Given Beth’s activity with nonprofits, I loved a lot of the words in her cloud. Her two word cloud was sweet, chock-filled with things like, “digital natives,” “raise awareness,” and “relationship building.”
What I did was the discussion for the first 3/4 and saved the how-to QA for the end. If I had inserted the how-to demo in the moment when we discussed it, not sure if that would have been confusing or helpful.
I also experimented with pointing to other people's tutorials in the exercise instructions versus recreating my own which was probably less helpful to the beginner taggers.
I gained some valuable insights about participants approach and reflections about tagging. I realized that I have three distinct styles for tagging depending on whether I'm:
-actively researching a topic for workshop curriculum -tagging links for my link blog -general finding resources that I might want to refer to later
I'm ready to go back and read this articles and improve my own tagging habits:
I've been enjoying email threads with Steve Song about teaching tagging. He pinged me today to point me to his reflection on a recent tagging workshop. His blog looks like a valuable resource and I just subscribed. If you're interested in collaboration and facilitation from an nonprofit perspective, you should subscribe too.
Photo by Chris Heur
I just finished the first part of a Webinar series on tagging for Extension. What I have really enjoyed about teaching (and learning) with Extension professionals is their willingness to experiment.
A few weeks back Nancy White, Steve Song, and I traded some emails about workshop curriculum to teach tagging nonprofit and development professionals. Some notes are on the KM4Dev Wiki. So, its been on my mind how to translate some of the off activities to an online environment in light of the Webinar.
When doing the icebreaker face-to-face, I ask people to “tag themselves” with actual tags and then walk around the room and find someone they want to have a conversation with based on their tag. So, I wanted to port this online. The Extension initiative using Adobe Breeze with has a chat function that is has private chat. I had about 20 people on the call. Here were the instructions:
Pick three words or tags that describe your work focus that you are most passionate about
Something you would love to have a conversation about it
Type those three words into the chat
Take a minute to scan the chat transcript (full screen of that window)
Find someone based on their keyword to have a private chat
Have a conversation
Ask them to share an important web resources on that topic
In the physical room or face-to-face, people can see whether or not someone is talking with another person. So, I was a little afraid that some people would get pinged by two others. I got some questions about how to use the private chat and I was able to guide them through that. What I didn't realize was that Breeze has color coding for the chat that indicates whether your chat is being shared with the group or another person.
As the instructor, in the physical space, I say three minutes, but it may be slightly shorter or longer because I use the noise level in the room to determine when to stop and debrief. With the chat, I had not idea whether people were engaged in a meaningful chat or not. If I had everyone chat to one another at once, that might have been too chaotic.
The point of the exercise was to be able to say:
Tagging allows you to connect with other people who are interested in the topics you care about – to share or discover resources.
We didn't get a chance to verbally debrief or via chat - what was the experience like. So, I'm hoping some of the participants will offer that in the comments.
One of the questions that came up was "How do get a tagging community - does it start on its own or is there some guidance or facilitation?" A little bit of both.
With the reflection exercise - I decided to create it by pointing to exciting instructional materials - both videos and text instructions.
Next week I'm teaching a two-part online workshop that includes a Webinar, Action Learning Exercise, and A Reflection Discussiona for Extension professionals and how they can begin to use tagging for collaboration and knowledge shraing.
I decided to use the Ethan Zuckerman advice of point don't write -- and pointed to some excellent screencasts and videos about social bookmarking. I'm thinking about doing a remix though because there is redundancy and also because I just discovered a way to download youtube videos and convert them so I can remix.
The presentation wiki and resources can be found here.
Here's an example of "social search" in action ... both Nancy White (via the for: option in delicious) and Michele Martin (via email) sent me the link to the recent Pew Internet report on tagging. I'm summarizing the parts I found interesting:
The give us some numbers of tagging, although since it is the first time they have asked about tagging there is not data to determine whether tagging is increasing or not.
A December 2006 survey has found the at 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day online, 7% of internet users say they tag or categorize online content.
