Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Me and del.icio.us

Today I visited with two friends in my office about del.icio.us. The first had never heard of it, the other is using it like me. In the near future I hope to grow my del.icio.us network with other friends who like to bookmark and tag interesting sites they visit.

A lot of people probably have no idea what del.icio.us is. Until I started using it I didn't either. I still don't think I know everything there is to know about it, but I do know enough to know how useful it can be in keeping track of various sites I find of interest. There are all kinds of services that provide similar features but this one has been really easy for me to use.

Del.icio.us takes advantage of two different methods of remembering any webpages you find of interest. It functions a little like the favorites/bookmarks your internet browser provides to remember your favorite websites however it has one additional feature... tags. If you don't know much about tags then I'd highly recommend you learn about them. They provide a highly user friendly method of organizing and catagorizing the items you want to remember.

My first exposure to tags was in Adobe Album several years ago. The photo organizing software allowed me to create individual tags for individual family members, places, events, which I was able to associate with specific photos I imported into the software. While it does take a little time to tag each photograph it definitely saves a lot of time when trying to find photos with specific people in them. One additional feature about the tags was how Adobe Album (now part of Adode Elements) stores this tagging information in the actual photograph file. So now, when I upload photos to one of our Flickr accounts those tags are recongized by Flickr to help find specific photos online.

My first exposure to tags on the internet was LibraryThing. LibraryThing is where I'm now keeping a catalog of all the books I have in my library or find myself reading for one reason or another. I'm able to tag each book with as many different tags as I want, with any name I can image, so I can later find it. While I am unable to physically organize my books with multiple tags I can organize my book catalog in a wide variety of ways. I've keep the number of tags I actually use down to as few as possible, but I do end up using one to three tags for each book I enter into my LibraryThing. LibraryThing was also the first place I ever saw a tag cloud. It is a really neat way to view the number and quantity of your tags.

Now, I'm starting to see tags in a lot of different places on the internet. I think tags are going to be the new thing in website design. Future websites will have to enable the end user to utilize tags in sorting, searching and organizing the data they find and end up looking for. i personally have only been exposed to the tip of the iceburg of tags but already I'm a strong believer in using them. Tags are extremely end user friendly.

I'm hoping to add more of my friends to my del.icio.us network of friends. I want to discover and learn about the sites they have found of interest because I just might find them of interest as well.