8 Tips for Better del.icio.us Bookmarking

67 Comments

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.

67 Comments

Matthew

I am still a del.icio.us user and find the service useful for bookmarking. Using tags, I can quickly find old bookmarks, since I usually remember which tags I used. I’m using delicious as my search engine more than google these days :-)

Greg

Try the Scripted Re-Mark tool:

* Bulk editing of your bookmarks by title, tags, URL or notes.
* Apply regular expressions to any field (for power-users).
* Set your bookmarks to public/private.
* Mass delete bookmarks by tag, title or as a whole.
* Use tag stemming to detect and merge similar tags (eg “walk”, “walks” and “walking”).
* Create and apply your own JavaScript code to manipulate bookmarks.

-Greg.

textasplayground

nice summary of features often forgotten! thanks for the reminder

Edward Vielmetti

Biggest tip (via @bkerr): make your tags funny. Sure, use a few serious tags for assisting in machine processing, but save up some funny ones for use on the spot and for sharing things with your network.

read http://del.icio.us/bkerr for a sense of what I mean

MagnoliaSouth

Aaron: In answer to your question, the del.icio.us website of course. If I’m “stuck” with a dislikable computer I certainly won’t be on it for very long.

MagnoliaSouth

I don’t quite understand the obsession behind paring down tags. I suppose if you like using del.icio.us as a social thing, I guess I can see that part of it, but not everyone uses it for social bookmarking as some of us use it for the tagging alone. Of course private stuff is just that, private, but most of my surfing isn’t very private.

I use del.icio.us because quite simply it is very handy. I can save a bazillion pages without straining my hard drive, if this pc crashes then I have a back up and tagging/labeling is my very best friend. Social bookmarking is less than the last thing I’m interested in and the less tags is more theory just cracks me up. Even if it didn’t amuse me so, renaming them is such a pain that it’s just easier to keep them the way they are. In my opinion, bundling tags is a waste of time. Why? Because then we’re resorting back to folders, which I hate, and again tagging is the primary reason I use del.icio.us.

As for the lifehacker shortcut, personally I think that is just another silly idea (as is their commenting policy, but we’ll save that for another comment ;)). A better option is using Firefox with del.icio.us Bookmarks 1.5.29 and only pressing ctrl+d to tag any page. Who the heck wants to click in the address bar and then type another word before you can actually begin to type the actual tag? ctrl+d works easiest all around.

Those nitpicks aside, excellent post! I’m new to greasemonkey and had no idea about the del.icio.us script for Google Reader. Yayness! I’ve read a hint about it in another lifehacking blog, but somehow didn’t understand what it was. In any case, thank you very much for the post. It’s very helpful.

ChuckEye

While free-form tags are great, there are certain types of tags I like being somewhat hierarchal so that they sort in a pleasing way. For instance, if a bookmark is for a particular locale (restaurant, museum, library, etc within a city I might be traveling to) I’ll do a 2-letter state code followed by the city in a dot notation. GA.Atlanta, CA.LosAngeles, TX.Houston, TX.Austin, TX.SanAntonio, and TX as a catch-all for regional stuff that isn’t specific to one metropolitan area.

Aaron Bassett

Keith: Ctrl+d is great is you only use the one computer in the one location.
Sure you can get extensions for firefox to sync bookmarks across multiple computers.

But what happens if you’re not at a computer where you can install extensions or are stuck using IE, etc, etc
How do you access your bookmarks then?

keith

How is adding a firefox quick search keyword for bookmarking quicker than using “Control + d” ?

Aaron Bassett

@Smarmy: heh yeah I know, I guess my bookmarking is a little out of control and I’ve been meaning to bundle my tags, as well as get rid of duplicate tags (blog, blogs, etc) not to mention fix any/all speeling mistakes ;)

But the sheer volume of bookmarks & tags makes it a bit of a daunting task…tho I will get round to it someday!

Smarmy

Wow Aaron! You’ve got to bundle those things, man.

Cyril

Thanks for the tips! I often find it difficult to keep my delicious bookmarks organised, between the multiple tags, links I keep to read later on and links that I actually want to save permanently.

Archaeogeek

Thanks for the greasemonkey tip- I had been missing that since they changed google reader and the old one didn’t work. My personal tip- I have a _TOREAD tag, for all the articles I find and haven’t got time to read right now. I can then download all the files with that tag using a wget script on my pda, and read them offline, as well as having a backup. There’s a great lifehacker article about doing that this at:
http://lifehacker.com/software/download-managers/geek-to-live–wget-local-copies-of-your-online-research-delicious-digg-or-google-notebook-200360.php

rod

I’ve got a simple suggestion for del.icio.us (the site, not the browser plugin) that would improve usability (for me anyway) significantly:

http://techfold.com/2007/05/10/a-suggestion-for-delicious-my-top-10/

…start tracking my outbound clicks, and maintain a list of my top 10 outbound destinations. My most commonly visited bookmarks will bubble to the top, and I’ll be happy. Those that don’t want to see the top 10 can turn the feature off.

Click through to the post for mockedup screenshots.

datter

I’d highly recommend blinklist.com over del.icio.us, but these are very good tips despite that.

datter

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