The report also includes an interview with David Weinberger who on his blog wonders how many taggers it takes for tagging to become a vital web resources?
Even if just 1% of Web users tagged resources with some
regularity, they would be creating handholds for the other 99%. That 1%
will add a layer of meaning (or "semantics," if you prefer the way that
sounds) that will seed enough innovation and connectedness of ideas—and
thus of people—that we'll have to go straight from Web 2.0 to Web 4.0. (Web 3.0 is about the Web getting "lemony-scented," so it's just as well that we're skipping it.)
The reports gives us a demographic snap shot of who is tagging now ("Classic early adopters, people under 40" - guess I'm not a classic early adopter). The reports suggests that tagging is poised to go mainstream because of more and more sites, like Google and Yahoo, make it easier to tag. The report also shares some traffic data for the popular tagging sites, Flickr and Delicious.
The meat of the report is an interview with David Weinberger on why Tagging Matters.David Weinberger has thought through the many ways tagging changes people’s relationship to information and each other.
His reasons why tagging matters:
First, tagging lets us organize the vastness of the Web -- and even our email, as Gmail has shown -- using the categories that matter to us as individuals. You may want to tag, say, a Stephen King story as “horror,” but maybe to me it's “ghost story” and to a literature professor it's “pop culture.” Tagging lets us organize the Net our way.
Second, Tagging also allows social groups to form around similarities of interests and points of view. If you're using the same tags as I do, we probably share some deep commonalities. And, by looking over the public field of tags, we can see which tags are most frequently used and how they relate. Those patterns are called “folksonomies” -- it's a play on the word “taxonomies.” Folksonomies reveal how the public is making sense of things, not just how expert cataloguers think we ought to be thinking.
He also describes how the act of tagging isn't purely selfish
There's an altruistic appeal to tagging as well. Tagging at public sites can give you a sense that you're adding to a shared stream of knowledge. At del.icio.us, or other such sites, tag a page “robotics” and you know that it's automatically added to the list of pages tagged that way, so anyone else interested in that topic can find it.
He acknowledges the problems with tagging, as we've heard elsewhere.
Tags work because they're so simple, but because they're so simple, they can be ambiguous. So, if you need to find everything about a topic, you often can't rely on tags.
More broadly, some worry that folksonomies can be a type of “tyranny of the majority,” in which the prevalent group's way of thinking about the world overwhelms the local and the quirky. That's something to watch out for, but by analyzing tag sets we can also build a tag thesaurus that knows that the tag “roman” may be equivalent to the tag “novel” in some circumstances.
Hmm ..how is a tag thesaurus different a taxonomy?
When asked about the future of tagging, he points to wider adoption and creative ways for harvesting tagging. He gives an example:
Flickr is about cluster photographs by subject with impressive accuracy just by analyzing their tags, so that photos of Gerald Ford are separated from photos of Ford Motor cars. We'll also undoubtedly figure out how to intersect tags with social networks, so that the tags created by people we know and respect have more “weight” when we search for tagged items. In fact, by analyzing how various social groups use tags, we can do better at understanding how seemingly different worldviews map to one another.
I've asked Marshall to put a forward on the old feed.
But is it fixed?
Digital Diner gave us a thoughtful post about the pros/cons of taxonomy
versus folksonomy, and the quality (or lack of) in user-generated
content. A brilliant reflection, if only presenting one point of view, but still worth reading! It's here.
Gavin raises some good questions:.
What the hell is the "NPTech" tag and how would one use it anyway?
What purpose do folksonomies serve? How are they different from taxonomies?
What's good or useful about user-generated content and what's just entertaining or cute.
I’d be curious sometime to look more at the amount of tagging that
really goes on. I am convinced it is from a relatively small number of
individuals (but bless them for being tag-nostic) ... I’m not comparing the tagging rate per conference, but realizing that…
very few people tag. You have to be rather anal or committed or a
folksonomy addict or … I am not convinced that tagging is anywhere
close to a tipping point.
I might be tempted to agree with him. However, it makes me think of the concept of newsmastering and whether nor not it should be expanded to tagging.
