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!


  1. Ellen,

    I did create a school-wide delicious account aimed first at student use and have added some teacher resources along the way. I try to make sure that the websites are quality, are worth frequent access, and go through our filters. It's not the account where I put sites I've just seen and might want to come back to. For that I stick with my personal account and transfer things as needed. I always tag sites related to science and social studies toward specific grade levels so students can easily sort and find theirs. The point of our account was to eliminate the time it takes in the computer lab to navigate to a site, so including 30 resources for 5th grade ecosystems is not what I needed. You can find us at SouthwestMedia. Teachers have had staff development on delicious and many have subscribed to others' accounts. Teachers all have the password for the school account, but usually I get an email asking me to add sites to the list.

    Students can access the sites from home if they want to--like you've said--that's the wonderfulness of delicious!

  2. Thanks Carolyn - I figured if I were to create a school-wide account, it would be separate from both the one I created for library/tech items and the one I created for personal use - it's getting to be a bit unwieldy, no? Regardless, thank you for the feedback - perhaps I'll do separate for teachers and students, or perhaps I'll have them tag as such. Hmmm, so much still to debate. Thanks again for the comment!