily basis with my students but didn't branch out much because...who could keep track of all that?  Well, that's the whole point!  I've now changed my tune so much that when the topic of backing up bookmarks at school came up, I explained to a teacher that I don't save bookmarks on my school drive anyway - they're saved on a website (Delicious) where I can access them on any computer at school as well as at home.  She replied that that made sense and it dawned on me that, perhaps, in my new role as school librarian I should share this tool with my fellow teachers.  I'm sure that some are already well aware, but others may not know these tools exist or the further implications they have on teaching and our students, especially as an organizational tool.  Then, my mind really started churning and I thought, what if...we had a site for our school where all teachers could contribute links and indicate via tags what grade level they were intended for and subjects, etc.  Then, any teacher in the school could access those links.  As it is now, teachers certainly are a sharing bunch, but they send links over email and then the person on the other end is responsible for following the link, seeing if they like it, and saving it on their own for future use.  With this possibility, that would be a thing of the past and one less item to clog up already full email accounts.  I'm still trying to decide if we should roll this out as a schoolwide account that any teacher can access (or an even grander scale, a district-wide set-up), or if each teacher should set up his/her own account and then form a group.  My gut feeling is that a school-wide account would be the way to go to start and get people familiarized with the way this whole social bookmarking thing works.  Then, as they choose, they may set up individual accounts and link back to the school-wide account.  If anyone reading this has experience with this issue, please comment below or email me your suggestions.

I could also set up pathfinders on a wiki where others could contribute, but the tagg-abliity and search-ability of social bookmarking seems to make more sense to me on this front.  Perhaps in a few months, I'll be on a pathfinder kick and blogging about that.  Knowing me, I'll do both to some extent anyway.  Because I seem to enjoy creating more work out of thin air for myself - fun, right?

Image courtesy of

Now, onto the title point.  I had been first introduced to Delicious and so that is the service I utilized.  I had originally set up a personal account where I stored links to parenting information, teaching information, technology information and was quite a hodgepodge.  When I got the position of librarian (yay!) I set up a strictly professional account to store links for library, technology, and teaching purposes only.  Then I checked out Diigo on a whim and saw that it had some different and perhaps more capabilities.  After a shout out to my PLN on twitter, I heard back that they do indeed do different things and both are valuable for different reasons.  Delicious has a better search capability and Diigo has a better capability to set up groups.  So which to choose.  Then came the kicker.  You don't have to choose (and you don't have to do double the uploading work, even more importantly).  I think I have all the kinks worked out at this point.  Since I had set up Delicious first, I exported all the bookmarks I had already saved to my computer's desktop.  Then, when I created my Diigo account, I imported all the bookmarks from my desktop.  Amalia Connolly on Twitter told me that Diigo can upload to Delicious so you don't have to choose.  So, I went about uploading solely on Diigo planning to upload to Delicious eventually.  I got around to that step today and went about things in a round-about way.  I realized that I can change settings to automatically update to Delicious each time I update to Diigo, but I can't make it happen retroactively.  So, everything from the time I exported from Delicious to Diigo until the present was lost in the middle.  Are you still with me?  So, I chose to export all my Diigo bookmarks to my desktop and import all of them back into Delicious with the additional bookmarks added in the meantime.  It replaced all old bookmarks so now I have two identical lists, which may sound silly, but now that the automatic setting is in place, it will never be any more work in the future.  I know that all sounded a bit complicated.  So let me simplify for you.  Set up an account in both Diigo AND Delicious.  On Diigo, click on "tools" in the upper right hand corner then click on "more tools" on the left hand side at the bottom.  Click on "Save to Delicious"  and enter the user information for your Delicious account.  Voila - do this FIRST and you can avoid all the importing and exporting expounded upon above.  I'll make all my mistakes for you!

And, if you're wondering how someone populates a social bookmarking site with 174 links in 1 month, check out blogs in your area of interest, enter them all into an RSS reader and you'll be reading about exciting and current sites with implications for your area of interest.  I'll post more about RSS and blog-reading in another post.  I'll probably add the blogs I'm reading to a widget on the side bar here for ease of checking them out for any interested readers of this blog.  Twitter, a micro-blogging tool, also offers the same opportunity.  Check out lists of others to follow with the same interest and you'll be updated on what they're currently reading online, or in print, and what new and exciting initiatives they are implementing.

Checkmate - I win!

Friday, July 23, 2010


ontheshelf4kids is con-tech-ted in many different ways.

