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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Diigo bookmarking for Learning with Computers

To increase visibility of a Learning with Computers group discussion going on in Diigo, just one of several venues in which members of that group interact, I'm going to cross-post here a bit that I wrote there:

I'd like to offer some reflections based on observations and suggestions that other participants have made already. To those I will add a few of my own ideas about collective bookmarking.

Joao Alves (among others) urges us to adopt the "tags Diigo suggests...[, and]... agree on a special tag for the group like 'LWC' that we would always add to every bookmark we tagged" (message 5).

Recommended tags are a start, but I'm always curious about who recommends them, and what for. I suppose they represent collective practices that may be more spontaneous or less focused than ours. LWC sounds quick, and easy to remember, yet may be quite obscure to other Diigo uses who don't already know that it stands for Learning with Computers.

After many hours on screen, I prefer tags with greater visual definition than all CAP's, so CamelCase is my favorite for MultiWordTags. I'm not sure, however, whether Diigo defeats capitalization. If not, I'd prefer something like LwC.

Joao goes on to suggest,"Organizing tags in topics or bundles like in del.icio.us would be helpful to find the most relevant site about the subject we are interested in."
Though bundles in del.icio.us are quite powerful in that they enable multi-purpose uses of individual tags, as well as consolidation of similar ones, I have a distinct impression that bundling may work better with single word tags.

Having done most of my bookmarking in del.icio.us, up to now, I've hardly ever felt a need to double or triple up on words, since searching for intersections or conjunctions between tag sets in del.icio.us is a given. I'm looking forward to finding out whether Diigo offers such powerful search options.

Mary Hillis points out: "... [Y]ou could simply use quotation marks for "lesson plan". Maybe this is another advantage of using Diigo" (message 4), and Joao agrees: "... [Q]uotation marks are very useful to write tags that have 2 or more words. I have always appreciated this feature in Flickr" (message 5). The use of quotation marks to demarcate exact phases may be common to Ma.gnolia bookmarking as well.

Earlier on Susana expressed preference for using nouns as tags (message 3), a preference we share to some extent. I tended to use plural forms for countable nouns. I still do sometimes hoping that bookmarking tool search engines will recognize the word noun as a subset of the category nouns more readily, perhaps, than they recognize the word nouns as a derivative of the tag noun.

If such search parameters aren't available yet, they should be. Otherwise, generic web searches for exact quotations and partial character strings may more than suffice for finding content for which interpretation into special terminology is unnecessary.

I've also experimented with a greatest common denominator strategy that works, I imagine, rather like a bundling strategy for similar tags. Take, for instance, collaborat, a tag I tend to favor in de.licio.us to capture the essence of collaborate, collaboration, collaborative, and collaborators. Nevertheless[,] I realize that tags such as collaborat, like the tailor-made one Susana mentioned, edudiigolwc, call for awareness-raising, if not public definition and explanation, in order to be of use to wider and wider groups of bookmark browsers or connoisseurs.

Tag clouds added to blogs, for instance, or provided in group bookmarking tools themselves, for example: de.licio.us and Ma.gnolia, are means of raising awareness. Yet Diigo, as options for individual commentary, comments earmarked for groups, and discussions like this one illustrate, affords ample opportunities for explanation in situ to those wish to elaborate for the benefit of a community such as the Learning with Computers cohort. What a pleasure it is!

(How should we use the tagging system to better organize our group bookmarking, message 6, 2008.06.24 [JST])

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The Learning with Computers group venue @ Diigo is public. Please feel free to share comments here, or join us there.

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