It's So del.icio.us!
by Harold Davis
Related link: http://del.icio.us/
In my continuing survey of tags, tagging, and folksonomies, I now turn to del.icio.us. (Previous posts on the Googleplex Blog and O'Reilly covered Technorati, universal tagging, Folksonomic Discovery, and Gataga.)
First, the domain name del.icio.us is clever beyond belief. In fact, it is delicious. Whether or not tagging is important, these people should be given credit for cool word play.
To use del.icio.us, you need to register for the service. Once logged in, you can add "bookmarklets" to your browser. In Internet Explorer, the bookmarklets sit on the browser's Links menu.
Adding these bookmarklets to your browser lets you tag web pages - meaning, you can add one word descriptors. You can view your own tags for pages, and those of others, usin another bookmarklet in your browser. Tags can also be discovered in quite a few other ways: by URL for tag, or author (and more) and sliced and diced via RSS. For example, each web page that has been tagged in del.icio.us has an RSS feed (the tags are the items in the feed).
There's also a nice API in del.icio.us, and quite a few programming hacks already out there that use this folksonomy.
Finally, each user has a home page which is an easy way to access del.icio.us tags, users, and categories they've bookmarked.
So why should one bother with this? First, there's an appeal to self-interest. It makes sense to appropriately tag one's own pages in del.icio.us. Good tagging should lead to more traffic in much the same way that developing good meta information helps webmasters with the search engines. Second, it is fun to categorize our worlds. Since del.icio.us tags are used as part of the core library of other web folksonomies (for example, Technorati), efforts tagging via del.icio.us contribute to the common welfare. Finally, browsing popular tags is a good discovery mechanism - both ad hoc serendipity, and also following people who are interested in a research question similar to something you may be looking into.
If I am missing something important, please let me know!
I just wrote an article on del.icio.us and it goes into a little deeper detail. It can be found here (http://www.associatedcontent.com/content.cfm?content_type=article&content_type_id=5469) .