Alan, this is also an experiment in silo busting ...
Just found Sonny Cloward's post about how he used delicious/tags to get resource content published and organized on the Web site. Here's his post explaining how he did it. Here is what the resource section looks like.
Therefore added thought bubbles to represent the publishing side of the tag usage. Sonny's would be using tags to publish a resource directory to a web site. The informal is an organizational's informal sharing of resources with clients - off the official site, face-to-face, sharing the delicious url, or in person.
What I like about his approach is that he explains the work flow process:
My aim in using a set of webs services to create content on our
website was to give staff the ability to easily manage portions of the
site without having to get heavily involved in the Drupal CMS interface
(and editing UI). With help from Marnie, I began to understand how I could bootstrap the RSS feeds generated by del.icio.us
in order to create dynamic content on an otherwise static website,
while giving control and responsibility to the staff to manage their
sections of the website (and in the process freeing me up). Here's are
the tools we use and how we use them:
So everytime a program manager comes across a valuable web resource, they simply use the Firefox plugin to
add it to del.icio.us, and it is automatically added
to the appropriate resource listing on CERF's website.
Just came across this interesting example of nonprofit tagging via a blog post on netsquared by enoch choi. Dr. Choi is an individual contributor to Google Health Co-op and works on the
non-profit Palo Alto Medical Foundation's tagging efforts @ Google
Health Co-op as well. The intent of the tagging is to improve healthcare search for patients.
Here is his description from one of his personal blog posts:
The work I’m doing with Google Co-op involves helping make a list of
the URL (universal resource locator, the web address) of websites to
improve health-related searches. These labels will appear at the top of
Google search results for search queries regarding any health related
term. Subscribing to me means you trust my annotations (tagged links)
and those links increase in importance within your search results when
you use google to look for health topics. I’ve been tagging via
del.icio.us for a while, and my purpose was to try to help make higher
quality health information easier for people to find. I don’t see how
Yahoo has been improving del.icio.us and the bookmarklet is getting
slower and slower.
Pretty powerful - combining tagging with search - the human curation of information. Reminds me of something I read in Andrew Blau's paper, "More Than Bit Players" and now can't find it exactly.
I'm tagging information related to discussion, examples, and comments about nonprofits using tagging (or not using tagging) to prep for upcoming session at netsquared.org with the tag del.icio.us/nptag.
A quick analysis of the types (create a visual with mindmanager - concentric circles? or something like this?)
Tagging for Self or Finding: Other term used at social architecture conference was "tagsturbation." Tagging "So I can find it later." Keeping found things found. (Joshua Schacter at Berkman Center lecture notes Oct. 2005) Susan Tenby's response to the question, "Why I use Tags" shows progression from retrieval, to social bookmarking, to sharing with others - on a personal level.
Tag Sniffing: The old term for this was intellectual butt
sniffing, crude. But in the old days, it was when you met with a
colleague you respect because of their knowledge in your field at their
office or in their home, and you checked out their bookshelf. Or you
head someone speak at a panel at a conference, and you ask for the
three best books or articles to read. What I am talking about here is
if I know someone in my field whose knowledge I respect and they use
tagging, I might subscribe to their tag stream or check out what
they've bookmarked on a particular topic.
Tag Mentoring: The flip side -- the intentional use of tagging to share what you know with another person or persons informally. The trainer sharing with students, the consultant sharing with clients, beyond face interaction. Throwing seeds out? Metaphor? Is this how Npower Michigan is using delicious? (Note from Andy - 3 people on his team are starting to use it because they got sick of getting emails w/url or resource links. Plan to use eventually to share resources with clients that aren't on the official web site.)
Internal Organizational Collaboration/Resource Sharing- within the walls of one organization that different offices locations and/or distributed staff or volunteers in terms of time or location. (The ctc I worked with and started to write about in this place -- (going from bookmarking to social bookmarking stories) scan netsquared case studies for others) Like having access to my coleagues bookmark or rolodex with having to call them and interupt them. Not having to start from scratch on a presentation, report, or resouce referral. (Emily's post)
Beyond Organizational Borders/Collaboration/Resource Sharing: This might be an existing group of people who know
each other face-to-face, are distributed, and need to share resources on a topic or be able to find the good stuff in one place. Marc Sirkin and the lls tag. See also Marc's post w/more reflections.
