Social Bookmarking

What is it?

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata.

How does it work?

In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.

Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags instead of the traditional browser-based system of folders, although some services feature categories/folders or a combination of folders and tags. They also enable viewing bookmarks associated with a chosen tag, and include information about the number of users who have bookmarked them. Some social bookmarking services also draw inferences from the relationship of tags to create clusters of tags or bookmarks.

Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.

As these services have matured and grown more popular, they have added extra features such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features. Examples of such services are Digg, Stumbleupon,, and many, many more.

Social Bookmarking in Plain English by Common Craft

Uses as an Instructional Technology

Share a group of links with students
  • Create a collection of links tagged with a specific keyword (e.g. foreign_policy) and share those links with your students.
Students can find and share resources on specific topics
  • Create a course login/account and share it with the class. Direct the class to add links relevant to specific tags, perhaps prepared ahead of time by the faculty member. Though many links will be less than scholarly, some may reveal surprising information that could prove useful and timely to the course.
Things to consider
  • Links added to digg and are “public” by default. Be careful to keep links “private” if you don’t want to share specific links.
  • Everyone has a different way of “tagging”. One person may tag a site as “economics”, while another may tag the same site as “money” or “statistics”. Remind students to be careful to create consistent tags and to check spelling when tagging.
  • You may be interested in reading the ELI 7 things you should know about Social Bookmarking.

The content on this page was derived from webpages maintained by the Duke University Center for Instructional Technology
The content on this page was derived from the Social Bookmarking page maintained by Wikipedia