By Chris Poteet
As a web developer how we retain, organize, and use information is a high priority. One web application that has revolutionized the way I retain information is del.icio.us.
I originally used it just to save the occasional link. I realized that it’s much more than that.
Here are a few power tips to make the most of the social bookmarking application.
Tag, Tag, and Tag Some More. Tagging your links is one of the most important things you can do. Tagging gives semantic value to your bookmarks, and it also helps make retrieving your bookmarks a painless process. Remember to use tags that are as specific as possible. If you wanted to tag Web Worker Daily you would do well to use: freelancing, tutorials, webdesign, contracting, and collaboration. All of those tags associate the site with its content and make it easily retrievable.
Power Tip: Create a “review” tag so information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, and be sure to occasionally review those links.
Bundle Your Tags. One feature I see a lot of del.icio.us users missing out on is bundling tags. It helps to provide taxonomy to your folksonomy. I find it invaluable to see the semantic relationship between the tags at a glance.
Power Tip: Don’t use more than a handful of bundles, and try to keep a 1-1 bundle/tag arrangement.
Use the Browser Add-on. Del.icio.us has official browser add-ons for both Internet Explorer and Firefox, or you can use their bookmarklets. This is a great way to instantly add your bookmarks while getting tag suggestions (preventing using both “plugin” and “plugins” as tags), suggested tags from other users, and you can easily search and organize your bookmarks inside a browser sidebar.
Power Tip: If you have more than one del.icio.us account (like I do) then login to each on in each browser, or you can download another add-on for the same browser.
Prune the Plant. For those in horticulture, you know that you have to prune the dead twigs of the plant so the living twigs can flourish. This also applies to knowledge management. Take a few moments to review your links occasionally to ensure that they are still relevant. You can add more tags as time goes on to improve organization.
Power Tip: You can also use the Fresh del.icio.us application to check for broken links in your repository.
Build Your Network. Although del.icio.us isn’t primarily aimed at social networking, it does help a lot to learn of other sites by “connecting” with other del.icio.us users that share your interests. You can also share links with other users with the for:[username] tag. I put all my RSS feeds together from the site using Yahoo! Pipes, and you can use it as a model to build a single feed.
Power Tip: Be prudent in the amount of RSS feeds you subscribe to so as to avoid RSS overload.
Use Subscriptions to Find More Links. You can also subscribe at a tag level and see when anyone adds that tag to a bookmark. It’s a great way to see how the community is using content you’re interested in.
Power Tip: Subscribing to one tag can get overwhelming so try and combine them to narrow your results (i.e. design+css).
Some Final Tips
When you search for tags you can narrow down tags by using the “+” sign. For instance, search your bookmarks for freelance+webdesign and find your link to Web Worker Daily.
Check out the absolutely del.icio.us collection for more application built on the del.icio.us API.
Share your links on your blog using a plugin such as these for WordPress, and/or you can set up del.icio.us to post links to your blog as posts through the del.icio.us admin panel.