Community of Practice: The people might already know each other and be collaborating on a topic of professional interest in other ways and have added the use of tagging to their tool box. (Ask Joistke if this relates to her comment on my post. Relates to Nancy's work on communitytools and her thinking here. Also, CPSquared action learning exercise on using tagging -- round up here.
A tag community. "A loosely coupled community." This is an aggregation of the above ... A community that forms because they are interested in the topic of the tag and have discovered/follow the tag stream and/or contribute to it. The class story is the nptech community and Never Again. Also, tagging mashed with search - for example, healthcare information in Google by Enoch Choi.
All of the above is about challenge of making change (see Senge sidebar in this article)
Posts/Discussions on the topic:
Jilliane's Post - Tagging for Nonprofits: Reflections on learning to tag and nonprofit capacity to adopt this new technology.
Marnie's posts on tagging
- includes some live blogs from tag camp for good context -synthesis of
technical/business side as well as her evolving thinking on nonprofits
I "met" Andy Roberts via CP2 web2.0 online workshop - which was fantastic. His reflections remind me that I wish I could have immerse myself in the entire content (which was enormous) for the entire month, but those exercises and discussion that I managed to swoop into provided me with significant learning. Particularly the tagging discussion which included an action learning exercise as well as lot of sharing of resources and information about tagging.
It also reminded me that I haven't posted my own reflection.
What I liked about the experience was the combination of people who were somewhat new to tagging and others who have been doing it for a while. It was great to engage with the "newbie" experience of tagging and delicious and hear the reactions (both good and bad.)
The exercise went something like this and it struck me that if I ever taught a workshop on how to use tagging that I would definitely do something like this, tailored to the group's interests of course.
Think of at least three people who have influenced you the most in your work in communities of practice.
Go to del.icio.us, a social bookmarking or tagging tool, and create an account (if you don't already have one).
Go to a link or resource that you most associate with each of your influential people and post and tag the link in your my del.icio.us. We ask you to use at least 4 tags (preferably 6 or so) one of of which must be "CoP+maven" (chosen as an already blank tag set).
In your my del.icio.us page explore out to see where and to whom your tag links take you.
Come back later, give the system time to update, and spend a brief time exploring the search aspects of your tags, others linked tags and the common tags. Do a search on our prescribed tag CoP+maven or use this URL http://del.icio.us/tag/"CoP+maven"
When finished return here and reflect on your experience. Let's see where this shared task leads us!
This lead to us some deeper reflection questions:
Is popularity (frequency of the number of people who bookmark a link) an indication of quality?
Is using more tags beneficial to finding or sharing or a hindrance?
Did I discover resources that I would not have discovered if I did a google search on COP or communities of practice experts and all the combinations there of?
Do you have to be disciplined and structured in your search methods/approach to reap benefits from Delicious or is a non-linear approach useful - or does it depend on the user?
How can keep from getting so distracted with this tool!
Does having more tags help you find something faster or does it get in the way?
The one aspect of delicious that frustrates me is when I find another user whose bookmarks are of great interest to me, I want to know more about them. Many times only userids are given, not their blogs or affiliations.
The discusison thread on sharing resources was amazing ... it's going to take me months to digest. I also shared some of the pointers to the NPTECH tag experiment and was glad that Andy and others found it useful:
1) The story about community developing around the nptech tag.
