Bookmarks/favourites are as old as the WYSIWYG browser (Mosaic to be more precise) and haven’t changed a bit over all the years. They’re nothing more or less than a pointer to an URL within the browser. These pointers are kept for mainly 2 reasons:
they prevent one from having to type long URLs over and over again
one can’t remember all the URLs of the sites one likes
The bookmarks, as such, are just kept in a list in the same order as they have been added to the list. Over the years a multitude of bookmark managers appeared to put some order into your bookmark collections. There is one small problem though. It doesn’t work properly if you want to see and maintain your bookmarks on multiple computers.
Joshua Schachter found that a problem, and in late 2003 he therefore created a new system called del.icio.us. Technically speaking it isn’t a new idea: putting URLs out in public and categorising them has existed since the very beginning, via the so called yellow pages, or theme pages, which are now somewhat crowded out by free text search engine but still in existence. The innovation lies in what one calls folksonomy (a fusion of the words folk and taxonomy). Instead of one single, or central, editor, the people themselves assign a category. The latter is also known as tagging. It seemed to be a success and soon copy cats and variants manifested themselves:
- BlinkList tries to merge social bookmarking with people search facilities and expert recommendations
- Connotea : focuses mainly on scientists.
- de.lirio.us : an open source spitting image of del.icio.us
- Furl : keeps the web pages in an archive instead of only the URL
- Yahoo My Web
And some didn’t stick to just URLs only.
- BooksWeLike : books, films and music
- CiteUlike sharing of academic papers
- Digg : technology news where users determine what will be on the frontpage
- Flickr : photos
- Frassle : it’s a kind of CMS and as such it isn’t
- Thingster : photos, blogs, etc.
- Webjay : music play lists
It was such a success that greedy Yahoo acquired del.icio.us December 19 th 2005.
This success has it drawbacks too. Since it is public, the risk for malpractices is high. It is not the first time that such systems have been abused for spam, and even privacy violations have been reported. But the major problem is the tagging itself. Since there is no central editor, each person is free to choose a tag for an URL. That implies that the same URL can reside in the system with multiple and totally different tags. And if person X doesn’t find the URL in the tag he/she expected, he/she will add the URL again. The end result is a satiated and polluted system. All this due to a lack of standards for tagging. Sometimes a Brig Brother can be useful. Let me give an example.
Do the librarian
In the Mid 90’s the idea was formed to interconnect all Flemish libraries (> 300), give internet access to the visitors, create one site for the visitors and general public, and one for the librarians themselves. Terms like portal, intranet and extranet were barely used in those days. This was all achieved in ’97 when it was launched. The most visible one was of course the site for the general public ( http://www.bib.vlaanderen.be ). As one of the main developers I know that it wasn’t easy to find a compromise between the librarians’ ideas and what the general public wanted, and to find a way to make things less dull’. For the sake of completeness, the current site has been changed from a technical and lay-out perspective since I left that company. Not because of me, but since Illustra was acquired by Informix ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informix#1995:_Illustra_acquisition ) and that product was placed on a dead end.
One of the ideas was to catalogue sites as if they were books. At first it seemed rather a strange approach. From the scientific/technical perspective it was/still is a bright idea. If anyone knows how to catalogue – it is a librarian. After all they have the ISBDs (International Standard Bibliographic Description) like ISBD (G) and client/server protocols like Z39.50 a.k.a. ISO 23950. One can question whether the interests of the librarian are the same as those of their visitors or whether he/she can at least empathise with them. But the result was there and still is ( http://www.bib.vlaanderen.be/servlet/webdispatcher.FrameServlet/standard/?toDo=show )
OK fine, but what has is to do with you as a member of SDN? Actually I was wondering if we couldn’t collect URLs that are useful for the community. I frequently see URLs (re)appear in the forums. All this happens in a non organised, haphazard way. I see also the from Helmut for a personalised SDN portal with own quicklinks and bookmarks. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a single source of interesting URLs?
So I would suggest that we do this in a more organised manner and follow an already perfect way to organize things – namely the forum subjects:
EP Content Development EP Implementation Unification, Connectivity and Object Based Navigation Enterprise Portal Migration Web AS General Web AS Preview Installation ABAP Programming Java Programming Business Server Pages Web Dynpro Internet Transaction Server (ITS) WebAS Migration SAP GUI Java Development Infrastructure (JDI) BI General Business Content and Extractors Data Warehousing BI Suite Business Explorer Business Planning SAP NetWeaver2004s Ramp-Up Enterprise Services Architecture ESA Book Review Exchange Infrastructure Industry Speak SAP Master Data Management Mobile Infrastructure SAP NetWeaver Platform SAP NetWeaver .NET Technologies Integration with mySAP ERP 2004 SAP NetWeaver - IBM Software Interoperability SAP NetWeaver Performance Business Process Management (BPM)Interactive Forms based on Adobe software Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) ERP Financials ERP HCM (HR) Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Supply Chain Management (SCM) Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) SAP Business One SDN Technologies RFID SAP/PHP SAP xApps MaxDB/liveCache Software Integration and Certification User Experience & Design SAP NetWeaver Partner Initiative Consultants
We now have 2 options on how to work further on this. Option 1 is that we use one of the above mentioned sites. The problem is which one to choose. I would prefer del.icio.us, since it’s the mother of all tagging sites, but the poor layout and its uncertain future since Yahoo swallowed it up may mean that all our efforts would be in vain. In order to avoid the discussion of what the best alternative site would be, I would suggest a second option. What if we request that the SDN admins make sticky forum thread posts in each relevant forum, like those that currently exist for e.g. the BSP and PHP web log posts? This would be the most interesting way and provide the best single source for (external) information. Another reason why you shouldn’t live a day without SDN, isn’t it?