Bookmarking is the act of saving links to webpages, or other content, that you might want to come back to or share with others. It is both a tool that is used to keep track of webpages relevant to you, and a way of sharing online content with the other users of the same website or tool.
For the uninitiated, bookmarking is best explained as an online version of a physical bookmark. This analogy naturally comes with a host of associated benefits. It’s easy for non-tech savvy users to grasp, and it's supported by a well-established behaviour from the physical world.
For the sake of simplicity, think of bookmarking as an organisation process which can be used to save and categorise links to websites, blog articles, words, and images. A way to make it simpler for you to save and remember where you've been, keep track of favourite content webpages.
Bookmarking dates back to the early days of the first Internet browsers, making it one of the earliest forms of online engagement. Since then, the process of bookmarking – and the associated benefits – have remained practically the same.
Modern-day bookmarking revolves around dedicated services, or social bookmarking websites, that allow us to save and store our bookmarked webpages online and share them with others.
The most popular bookmarking site is undoubtedly Delicious (formerly known as del.icio.us). Delicious began as an online bookmarking service, which allowed users to save and store their bookmarks online, both privately and publicly.
In essence, Delicious was a combination of two powerful things – a public directory of bookmarked webpages, as well as a personal, private repository. This popularity of Del.icio.us paved the way for a whole host of other bookmarking sites, such as Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Furl.
Today, bookmarking systems typically include a tagging system, whereby users can assign tags to bookmarked webpages. This makes it easier for them to find specific pages quickly and easily, as well as providing an easy way to keep track of all the webpages they may have saved.
Bookmarking can also be used to track changes in content, such as when a webpage has been updated or is no longer live. In addition to keeping our bookmarks, some bookmarking sites such as Delicious also keep track of who (or which other websites) have linked to these bookmarks, adding an element of social network built around the bookmarks.
Generally speaking, when it comes to bookmarking, the basic premise is the same - a system that allows users to save webpages they like and the sources they have found. It's worthwhile understanding the purpose and potential of bookmarking is in order to benefit from the associated opportunities.
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First, it's important to understand the differences between public and private bookmarking. The benefit of public bookmarking is that it can help to disseminate information – allowing other people to view and use the bookmarked information. Private bookmarking, on the other hand, should be seen as a tool for individual use. This type of bookmarking allows the user to store their bookmarked webpages in an organised fashion, to save themselves from the hassle of searching for them again.
The power of bookmarking comes from the ability to assign tags to the bookmarked webpages. This allows for more efficient organisation of the webpages. For example, if you bookmarked a webpage about cats, you can assign a ‘cats’ tag (or multiple tags) to the webpage. This allows you to search by that tag and access all of your bookmarked webpages related to cats.
Social bookmarking sites also allow you to share the bookmarks with other users, who may be interested in the same webpages. This can be an incredibly powerful tool for discovering new webpages that you would not otherwise have come across.
Moreover, bookmarking can also be an incredibly effective tool for content curation. Content curation is the process of finding, reviewing, and sharing valuable and relevant information from various sources so that you can become an authority in your field.
So when it comes to bookmarking best practices, here are a few pointers:
- Be consistent with how you tag your bookmarks.
- Keep your bookmarks private and away from public searches.
- Try to make use of the social bookmarking sites.
- Organise your bookmarks into folders, so you can quickly find the webpages you need.
- Make sure to follow, comment, and share any useful webpages that you bookmark.
- Utilise the power of content curation.
Bookmarking is an incredibly useful tool, and one that can be used to save time and stay organised. With a bit of practice and understanding of the basics, anyone can make use of this handy tool.