Reading through Beth Kanter’s H20 playlist allowed me to see the shape of how this process unfolded, thus bringing a whole new idea into my mind. It is significant because once this possibility is understood, then the senses are alerted to the pattern and may be able to spot opportunities for intervening to help a similar process along. The elegance in the naming of the evolved tag name “nptech” compared with the more contrived “COP+maven” used in the excercise is probably a significant sucess factor and perhaps sheds some light on the disadvantages of both “DAR” and “distributedactionresearch” as tags
I didn't create the Nptech experiment or community - that kudos goes to Marnie Webb and others. The reason I created the playlist was because I had trouble wrapping my brain around what actually happened and the playlist provided a comfortable linear mechanism-- an outline structure. Also, I had in the back of my mind that I might right a reflection in action case study on how adhoc communities may form, work, and dissappear via tagging. Also, this other chicken/egg idea -- the fact that Web2.0 tools can be catalyst for adhoc communities to form -- what those communities look, their life cycle, etc ... (in my spare time .. ha ha ha)
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. Benjamin Franklin
RLG is a not-for-profit organization of over 150 research libraries,
archives, museums, and other cultural memory institutions. The organization maintains a blog called "Hanging Together," the name inspired by the Ben Franklin quote above. It's described as:
HangingTogether is a place where some of the staff at RLG, a
membership organization of libraries, archives, and museums, can talk
about the intersections we see happening between these three different
types of institutions. We travel to our members a lot and go to
conferences and wanted to be able to take note of the interesting
things we see along the way. Stop in, stay awhile, and hang out.
On the Museums/Computers list, there has been a vigorous discussion about folksonomies and Günter Waibel has done an excellent job of summarizing it.
Powerhouse Museum Electronic Fabric Swatch Book is a really cool project and an example of using a folksonomy as a way to address the reality that Museums often use
subject categorizations that don't reflect the terms most people use
when searching online. According to the Museum's Web Manager, Sebastion Chan:
"The swatchbook has a lot of high resolution public domain (in Aust) fabric swatches available for download. Unfortunately, as they come from a series of physical fabric swatchbooks they have been catalogued by the Museum as three separate books. Each book contains numerous swatches, all of which are unlabelled.
We have, since the launch, been inviting users to describe the swatches. As these descriptions are added by users of the site they go into a database as search terms alongside the particular swatch record. Once we have a critical mass of descriptors then we will turn on searching which will enable searching by colour and pattern etc."
I'm fighting the temptation to want to create a digital bloggers quilt .... grab a fabric patch, write a post, and stitch it together with a technorati tag like "digital.quilt"
This project is one of several where museums experimenting with folksonomies. The Art Museum Community Cataloging Project is another experiment of how social tagging of art may make it more accessible to the general public. The project uses a tool named, STEVE, an open-source tool for enabling social
tagging of museum object images to create folksonomies.
The project description:
Popular Internet applications that take advantage of social tagging – think flickr and del.icio.us – have captured our collective imagination over the past year. Museums could learn from these
developments, and use folksonomic classification both to improve access to on-line collections and to provide the foundation for community-based services that reinforce the role of the museum.
The room was packed and it wasn’t because of the free pizza. Clearly the people in the room were del.icio.us groupies, including me. I arrived early so I could get a good seat, which paid off because I was close enough to Schachter that I video taped his elevator speech and got a business card, too! He was pleased again to hear about the nptech, too.
Some interesting chit chat before the session went live over
Weinberger: “What irks
Schachter: “I’m labeled
as the Web 2.0 poster child and I don’t know what it means. Oh, maybe I do, a logo with a gradient or
diagonal lines in the header and CSS forms. And, talking about Web 2.0 is Web 2.0 is very Web. 2.0. ”
The first ten minutes were a discussion between Weinberger
and Schachter and then the remaining 70 minutes was wide ranging discussion and
Weinberger: “There is huge
excitement around the social aspect of del.icio.us and yet as you say the tool is
also for an individual to help remember where something is, as a business going
forward how will you balance the individual versus the social/group?
Schachter didn’t feel there was necessarily tension between
individual and the group. “You get more out of the system when the
motivation is selfish. For example, you
as an individual find a page you want to remember. You might tag it with “read_later,” so those
tags work well for you, but not necessarily the social system. It doesn’t describe the content. The tags you use to describe something should
be intuitive so you can recall the bookmark. You can assume, however, that
someone will tag the item for how the group does it.”
