OCLC, in the quest for total brand domination, has taken their OCLC Top 1000 to del.icio.us. While I applaud their use of social tools, this fills up the feed of the toread tag (which I’ve often used to see what other people have on their reading list) with OCLC WorldCat entries. Of course this happened last month so no harm no foul, but I’ve always liked del.icio.us because it was full of humans sharing links to content, not vendors pushing links to products. [web4lib]
I like books because they tend towards linearity and being one little knowledge parcel of something. However more and more when I read (latest book: Book of Lists, 90’s edition) I have a little index card that I use as a bookmark — card catalog card, actually — that I make notes on. The notes often turn into Google searches, del.icio.us links, MetaFilter posts and emails to my Mom. My books become more than themselves by being dissected and shared.
So, this has been the theme for this weekend, a weekend that had me teaching my Mom how to use Greasemonkey scripts to show more photos on her main Flickr page. I also taught her how to use Grab to do screen captures, how to take long shutter photos with her camera and why del.icio.us is considered “social.” She even discovered she had fans on del.icio.us, what fun! Three other things that sprang up, regarding the meta level of things.
- Flickr Machine Tags – tagging is great, but most people agree that some sort of structured taxonomy complementing a folksonomy is a stronger and more useful way to make information findable. Enter machine tags. Also known as “triple tags” they add an almost faceted layer of classification to Flickr, but still in a totally “roll your own” way. So, for example. I took a picture of my Mom. She is also a Flickr user. In the past, I could add a tag that said “Mom” or “Muffet” (her user name) but there would be no way to explicitly link her Flickr identity to the Flickr picture of her except with a clunky HTML link which makes sense to a human reader but isn’t super clear to a machine. If you check the picture I linked to, it has a new sort of tag flickr:user=muffet which you create just like a normal tag, but it has parts to it. Right now it’s the Wild West as far as what you can build into machine tags — see hoodie:color=orange there aren’t really any standards or even accepted practices, but there are a lot of people doing a lot of talking and it’s an exciting time to be into taxonomies.
- Ed “superpatron” Vielmetti and I have been sending del.icio.us mail this evening. This diagram should explain everything.
- Back to books for a second. How great would it be if, while you were reading a book, you could have a graphical representation of the places talked about? Well, one of the rocket scientists over at Google Book Search is building just that sort of tool. Their post Books:Mapped explains a little of how it works. The about page of the book on Google Books will have a map, if one is available. Here is an example from David Foster Wallace’s book The Girl With Curious Hair or perhaps more dramatically The Travels of Marco Polo.
I seem to have found a comment form that works; thanks to everyone for their advice and suggestions. I have also used a slightly modified version of the sociable plugin to add tiny links beneath each post so that you can socially bookmark any of them via del.icio.us, digg or co.mments. Sociable supports a lot of social bookmarking services, but in the interests of keeping the icon-noise level down, I started with the three that I use. Are there other sites that are listed on the Sociable page that you use often? As always, you can track when I’m using for my WordPress install on the wordpress mods page.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is tagging the illustrations in their collection using volunteers and a shared del.icio.us account. They call this approach TagSwarming. Here is their tag cloud, and here is the blog entry from the digital library guy who created this project. They are always looking for helpers, if this sort of project idea intrigues you.