Lidia Sevilla

Social bookmarking

Sites to See:
Social Bookmarking

Exactly what is a social bookmark? Many educators already use Bookmarks or Favorites in their personal browsers to save Web sites they use frequently in class or at home. But, what if you’ve saved a site on your home computer and want to find that Web site while you’re at school? Or say you want to share your bookmarked sites on Edgar Allen Poe with other teachers? The typical bookmark/favorite system doesn’t work for these scenarios.

Also, because you can put these bookmarked sites into folders that you label with a name like “Osmosis sites” or “Civil War Documents,” there is some minimal organization, but it’s fairly limited. For example, if a site has both an interactive tool on alliteration and good biographical material on Langston Hughes, do you put it your Langston Hughes folder or your Alliteration folder — or do you put it in two folders and save it twice? What if there are not just two savable aspects of that site, but five or ten great things on very different topics? How many times do you bookmark the site and how many folders do you create?

The answer to that question is to consider using social bookmarking. That technique uses a Web-based service instead of your browser to save and organize bookmarks. Instead of individually saving the site in a variety of folders, you just type a few keywords called tags (Langston Hughes, alliteration, Black History, metaphor, rubric, and so on.), and your sites are organized automatically with sites saved by other users, using those same keywords. You even can see a list of your saved bookmarks, not just by alphabetical order, but also by how often you use a given tag. So, you know at a glance that you already have a lot of information on World War II, but not nearly as much on the Spanish-American War. Thus you benefit from the research of others, while having a far more dynamic and helpful system of organization.

The following is a list of the top sites where you can store social bookmarks and get more information on using this exciting tool in your K-12 classroom!
Don’t worry: the hardest part of this Web site is remembering how to spell it! is one of the Web’s largest social bookmarking sites. Begin by typing any keyword (Kindergarten, Polio Vaccine…) into the Discover Favorites blank and click Search. You’ll get a list of search results, much like in Google or another search engine, detailing which Web sites have been saved using that tag. Note that you can see exactly how many users have saved that site as well. Return to the home page and click Learn more for an overview of social bookmarking at This service is easy to use and free, but because there is no filter, it’s more appropriate for educators than students. A search on the word kindergarten for example might pull up a comedy clip containing language that’s inappropriate for the K-12 classroom. Still, it’s the best first-step for an educator wanting to see what social bookmarks are all about.

See the techtorial on Social Networking for step-by-step instructions on registering, tagging, and viewing sites at!

7 Things You Should Know about Social Bookmarking
Although Education World normally only lists Web sites in its Sites to See articles, this online PDF document is a not-to-be-missed resource for any educator wanting information on social bookmarking. A PDF is simply a document saved on the Web that can be viewed, saved, and printed on a computer using Acrobat Reader (free, PC and Mac), Preview (on all newer Macs) and other programs. This brochure begins with a scenario of two professors trying to save and organize Web sites. Frequently asked questions and answers fill the rest of the document. In less than five minutes, you’ll get a quick understanding of this tool!

So you like the idea of social bookmarks and want your high school history students to use social bookmarks during their research projects next semester. But you want something that protects students from inappropriate content. Consider BuddyMarks. Although not specifically targeted to K-12 users, this site does allow a closed group of users to share bookmarks. So, you could have students sign up for accounts, save and tag Web sites on certain topics, and then share them among themselves. Used for AP exam prep, this could build into an invaluable classroom resource! This service is free and fairly simple to use. Check out the About and Help links for more information, and then click Join Now to get started!

Wikipedia on Social Bookmarking
Wikipedia is the Web’s largest collaborative (anyone can add or edit entries) encyclopedia. Its strength is in its coverage of just such emerging technologies as social bookmarking. Check this page out for details on social bookmarking and its relationship to other tools. This site is particularly helpful for educators who want to know the techie nuts and bolts; for others it might be a bit too “geek-speak.” Terms — such as folksonomy and algorithms — are linked to their own entries at Wikipedia. A list of external resources also is included.

Tags Vs. Trusted Sources
Talk about emerging technologies! Here’s a blog entry on social bookmarking! Although this is a short resource, it does highlight some of the challenges/downsides of social bookmarking. EdTech leader Will Richardson suggests in this blog posting that social bookmarking simply can be too much — too much information, too much sharing. A thought-provoking essay for anyone trying to decide if this tool is beneficial for their own professional development and for their classroom!


  • Social Bookmarking from TeacherLibrarianWiki
  • Scuttle Similar to BuddyMarks, but also can be installed on a local server (such as your district or school or even classroom) for further safety. Built for the K-12 classroom, the online version is cross-platform of course, but the local install is PC or Linux only (no Mac)
  • Furl An alternative to (not filtered, so not for K-12 use)
  • Reinventing Radio: On PhoneTags Here’s something cutting edge: The BBC has begun offering cell phone users a way to text in and tag their favorite songs, with songs then save and organized online by those tags. Who said only Web sites can be tagged? What’s next — people?

Jackson, Lorrie (04/18/2006). Sites to see: Social Bookmarking. Friday, May 23, 2008 from

  1. […] understand more about social bookmarking there is an article on the page section more to see called Social Bookmarking. Another great article is the one written by Quentin D’Souza in his wiki Teaching […]

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