Weinberger started the next question off with “You’re the
poster child for Web 2.0 and folksonomy.” Schachter jumped in with, “I don’t use the word ‘folksonomy. Tagging in delicious is about 1/3
classification and 2/3 functionality. Something easy to do that let's you recall the item. The goal isn’t to classify, it’s to
Weinberger said, “The other aspect of delicious is that I
can participate in a tag stream that is of interest to me. For example, taxonomy. That stream of tags that comes through
everyday is very rich and a valuable resource. One of the reasons that I tag stuff is that I want to contribute to the
Schachter, “Exactly, think of tags as votes. You’re doing it for yourself, but the good of
the group. Delicious is about memory
first, discovery second.
Weinberger noted, “Delicious feels so social to us, we want
to know who else has tagged the information, we want to know who they are.” Schachter, “I haven’t come out with a pleasing way
display the information. When delicious
tells you the number of people who bookmarked, I hate the way it
looks. When I took it out, people complained. I replaced it with a bar
graph. It shows popularity – large number. If just one other person
shows a link. Popularity or lack of
popularity lets you know something.”
Weinberger, “One of the problems with tagging is the
ambiguity of language that we use for tags. Enterprise can mean one
thing in the business community or it can mean Star Trek. What are you going to do as the system gets
larger?” Schachter replied, “Clustering
the data. One tag by one person is one tag by a human. From there, you do math to make connections
to what other people are using with the help of statistics. Show your terms in their language.”
Schachter said there are new features coming that are more
social or will be group oriented. The
first one will be the ability to pick out people for my network and the other
will be private groups or private tagging networks. Both of the features have a chance of
Then it was opened up for questions -- that were as wide ranging as the answers ... Some interesting
Schachter watches how people use (and abuse) the system and
makes changes based on that.
You can tag something with for:person or delicious account.
Tagging file formats like mp3, video, future might be to tag
file types (ical). “I’m not trying to
tag every file format or data type, but what’s possible, doable, and
There will be no handbook or style guidelines for tag syntax
on delicious (e.g. no use dot, but not colon). “I’m very hesitant to suggest how people how to do. We get 40 emails a day telling us what should
go in “politics” what should go in art. Like, yeah, I’ll get right on that.”
His definition of tag spam:
A bookmark with 1,000 different tags
There 2-3 spam incidents a week. We have an abuse monitor. I let
activity happened, and then I figure
out the activity and compensate the system. It’s a reactive approach. The type of spam that is happening now is posting
and deleting to stay on the front page.
If I quickly block people off, when aggressive spammers come
to the system, I’ll make so that site can’t be bookmarked. I block it form everyone.
Why doesn’t spam happen a lot more? Right now, delicious blocks out google page
reference and spammers want to get page rank. So, spammers don’t bother.
Ownership of Data
If you want to get the data, talk to Joshua. He asks: “Is it taking money away from me?” There are ways people could make money from extracting the data and there are safeguards to prevent that.
When the user “Types Some Stuff In (TSSI)” and if I could only search as tags, I wouldn’t
necessarily find everything. People search differently than they tag. The other part of del.icio.us is discovery.
Bookmarking for a site
O’Reilly now has a link that lets people bookmark an article into
delicious (see here for example). But they have gotten too busy to analyze the information.
Technorati Use of Delicious Tagged Items
Right now Technorati picks up the RSS for a tag. For example, we get 15 million hits a day and only 1 million were hits from Technorati. They only drive only 400 hits back). I’m not pleased. I don’t know what to do about it.
Other interesting tidbits
There is a dating service that uses tags to match people, it’s
Are there a large number of people collecting large
collections versus using it? There are people using it who aren’t users.
How much of data do you have? Lots and lots, Tens
of millions of posts, 100,000
people. 500,000 unique tags.
Can you analyze the speed? He is working on finding early finders. If you bookmark something and than 1,000
people bookmark. If you bookmark
something six months ago and over time more people bookmark it?
