Setting up a library of… links

Ever since using the Internet it was hard to keep track of the sites I visited and those I’d need to go back to sometime later because I’d need the information. Quite recently I started to use the service delicious.com – but then what about G+?

Quite early I figured out that writing paper notes wasn’t useful at all. Undiscoverable, unreadable or thrown away… Saving bookmarks in the browser solved the problem of loosing or not being able to read the notes but then again they needed to arranged in folders or lists – by hand. Adding a description and tagging the items was supposed to help navigating through the library. Still, it’s a list, isn’t it… Recently FF introduced a sync function, requiring me to use the same browser on every OS and … well, not needing me to remember another password but a key. Still, it’s solves one problem aspect of the problem: the library’s translocal availability through syncing.

In my opinion two problems remained: a classical, user-unfriendly GUI – the display as list – and the bounding to a specific piece of software – browser and includes in worst case the OS… I figured some web-based service would be able to avoid the dependency on a piece of software and yes, there are services online. One of those so-called social bookmarking services is delicious.com – though I have to admit I’m still not sure it’s the one and only solution. However, here’s what I think is good about it:

  • Cross-platform functionality.
    All you need is a web browser. You’re not enforced to use the „right“ OS.
  • Translocal availability.
    It’s a web-based service, so it’s available wherever I’d need to access the information.
  • Visualisation / Usability.
    The collection can be visualised as a tag cloud, sorted by size or alphabetically.

First of all you need to login. Once you’ve done this you can go back to the website to save bookmarks. Better: Install an add-on or plug-in for your browser. Any site visited can be added to the library with two clicks. You may tag it and add a description. In its simplest form the collection can be visualised in the form of a dull list or in the form of a tag cloud. Tagging is pretty important: The search function is based on the tags, you add them up till you find what you need.

Negative aspects noticed so far: Registration, login, and only available as long as the service exists. You might think having to tag each item is dull work but I’d say it’s the service’s strength since you’re building up your very own personal tag cloud. How usable it is in the end is up to you. Tag it as precise as possible I’d say!
I must admit I’m not using the social features really so if you’re using delicious.com I’d be glad to add some people. However, even though you might not be using or wanting to use the service you can follow up on my collection by visiting my profile.

I was hoping G+ would offer some sort of this service since it encourages the user to plus a website. This plus’d item will be added to the list you can find in your profile. Still, it’s a list. Jeff Jarvis said something similar lately, asking why there was no such function enabling the user to search within their own updates – and reading the comments below there seems to be a way around. Though I’d say if Google wants to compete with, as it seems, such a service, they should start working on the usability of the plus’d sites… G+ will need some more time I guess. Right now it doesn’t seem to be clear what the plus’ing really „is supposed to mean“ – and it’d be quite interesting to have a look on how the 18.000.000+ users are using the feature.

As I said earlier I don’t think delicious.com is the only good service available. We’ll see if G+ wants to compete in this sector as well. So long I’d be thankful for your ideas on how to collect and organise URLs – short: how to set up a library of links.

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