Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site that I have actually been using for quite some time. Well, that’s not entirely true. In actuality, I have had a del.icio.us account for a million years, and my actual use of it has waxed and waned dramatically. The basic idea is that it’s a site where you can save the sites you would be bookmarking in your browser on your computer. (My main del.icio.us page is here: http://del.icio.us/elizabetht)
Web 2.0 comes into play with the option of adding descriptions and tags, as well as being able to see how many other people have bookmarked the same site. You can browse the main del.icio.us page by what people are bookmarking, by popular tags, etc.
So how am I using it? Well, at its simplest: I use del.icio.us to save articles, websites, craft ideas, recipes, book reviews, things I want to buy, etc. The best part is that because it’s online, I can access it from all of the computers I use, whether it’s the three or four different terminals at work I may be using, or my laptop at my apartment. I love being able to come back to it no matter where I am.
Since I started working as a librarian and reading more library blogs, though, I’ve been using it more to save articles about libraries and librarianship that I want to refer to later. I don’t always have time to read things when I stumble upon them, so this seems to be a good way to make sure I come back to it. I even added the most recent links to the sidebar of my blog.
One of the coolest features I discovered only after I had been using the site for a while is the ability to create individual pages. As soon as you add a tag to one of your links, you can to go a new page to view all of the things I have tagged like it. In our case, you can to go http://del.icio.us/elizabetht/libraries to see all of my library-related links. This is cool for our purposes here, but also if you want to keep a list of recipes, or things you want people to buy for you (tag them “wishlist”), or books you want to read (tagged “toread”)… I could go on forever.
I’m sure any librarian could use social bookmarking in the way that I am already using it, while also exploring what is popular and getting lots of buzz all around the web. I think it would also be cool to use del.icio.us as a homepage or reference center for librarians, too. For example, you could create a del.icio.us page for your library, or maybe your library’s reference desk. Then you can add links that answer commonly-asked questions specific to your library, links to local codes, pages you use a lot, all without having to bother with regular old bookmarks. I haven’t seen it in action in this way, but I really like the idea of it. You could even use tags to create individual pages for different librarians - del.icio.us/PublicLibraryRefDesk/elizabeth. I like it.