Ruby Sinreich at Lotus Media has written an excellent post on "Why Nonprofits Should Use Tags." Ruby suggests there are two main reasons why bloggers use tags: 1. Other bloggers do it, and 2. they value the idea of contributing to a collective folksonomy. So tags can be a great way to encourage blogging about your issues. Marnie Webb posted this comment: "I think a critical second step for nonprofits is to use RSS to
syndicate the tag stream (for lack of a better phrase) onto their own
website." I've been watching her linkblog (that little side bar of her deliciou finds) and decided to add on to my blog .... (since I use it as a teaching tool ...)
That's the visual that I did on gnomz.com after I read Alexandra Samuel's postabout how to select tags for delicious. You see, I was having a few sleepless nights of my own. I really wanted to know why she stuck with delicious. Her answer: Delicious puts the social in social bookmarking. She offers a great list of why delicious is great as well as a list of improvements. Now, I'm lying awake wondering whether or the article on social bookmarking tools that we started over at consultantcommons should focus more on the benefits of social bookmarking for nonprofits and less on a side-by-side indepth comparison of tools. What do you think Marnie?
UPDATE: Some reflections from Alan Levine about JOTS
In the comment section of Alan's JOTS ROCKS post, I asked him "Upon reflection, what are your thoughts about JOTS?"
I may have tempered a bit of the excitement… I would say for a basic
and individual bookmark management tool Jots works great and has pretty
much the features of del.icou.us. They are new and likely adding
features. Jots has an open API if you do that sort of thing.
If the social aspect of it is key where you use the sheer size of
people participating in tag surfing, I’d say stay in del.ico.us. It has
the most in terms of “geek” factor (barebone but workable interface)
I do not spend a whole lot of time poking around- my main priority is a
searchable organizer that is quick to add things.
In another post on Alan Levine's CogDogBlog, I found a comic creator that is designed as social software tool for those who are drawing impaired. After attending the Berkman Center Thursday evening bloggers session called "Tagging is Fabulous, Tagging is Crap," I had wanted to create a comic -- but my stick figures looked funny. Why didn't I find this last week? This isn't a waste of time -- it is a great way to visualize information and create some unique visuals for a presentation.
The session begain with an overview of some of the familiar services that are using tagging. There was also a look at the differences between spurl, furl, and delicious in terms of clusters, related tags, bookmarking widgets, private tags, etc.
Tagging allows you to categorize information without being forced to use a pre-determined vocabulary and allows other to easily contribute content
User has control to select a "tag" or "name" that is meaningful to the user
The social processes of tagging - the way the name becomes useful to the group and is one of the benefits
Tagging from the point of view of taggers. If you wanted to sell this inside a corporation, show the tag stream for the tag taxonomy. Experts in taxomony find great urls. The stream of interesting knowledge that comes out of it …
Tagging will probably bring back standard taxonomists and make work for taxonomists. You won't see people holding signs that say "I'll tag for food."
"Internal delicious" would be very useful (earch person on staff has their tagged bookmarks and you could easiliy access it)
The tag London could mean the city of London, Julie London, or Jack London
No conventions have sprung up around tags, although it would be useful for places names so you know whether the tag "Watertown" refers to "Watertown, NY" or "Watertown, MA"
The founder of delicious didn't want to use "popular tags." Main reason is if the tag are going to be useful to YOU - the tag should express your way of thinking not the majority. However, the benefit to exposing the popular terms is that a taxonomy emerges from the bottom up. A great example of a folksonomy is ebay - where a laptop is a notebook.
A tool I hadn't seen was Zniff.com which is a search engine based on spurl tags - lets you do a search on the content of web pages.
Shimon showed frassle.net
Yesterday, Nancy White suggested that we add having the students create poetry from their tags. I was dashing out the door to get to the site in Dorchester, MA, but loved the idea so much I quickly responded via my treo (before I started driving).
When I got back from on-site work (reflections on that follow) and finished my mommy shift, I discovered that Nancy wrote a poem with her tags. Isn't it wonderful how work avoidance sparks our creative juices.
