Okay – I was chatting to my friend PaulZag online last night and he asked whether I use the social bookmarking system del.icio.us. I had actually looked at it briefly, but with so much else on my plate at the moment, my response was:
I looked at del.icio.us Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ yet another web system of questionable value was my analysis unless you can convince me itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth the effort ?
PaulZag promised he’d post some links to some screencasts showing how del.icio.us works – apparently it is something not many people just “get” first up – you really have to see it in action to appreciate the value. Look at the links to some screencasts PaulZag posted on his blog : forget favorites, beyond bookmarks, try del.icio.us – actually very interesting and help to put some context around the process.
It actually makes a lot more sense now – I admit I had only looked at the del.icio.us site very briefly, and hadn’t had a chance to fully digest the power of the system. Given my current inclination to start providing more context to the information I work with, the del.icio.us system should actually add some value here. The sheer volume of information I deal with on a daily basis becomes unmanagable without good tools. Tagging – adding context, can help manage the information much more effectively. del.icio.us simply does the same job of managing a context meta system – but for bookmarks … for links to web information.
My current website management tool is my Firefox browser bookmarks toolbar. I have a nested structure of favourites folders that I use to categorise the links I want to refer to again in the future, and it goes some way to providing an easy-to-navigate system for locating information again.
Where this system of mine breaks down (and it does), is when I am in “full research mode” … this is where I’m trying to come up to speed on a topic very quickly, and I typically surf several hundred web pages reading, cross referencing, and learning. What typically happens is that I end up with a folder on that topic I’m researching that is full of dozens and dozens of links – that really don’t help you to find a specific bit of information that quickly. Once again, information overload floods a single-level categorisation system – and this is something that tagging those pages with more context would help with.
I think I’ll give it a go.