Image courtesy of 

Through twitter, a professional learning network has been established.  Furthermore, parents can follow ontheshelf4kids on twitter as we tweet about our daily do-ings in the library.
Delicious is a bookmarking site where we have begun to collect a variety of websites sorted by tags for use in the library, by teachers, students, and parents as well.

Diigo serves essentially the same function as Delicious but has further capabilities such as adding highlighted areas to text on webpages, sticky notes to annotate, and more - both Delicious and Diigo have the function of creating groups as well which will serve well for connecting our library to other libraries which might benefit from sharing in our list of links to resources.

Flickr is a site to collect photos.  I became inspired when searching for creative commons licensed photos using a search for library.  I came across a colleagues' collection of photos of school library displays and decided I would like to share display ideas as well.  I have to check into sharing photos including students as to our photo release form, or I can edit the photos so that students are not discernible in the photos.  But I can definitely see the applications for using flickr and also for teaching students about using creative commons licensed images through this site.

ontheshelf4kids also has a facebook presence.  I plan to utilize this as one more tool to reach out to families, students, teachers, and others to publicize the great happenings in our school library.

Library Thing 
Library Thing is a site to showcase the books in your library.  Using this site we can create widgets to create flash files of book covers for the side bar of the blog.  You can also write reviews and interact with the collection in other ways.  I'm still thinking about how to best use this tool and decide if Follett Destiny might have some of the same features.

Clearly, we are here on blogger.  I haven't even conceptualized the entire scope of this blog just yet.  I plan to use my school website blog as well and may reserve this blog for professional sharing.  It may also be a jumping off point for student project blogs that may appear separate from this title.  I plan to use our school website blog to share about specific happenings with classes and offer students the opportunity to blog about their experiences during library lessons.  I'd like for this blog to have a specific format, but don't want to limit myself to just sharing book reviews, or technology integration ideas.  I want this blog to be VERY open ended, but I'd like it to be organized and reliable as well.  Any feedback is welcome.  I was thinking there may be a rhyme and reason to daily posts, like Tech Tuesdays, or Fiction Fridays.  This is still a brainstorm in its infancy, but hopefully it will flesh out quite nicely.

Time Ticks On
July is almost done and August will be here much too quickly.  Summer reading is in full swing here (a post I plan to share shortly).  I am attending many professional learning opportunities in August and plan to post more about each as well as the preparations that will be happening in our library.  The first day of school will be here before you know it!

Image courtesy of

Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Plans

Our school is undergoing a major construction project and I've been fortunate to witness the progress on my visits into our school's library.  Fortunately the library is still air conditioned!  I've been in the process of organizing and moving in my (considerable) stuff.  Hopefully I've got the "right stuff" for the job.  I've also been busy going through back issues of "School Library Journal" and "Library Sparks" to spark my imagination in planning for some fabulous lessons to engage students and keep the enthusiasm strong as we enter a new school year.  I'm excited to welcome 4th and 5th graders into our school for the first time in my career at Pine Road, though I've taught this group way back when they were in 1st grade.  I'm looking forward to my new position as a specials or "encore" teacher and the opportunity to see all the students in the school and see them grow and change throughout their six years of elementary school.  Hopefully I can help to support their growth in reading and technology as well as actively integrating all the curricular areas.  Like the title of this post indicates, I have big plans.  I've been over to HV's public library to meet with the new interim children's librarian to work on setting up a back to school read aloud.  Since I just can't wait for the first day, this will give me an opportunity to start a little early.  This also opens the door for communication and collaboration between the school and public library.  I've been up to visit an independent book store to possibly supplement our book fairs at school through Scholastic and I've begun to brainstorm effective ways to reach out to collaborate with teachers and encourage their input for selection of new materials for the LMC.  I have ideas for classroom management in the LMC and strategies to keep things running smoothly.  I have plans to incorporate more storytelling features, i.e. felt board, magnet stories, puppets, and more.  Using Library Sparks' Guide to the Twitterverse, I quickly populated my twitter feeds to follow many authors and other applicable tweets.  Similarly, I've utilized their webliographies to investigate suggested sites to populate my account.  I've signed up for several of the IU and SD's workshops subsidized by a grant to learn more about technology tools that I'm not as familiar with: Moodle, Safari Montage, and others.  And, as is always the case with technology, the more things change...the more they change, so I went to a workshop on a topic I thought I was fairly well versed in and learned a ton!  Being out on maternity leave for one year can really leave you in the dust!  More on Smart Notebook 10 to come in a future post.  For each of these workshops and topics, I'll post a lil' something.  Looking forward to jumping in feet first to the school library blogosphere.  I'm here to make a splash!