I wondered outloud in a comment. "What if you linked your tag words to something? Like your Flickr photos or your delicious bookmarks ....
So, the flow or sequence would go something like this:
* Read poems by poet (offline in books) * Talk about the poems with peers facilitated by instructor (face-to-face)
* Browse Internet related sources online comlpeting mini lessons posted in blog * Write a poem in their blog * Bookmark their blog page/poem/post in delicious using selected words as tags * Find another student's delicious bookmarked post with the same tag * Link to it from their poem
Nancy reminded me of my Arts Wire days when she responded:
So what you are proposing is actually creating a network of poems. Did you ever seen the Noon Quilt project that was done by trAce online? It was pre-tag days, but another look at hyperlinked poetry. The theme was the tag, in some sense.
My time onsite at the afterschool program was very exciting yesterday, but also had to push the pause button. I had come prepared with a general concept and the goal of exposing the staff and computer lab volunteers with the possibilities. They were excited about it and I jumped into doing a little how-to training -- it was the first time I showed someone else how to use blogger or delicious having just learned these tools myself a few days ago. I don't think I did the best job of making it very simple and easy which I'm working on now for our next meeting (step-by-step instructions with screen captures and simplified work processes).
Well off to write up a scope and sequence for this, instructional materials, and get my head back into instruction mode - I'm a little rusty.
Checked into their new delicious account and they are adding more links. Wow, some great afterschool program links and more ....
David G suggested to me that we should be posting our public bloglines subscriptions to delicious, another tool introduced during the NTC Tag You're It Session. For those of you are not ubergeeks (I'm not), del.icio.us is a social bookmarking tool.
My first taste of delicious was to transfer my link sources from my browser bookmark -- simply use it as an online bookmarking tool of old. I had a small action learning project, a kindergarten lesson plan and materials about Cambodian New Year for Harry's class to add to Cambodia4Kids. When I do Internet research for a lesson plan, I often find other sources and sometimes the same source can have multiple uses.
At the basic level, the use of tags makes it very simple and not very timeconsuming to reorganize dymanically and not have to remember where the hell you filed that great URL that had the wonderful photos of the Angkor Wat -- did you bookmark under Siem Reap, Ankgor Wat, or Khmer Culture. Or waste time hunting through all those thousands of resources that you bookmarked and were locked in hierachical structure.
But, I only scratched the surface because while delicious was easy to use, the interface was little geeky/confusing to me and the RTFM was not detailed. Reading how other npo-techies were so excited about this tool and appeared to be effortlessly using it, made me feel old and stupid. I wondered whether there was a Dummie's Guide available on someone's blog or if so, how the hell I would ever find it ...
So, I spent time browsing through nptech tag that Marnie Web set up and looking at all the urls crossreferenced for tag, tagging, and folksonomy. About five clicks into one of the bookmarked urls I found the Us.ef.ul - The beginners Guide To Delicious by John in "Beelerspace." His introduction made me feel better and now I can learn and teach this tool too.
"Delicious is easy to use, but it lacks any kind of serious documentation. Its interface is simple, which I find attractive, but it has that ubergeek slashdot unfriendly look to it. So, here’s the way to do it nice and easy .."
I'm talking about taxonomies and tagging, and at the moment I'm planning on ending with three conclusions about the potential significance of tagging:
1. Rather than knowledge ending where the miscellaneous begins, now it's beginning with the miscellaneous. (In your face, Aristotle!)
2. In the continuing battle between the forces of neatness and messiness, tagging advances the cause of messiness. (I think that's a good thing, but you're talking to a guy who last night was given the employees discount at a food stand at the airport because the cashier just assumed I worked there.)
3. We are owning not just our information but the organization of information. This is part of the project of re-meaning the world - make meaning ours - in which we've been engaged for decades.
He mentions his slides - so I asked if they were published on his site. He emailed a link where they will be available for a few days. Amazing presentation -- all visual and resonated with my earlier obsession about information overload. Need to think about this more - far more interesting than learning how to use the tool.