Social Bookmarking Strategies

Another good resource for social bookmarking is Social Bookmarking Strategies for Interactive Learning by Deborah Everhart & Shirley Waterhouse.  This resources is also found on Blackboard Scholar’s wiki.  Although the suggested approach was written for faculty using Blackboard Scholar, I believe the approach can work for other resources.  I would add one caveat–Blackboard allows faculty to define the tags that will be used for course searches; this is not a feature that is supported by open-source systems.

I believe there’s an opportunity to consider two approaches.  The first entails using something like Blackboard Scholar to define course tags.  The second entails a more ‘open’ approach that encourages individualized tagging.  In the first approach, an instructor can define tags by “seeding” their tag cloud with starter tags & creating (as Waterhouse & Everhart suggest) search streams based on tag combinations.  I think this is a valuable approach that can help to ‘guide’ research.

An alternative approach would be to have students attempt to find course-related information & to tag their bookmarks the way they believe makes sense.  As a follow-up, an instructor can always review student tags–or create a group assignment where students critique each other’s labels.  Either way, the student can–on their own or as a course assignment–change their tags based on feedback.  The advantage of this alternative is that it promotes the development of what VanderWal calls a “folksonomy“, while helping students to discover for themselves through reflection & critique the relevance of their approach to research information.

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