Survey on Social Bookmarking Tools

The April issue of D-Lib Magazine includes a two-part Survey of social bookmarking tools.
Social bookmarking is on the collective brain - at least for the moment -and most of those writing about it choose to take one or more positions for, against, or orthogonal to its various aspects. Here's the position of the D-Lib survey authors:
"Despite all the current hype about tags - in the blogging world, especially - for the authors of this paper, tags are just one kind of metadata and are not a replacement for formal classification systems such as Dublin Core, MODS, etc. [n15]. Rather, they are a supplemental means to organize information and order search results."
This is -- no surprise from "a solely electronic publication with a primary focus on digital library research and development, including but not limited to new technologies, applications, and contextual social and economic issues" -- the librarians' view, succinctly echoed by Peter Morville in his presentation during the panel 'Sorting Out Social Classification' at this year's Information Architecture summit.
The D-Lib authors' assessment dovetails nicely with Peter's views on The Speed of Information Architecture from 2001, and it shows how library science professionals may decide to place social bookmarking in relation to the larger context of meta-data lifecycles; a realm they've known and inhabited for far longer than most people have used Flickr to tag their photos.
I found some of the authors' conclusions more surprising. They say, "In many ways these new tools resemble blogs stripped down to the bare essentials." I'm not sure what this means; stripped-down is the sort of term that usually connotes a minimalist refactoring or adaptation that is designed to emphasize the fundamental aspects of some original thing under interpretation, but I don't think they want readers to take away the notion that social bookmarking is an interpretation of blogging.
Moving on, they say, "Here the essential unit of information is a link, not a story, but a link decorated with a title, a description, tags and perhaps even personal recommendation points." which leaves me wondering why it's useful to compare Furl to blogging?
A cultural studies professor of mine used to say of career academics, "We decide what things mean for a living". I suspect this is what the D-Lib authors were working toward with their blogging comparison. Since the label space for this thing itself is a bit crowded (contenders being ethnoclassification, folksonomy, social classification), it makes better sense to elevate the arena of your own territorial claim to a higher level that is less cluttered with other claimants, and decide how it relates to something well-known and more established.
They close with, "It is still uncertain whether tagging will take off in the way that blogging has. And even if it does, nobody yet knows exactly what it will achieve or where it will go - but the road ahead beckons."
This is somewhat uninspiring, but I assume it satisfies the XML schema requirement that every well-structured review or essay end with a conclusion that opens the door to future publications.
Don't mistake my pique at the squishiness of their conclusions for dis-satisfaction with the body of the survey; overall, the piece is well-researched and offers good context and perspective on the antecedents of and concepts behind their subject. Their invocation of Tim O'Reilly's 'architectures of participation' is just one example of the value of this survey as an entry point into related phenomena.
Another good point the D-Lib authors make is the way that the inherent locality, or context-specificity, of collections of social bookmarks allows them to provide higher-quality pointers to resources relevant for specialized purposes than the major search engines, which by default index globally, or without an editorial perspective.
Likely most useful for the survey reader is their set of references, which taps into the meme flow for social bookmarking by citing a range of source conversations, editorials, and postings from all sides of the phenomenon.

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