A tag is simply a word you use to describe a bookmark. Unlike folders, you make up tags when you need them and you can use as many as you like. The result is a better way to organize your bookmarks and a great way to discover interesting things on the Web.
Tags are one-word descriptors that you can assign to your bookmarks on delicious to help you organize and remember them. Tags are a little bit like keywords, but they're chosen by you, and they do not form a hierarchy. You can assign as many tags to a bookmark as you like and rename or delete the tags later. So, tagging can be a lot easier and more flexible than fitting your information into preconceived categories or folders.
For example, if you save an article about how to make a certain kind of cake, you can tag it with recipes sweets yogurt or whatever other tags you might use to find it again. You don't have to rely on the designer of a system to provide you with a category for French cake recipes. You make up tags as you need them, and use the tags that make the most sense to you.
This is great for organizing and finding personal data, but it goes even further when someone else posts related content using the same tags. You begin building a collaborative repository of related information, driven by personal interests and creative organization.
For instance, to view everybody's bookmarks about sweets, visit http://del.icio.us/tag/sweets. To see the most popular items tagged as sweets, visit http://del.icio.us/popular/sweets.
If you don't get it right away, that's OK -- you don't have to. Tagging is pretty intuitive and can take some practice to fully understand. Try it and experiment a bit! There are no wrong tags.
How do I tag?
When saving or editing a bookmark, there is a field for tags. In this field, enter as many tags as you would like, each separated by a space. You may notice lists of tags underneath this form. Popular tags are what other people have tagged this page as, and recommended tags are a combination of tags you have already used and tags that other people have used. You are under no obligation to use these! They are only there to help you. What tags or words would help you remember this page a few years from now? That's a good place to start. Learn more about saving bookmarks.
Some examples of tagging
You can use tags describing an article or website's subject, location, name, category, people, places, ideas -- pretty much anything you can think of. The more tags the better! (Well, most people use from one or two up to five or six tags for an item.)
The only limitation on tags is that they must not include spaces. So if your web page is about a two-word place like "San Francisco", you may want to tag it as sf, san-francisco, SanFrancisco, san.francisco, or whatever else makes sense to you. You probably don't want to use commas, though, since a comma will be become part of the tag.
You can also use tags to describe metadata about the bookmark. For example, you can use asterisks to rate bookmarks. So a tag of * might mean an OK link, *** is pretty good, and a bookmark tagged ***** is awesome. You can tag something "toread", or "via:friend". Items that you want can be tagged "wishlist", and links that might not be safe to visit at work can be tagged nsfw.
A tag can be anything you want.
Here's a neat place to start exploring tags: a cloud of frequently-used tags on delicious.
For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at Delicious and a couple of other social bookmarking sites to see how this tool could be used in your school.
1. Start your exploration of social bookmarking by watching this video by the Common Craft guys. Here is a direct link to the CC copy at their site. (This should be about social bookmarking)
2. Watch the Delicious podcast tutorial (8 minutes) This link was checked 7-6-09 and was working
3. Check out Digg
5. Check out Top 30 Social Bookmarking Sites
1. Review the resources above to get a good overview of social bookmarking - especially the Delicious tutorial.
2. Take a look around Delicious using key words /tags that fit your professiona (and perosnal needs)
3. See if you can figure out how to share your delicious site with others (students).
4. Create a blog post about your experience and thoughts about this tool. Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere? How can libraries or classroom teachers take advantage of social bookmarking sites?