8 Tips for Better del.icio.us Bookmarking

del.icio.us logoYahoo’s del.icio.us social bookmarking service is refreshingly simple while still offering plenty of power. Bookmark and tag pages, share them with the world, post them to your blog, and watch what other people are bookmarking. No rounded corners or fancy colors, no rich Internet application baloney, just a useful way of tracking and sharing the stuff we read online.

Here are a few tips for better bookmarking with del.icio.us. Share your own tips in the comments.

Quicker Tag bookmarkletQuickly bookmark a page. Drag the Quicker Tag bookmarklet from Lifehacker into your Firefox toolbar. Configure it with a Firefox keyword of your choosing by right mouse clicking on the bookmarklet in your toolbar, selecting Properties, and entering a keyword like “tag” or “delish” into the keyword entry box. Now you can bookmark a page by just entering “delish” in your browser location bar.

Google Reader add to del.icio.usBookmark from Google Reader. If you like to interact with Google Reader with the mouse, you might like to try this Google Reader + del.icio.us Greasemonkey script. It puts an “Add to del.icio.us” button at the bottom of each post in Reader.

If you’re an all keyboard type, the easier way might be to open the original post using Reader’s keyboard shortcut “v” then post to del.icio.us using whatever method you normally prefer. Ctrl/Cmd-W will close your tab and go back to where you were in Reader. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a quicker way to get articles from Google Reader into your del.icio.us bookmarks.

Pukka posts to multiple delicious accountsPost links to multiple delicious accounts. Why would you want to do this? Maybe you’re a highly productive web worker practicing multiprojecting (i.e., managing multiple projects simultaneously). Maybe you want to keep your personal and professional bookmarks separate. An easy way to manage this if you’re using Mac OS X is to install Pukka, a rich client for delicious. The del.icio.us Complete add-on for Firefox also supports multiple accounts, plus it autocompletes tags for you based on your own tags and other users’ tags for the page.

Replace your Firefox bookmarks with delicious bookmarks. The recently updated delicious bookmarks extension for Firefox can import your existing local browser bookmarks into delicious and post links to delicious from the browser Bookmarks menu. It includes a toolbar that displays recent bookmarks and a sidebar for sorting, searching, and modifying your bookmarks.

Use via: to credit your sources. In many parts of the blogosphere, noting where you got a link is almost as important as the link itself — because it shows who did the work in surfacing useful stuff. These days, we need to not only know what to look at right now but who to look to in the future to find what else we should be paying attention to.

While the for: tag is well known among delicious users (and specifically supported by delicious), some delicious users use the via: tag to track who provided a link. That allows people browsing your links to know who else they might want to add to their network on del.icio.us. Ric Hayman of Aqualung proposes that this could form the basis for a reputation economy online.

Make your del.icio.us bookmarks searchable in Gmail. Steve Rubel describes how in his article on using Gmail as his personal nerve center. Use Yahoo! Alerts to send your del.icio.us bookmark feed into Gmail, then set up a filter to label and archive the messages as they come in. Now you can search bookmarks using label:delicious (or whatever you’ve labeled those messages). And you’ve backed up your bookmarks to boot.

Get some help bundling your tags. If you’re like me, your tag cloud is huge and disorganized. I tried bundling my tags but stopped when I found it too difficult to do with the interface del.icio.us provides — my massive tag cloud with no hints as to what tags might be related to each other. If you have the official del.icio.us Firefox add-on installed though, you can use the sidebar to give you some help. For each tag, it lists related tags.

Bundling delicious tags

View the sidebar while you are bundling your tags. You can see how I did this with my own tags — choosing my java tag as a starting point for creating a SoftwareDev bundle. This reminded me to add tags like ruby, javascript, database, and hibernate into that bundle. Note that you can add one tag to more than one bundle, so bundles are less like folders than like tagging of tags.

Improve your bookmark searches. Maybe instead of fighting to organize your tags into bundles, you should just use search. The del.icio.us search at the upper right hand corner considers bookmark descriptions, notes, and tags. To limit it to tags only use the prefix “tag:” like this: tag:todo. To search for either of two terms, use OR and parentheses around the terms: (todo OR to-do). To exclude terms, use the minus operator: todo -apps.

How do you bookmark? Local browser bookmarks, del.icio.us, some other social bookmarking service? Share your bookmarking tips in the comments.

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