Death to bookmarks!

Del.icio.us icon I want to share my del.icio.us bookmarks with you. Some of my “statistically improbable” tags with many items include:

So what’s this all about?

Thirteen years ago when I was new to the web, I made bookmarks for every interesting web page that I came across. (Search was in its infancy.) After a while my bookmark list became too long, leading me to organize my Netscape bookmarks the only way available: a hierarchical tree of folders. I’m not sure it was ever any easier to find a bookmark in a big, “organized” tree of folders or a huge, unorganized list. The unreliability of computing solved this problem for me; every six to twelve months I would get a new computer or browser, and *poof* all of my bookmarks were gone. Fortunately, after living five years with this dilemma and death-cycle, someone told me about Google. But Google isn’t perfect, and I still like keeping a separate, personal, durable list of pages and PDF documents on the web that I might eventually go back to . . . a collection that’s already relevant to my needs.

Enter del.icio.us, a social bookmarking service with a geeky cute name. I no longer make browser bookmarks, though I still keep track of interesting and useful pages. And I no longer fit links into a hierarchy. Instead, when I go to an interesting page I push a little button on my browser and enter tags, which are essentially mnemonic keywords, many of which the service suggests via some computing mojo.

Later, when I’m interested in looking up that information about, say, the TIFF file format, I simply go to my del.icio.us page and click on the tiff tag, and I see all of the pages I previously tagged. In addition, del.icio.us also lets me look at all of the pages everyone has tagged “tiff”. Letting other people do hard work for me is great!

(I told a little white lie earlier. I actually do keep a handful of links within my browser’s bookmark bar, but I only keep track of sites that I use almost every week: intranet pages, movie showtimes at my local theatre, NOAA Conus weather forecasts, my Netflix queue, the admin page for this site, etc. The key is that I use them all the time.)

How about you? Do you use a social bookmarking service like del.icio.us, scuttle, or ma.gnolia? If so, what are your more unusual, high-content tags?

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