Magazine article Information Today

Quo Vadis, Delicious?

Magazine article Information Today

Quo Vadis, Delicious?

Article excerpt

I actually wrote this column in mid-December, not long after Yahoo! announced that it was laying off about 600 people, which is about 4% of its work force. Shortly after, a rumor emanating from a leaked presentation slide exploded on the internet saying that Yahoo! would be shutting down Delicious, the popular social bookmarking site.

This was immediately followed by a raft of blog postings explaining how to export your Delicious bookmark collection and suggesting alternatives to Delicious. Search Engine Land offered a list of 10 sites ( bookmarking-59058). Some of these sites were new to me, including Diigo and historious. I was not aware that Google offered a bookmarks service ( but why the heck not, since it already offers practically everything else.

Collective Librarian Outcry

At any rate, there was an immediate outcry from the library community. For one thing, a lot of public library reference desk staff members keep their communal bookmark collections in Delicious. It's simple to use, easy to search, and always accessible regardless of which computer you're using, which is why so many information professionals generally love the site. The browser-specific bookmark list has been on the wane for quite a while. Many people don't bother bookmarking anything anymore; they rely on search engines to find a site when they need it again instead.

However, that's hardly a foolproof strategy. Sometimes, you just can't remember enough about a website to perform an effective search for it. I'm a heavy user of Delicious at The Day Job. My customers (editors and reporters) always seem to need oddball statistics that are available only in obscure nooks and crannies of the internet. So every time I find something good, I save it in Delicious along with a description and tags.

Then there are the large government statistical agencies that I visit frequently online. You know these: the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, and so on. Well, I've been doing research on the internet since it first became possible to do so, and I still have a hard time finding my way around these sites. They're huge and packed with data, and their search tools are often not very helpful. Sometimes, you look at a report and wonder if you have the latest version. So I've found it far easier to bookmark specific useful sections of these megasites in Delicious so I don't have to play the "where the heck did I get that" game.

A Source for Brand Research

Of course, librarians are not the only devoted users of Delicious. I recently read an article in a business publication suggesting that communications people check Delicious to see what pages of the corporate website were being saved as bookmarks by Delicious users. Delicious can also be a decent tool for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. For example, what tags are Delicious users applying to bookmarks in the subject area of interest? Marketing people can use it for brand research.

Teachers also use Delicious in the classroom. Doctoral students use it to organize their research. I know one person who set up a Delicious account as a sort of online cookbook, where she stores and organizes interesting recipes she has found on the web. …

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