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 Examples of social tagging tools 

Here are some examples of interesting practices in the field of social tagging. First we introduce the application, and then we explain the artefacts that are shared (social content) and in what context they are shared (social context). We also attempt to provide a short example of its use for educational purposes.

Flickr http://www.flickr.com

Short description: Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application with two main goals: to help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them, and to enable new ways of organising photos. Flickr is a Yahoo! company.

Social Content: Photos with rights (Creative Commons) and restricted access, tags, user profile, can define groups and create communities.

Social Context: Private and public groups, social navigation through tags (latest, most popular, tag cloud). Web-feeds (user/tag), a third party API.

Possible Educational implementation: Learners can share images that they have created or integrate in their works (photos, image manipulation, maps,..) to be used in different learning situations from authentic geography to art lessons. Social networks can be built around images through connecting learners, tutors and teachers together via shared tags. Pictures can constitute an important network of distributed repositories for images.

Furl http://www.furl.net

Short description: Furl's marketing line is to “Save, search and share your Personal Web.” It allows users to save a URL and a personal copy of any page on the Web, tag it using keywords and to share it with others.

Social Content: Social bookmarking: bookmarks, tags, creation of list of subscriptions to other people's bookmarks and subscribe people to yours.

Social Context: Private groups, navigation (latest, most popular, hot topics, people who have this also have this and that..), PeopleRanksm (what's popular), recommends new Web pages guided by the sites the user "Furled", Web-feeds(user/tag), a third party API.

Possible Educational implementation: Sharing personally classified bookmarks among teachers and with other learners to cover a study area. Collaborative filtering and social navigation facilitates new discoveries. Teachers and librarians can already create pre-selected and tagged lists of resources for learners to browse, and be sure that they are found again, as a copy is saved by the system. Bookmarks based on a tag can be aggregated and posted through Web-feeds to learners' and other teachers' blogs or websites focusing in a given area. Commenting and rating on bookmarked urls can be used for recommending as well as for helping decision-making and critical thinking.

Del.icio.us http://del.icio.us

Short description: del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager. It allows users to add web pages to their personal collection of links, to categorise those sites with keywords, and to share their collection not only among their own browsers and machines, but also with others.

Social Content: Social bookmarking: bookmarks, tags.

Social Context: Navigation (latest, most active, tag cloud, by people, others who have this tag) Web-feeds (user/tag), a third party API.

Possible Educational implementation: del.icio.us is more geared towards “social bookmarking” than Furl. Collaborative collection of links tagged with keywords is facilitated, and they can all be browsed and viewed at once (social navigation) or distributed through Web-feeds. Also, creating related tags is easy, giving more possibilities for creating elaborated categories.

Technorati http://www.technorati.org

Short description: Technocrati is an information retrieval application, a selfproclaimed authority of the blogosphere where it keeps track of tags that people have used in their blogs and of hyperlinks between different blogs. Tracks thousands of updates per hour to monitor the communities (who's linking to whom).

Social Content: User creates watchlists for tags – the service indexes blogs using tags, i.e. a search engine for blogosphere.

Social Context: Search all the blogs containing a phrase, a URL, a tag. Navigation (most popular, news/books/movies/top100 blogs, tag cloud in all languages, related tags).

Possible Educational implementation: Technocrati can be used to track postings on the blogs on certain tags; something similar could be envisaged for educational purposes. Also, it illustrates who is linking to the page the user is on, thus allowing a means to follow the whole distributed discussion that happens in people's blogs. This contrasts with a more traditional use of a centralised forum for discussions. This service can also help a user to evaluate the trustworthiness of blogs as it can show other people linking to it.

Rojo.com http://www.rojo.com

Short description: RSS feed reading and discovery with commenting and sharing though keywords and established groups.

Social Content: RSS feeds: find, track, read and share feeds through tags.

Social Context: Allows setting up groups, also sharing through tags. Recommended Links though Rojo.

Possible Educational implementation: In the future we can expect that an increasing part of educational content will be end-user products and learning artefacts created by learners themselves will become an important component of learning process. It could be envisaged that learners will want to generate selective (privacy and rights) RSS feeds from their own learning artefacts e.g. blogs, photos, bookmarks, etc. and other learners could aggregate feeds through tags and social networks like done in Rojo.

ConnectViaBooks.com http://www.ConnectViaBooks.com

Short description: Social networking site using books (reviews, read/reading lists,..) to connect people.

Social Content: User profile including preferences, location.

Social Context: Connecting people who have listed the same books, by geographical location, too.

Possible Educational implementation: The application could be used as such for literature. Furthermore, if we think of the idea of connecting people with similar learning “histories”, we could expand it to learners who have taken the same courses or used the same learning resource, etc. This, combined with social networking, could allow recommendation of further resources, courses, career options, etc, and also allow people to get together to discuss books, courses, etc. and to share their experiences with peers. The geographical location of users also makes it possible to find like-minded people in the region, a useful feature for educational usage.

43 Things http://www.43things.com

Short description: A site that provides an area where people can write their goals, become inspired by others and share their help and support, as well as learn from others how to achieve goals.

Social Content: Lists of life goals, desired things to achieve and places that people plan and wish to visit. Also “have done this” and user profile.

Social Context: Connections are built between people who have listed similar aims or desires in order to have a peer group to support each individual. Connections can also be made between people who want to achieve some goal and the ones who have already done that in order to give guidance and support.

Possible Educational implementation: In an educational context, writing down educational goals is an important part of planning one's learning path. Peer-support from people with the same goals can help achieve the setting of targets and sharing the experience. The feature “have done this” would allow learners who have gained certain experiences to act as tutors or help in the scaffolding process.

360°Yahoo! http://360.yahoo.com

Short description: Yahoo!'s service for blogging and networking, allows sharing all types of artefacts, also the ones on external services, with public or restricted groups.

Social Content: Own profile, blog, photos, local reviews, friends, music, lists of favourite books, movies, music, TV shows and groups. A personalised page collects different artefacts either from Yahoo! Services or external ones.

Social Context: Groups (private, friends, friends of a friend, etc.) can be created and categorised and artefacts can be shared with groups through Web-feeds, notifications on a messenger, etc.

Possible Educational implementation: Creating accounts for an educational community and to use it for reflection on blogs and sharing information as well as links and such like can support community building among learners and allow them to share things beyond everyday learning. The integrated horizontal approach is appealing, although is not intentionally geared towards educational usage.

 

This article is an axtract from the MELT deliverable: D 5.2 – Part II - Audit Report on MELT content - version 2 Part II: Folksonomies – state-of-the-art, requirements and use cases for the MELT social tagging tool, available here. See the deliverables page for other downloads.