I'm pleased to announce that my screencast about tagging has been released and showcased by NTEN! I created this screencast back in September/October of last year, so this release has provided a great opportunity to meta reflect on the whole screencast creation process as well as consider how my views about the use of tagging have evolved.
I've thought long and hard about how video editing amplifies my compulsive nature and how I need to reduce my ratio of video minutes viewed per hours of editing time! I hope to share some simple and fun ways to create "shoulder-to-shoulder" instructional media for the panel on Screencasting at NTC I'm doing.
While I'm still very much passionate about screencasting, I've come to dislike the term. I personally want to move away from the metaphor of making movies of the computer screen to more shoulder-to-shoulder instructional media and perhaps something that is more participatory or for lack of a better word, social. Maybe it is more like moment capture. How do you create good instructional media in a reasonable amount of time and do a good enough job that helps people learn something by viewing it?
That's enough meta for now.
If you're still with me, let me share some tidbits about that photo. I created it for the screencast to illustrate the definition of tagging. What is really interesting to me is that the photo - which I composed and uploaded into flickr is my most commented, favorited, and viewed photo! (It was even favorited by this guy I don't know named Joshua) I've also had many requests from folks to use in their tagging presentations. Again, shows me the power of open content and open source thinking.
Here's the script from the screencast written back in October. Some of my thinking has definitely evolved ....
These program notes will help you implement some of the ideas presented in the screencast. If you have questions about tagging or want to share your organization’s experience (good and bad) with social bookmarking, the NTEN Affinity Group, NpTagvocates, is a great place for discussion with your peers on these topics.
Act 1: The Problem
Many nonprofits professionals have to manage a lot of information on the web and share it with their co-workers or clients. In many smaller organizations, where there are not enough resources for a high-end knowledge management system, people end up using their browser favorites or forward links to one another via email. Unfortunately, these methods make sharing and managing information resources difficult.
(1) The folder structure of your favorites list is not always flexible enough to allow for easy cross referencing
(2) Bookmarks can’t be accessed from different locations or computers
(3) Links can get lost in email
(4) Knowledge management is a solitary endeavor, not a social one.
Act 2: Definitions
Tagging and social bookmarking can be useful techniques for smaller
nonprofits to easily share their information resources. But first, some
Users add tags to describe online items, such as images, videos, bookmarks or text. These tags are then shared and sometimes refined. For a more detailed definition of tags, see the Wikipedia entry here.
Here are the examples I showed you in the screencast, using the tag “sharpie.”
For an excellent primer on tagging, see Andy Carvin’s PBS LearningNow essay.
Social bookmarking is the practice of saving bookmarks to a public web site and describing them with tags. You simply register with a social bookmarking site, typically a free service, which lets you store bookmarks, add tags of your choice, and designate your individual bookmarks as public or private. You can search for resources by keyword, person, or popularity and see the public bookmarks, tags, and classification schemes that users have created and saved.
7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking published by Educause is an excellent introduction to social bookmarking for non-technical folks.
There are many social bookmarking services available on the web.
The ones most often mentioned by members of the nonprofit technology
community include this short list:
If you want a detailed comparison of these and other social bookmarking services, you can read one at Consultant Commons. If you want to find out who else uses what social bookmarking service in the nonprofit tech sector, check out Social Source Commons.
As mentioned in the screencast, Del.icio.us,
which was purchased by Yahoo, is a good place to start. It has
a critical mass of users, is fairly easy to use, and it is free. You’ll
want to read the Del.icio.us Getting Started Guide as a first step and review other help documents as needed.
Act 3: The Benefits
People use words that they themselves like to use to categorize things.
It is more straightforward than choosing a folder.
The information is one place
The social aspect is a very important benefit. If you are skeptical, think about having 24/7 access to your co-workers, bosses or a subject matter expert’s bookmarks. Wouldn’t that be useful?
With many people tagging, the social aspect exposes us to the intelligence of the group, which may add other tags, making the resource even more findable. You can read more about how tagging makes knowledge management a more social experience in this paper by Rahmi Sinha, researcher. I like the article and diagram so much, I included it in the screencast.
Tagging and social bookmarking make it easy to share what you know with others or a community by simply exposing your delicious url. As a trainer, I let people know my del.icio.us url when they ask for additional resources. For example, I’ve tagged lots of nonprofit tagging examples with “nptag” and you can find them here: http://del.icio.us/kanter/nptag
Many organizations use social bookmarking services to share resources more informally with
clients than through a web site. A few nonprofits are using
socialbookmarking to track resources or follow particular topics for
trend analysis for strategic planning.
Sometimes you may not want to expose all of your bookmarks. Most services offer a “tag as private” feature. (Look in the “settings” to enable this feature in del.icio.us)
This article will give you a more detailed description of the benefits:Tagging Gives Web Human Meaning
Act 4: Getting Started
I presented a very easy template for using tags and social
bookmarking services to share internal information with a team,
committee, or a few staff members. There are different ways you can
design this project, but this is a very simple approach that you can
build on later.
Step 1: Discuss Tagging Policy
Tagging can get sloppy – spelling errors, verbs v.s. nouns, etc. You probably noticed that about my tag stream. This can make trouble down the road if you want to publish your resources to a web site using an RSS. So, come up with a few standard tags. But don’t get bogged down – you’re not creating a formal taxonomy, rather it’s a folksonomy. Also, people can add whatever additional tags they want so they can remember the item as well as a description.
Tags Strengths, Weaknesses And How To Make Them Work by Robin Good
Tips for Effective Tagging from TechSoup
Tips for Tidying Tags by Alexandra Samuel
Step 2: Set up an organizational account and get everyone set up
If you are using tagging to manage internal information sharing, it is probably best to set up one account and let everyone have the userid/password. Set up everyone with a bookmarklet tool and show them how to use it.
It is very easy to get started bookmarking as I showed you in the screencast. The most difficult part will be to switch from your habit of using the browser favorites list to the bookmarklet tool.
Step 4: Share the bookmarks
The simplest way to share your bookmarks is to publish or share
your del.icio.us url which your username. For example, my username is
kanter and my url is:
You can also share a particular tag such as “tagging” as follows:
And, you can share any combination of tags as follows:
If you want to share a resource with a single individual outside
your organization and who also uses del.icio.us, you can use the
“for:username” tag to direct the resource into that user’s in-box.)
Publishing an RSS Feed of Your Bookmarks onto Your Web Site
If you want to publish on your blog or web site, it is a two step
process. First you have navigate to the RSS feed scrolling down the to
bottom of the page and clicking on the orange RSS icon. For my account,
my RSS feed is located at:
You can also navigate to a particular tag, and then find the RSS feed if you want to just publish resources that have been tagged with a particular tag. For example, if I wanted to publish the resources that I’ve tagged with tagging. The URL would look like this:
For additional project designs and ideas, see the following case studies:
If you want to see more, you can find them in my del.icio.us account:
: The Tips
It’s much better to watch these than for me to write about them, but for a quick reminder, here are they:
1. Edit and clean up your bookmarks
2. Review your collection by navigating by tag
3. Browse the bookmarks of colleagues and subject matter experts
4. If you don’t know their account URL, ask them
5. Browse by tag and other users when beginning to research a topic
6. Use in combination with search
7. Browse the NpTech tag
Here are some more advanced tips and tricks:
Seven Habits of Wildly Successful Del.icio.us Users
Solitary Office: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moriza/
DefinitionsComputer café users: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maebmij/123180774/
Act 3: Benefits
Act 4: Getting Started