Social Bookmarking Tool Comparison

Social Bookmarking Tool Comparison


This article looks at the evolving crop of social bookmarking tools, their functionality and examples of use. The goal is to help nonprofits understand the value of using social bookmarking tools and to determine which social bookmarking tool would best serve their needs. This is directed at nonprofit uses of these tools.


The current version of this document is available at:


The landscape of social bookmarking tools is like the wild west. New tools are appearing (and disappearing) rapidly and the features of specific tools is also changing. Thanks to the open nature (in terms of syndication and APIs if not source) of many of these tools, third party add-ons can provide significant additional functionality. All of this means that the material in the article can become quickly out-of-date. For that reason, this has been set up, in CivicSpace parlance, as a book. This means that is editable by anyone who has a user account

As new information becomes available, functionality changes, or new tools emerge, please feel free to make updates to this page.

In addition, as this page is being developed, please feel free to add information either by editing the book itself or by leaving a comment.

If you participate in the editing of this document, please include your name and any desired contact information in the "Contributors" section below.

This being developed in response to a suggestion from Beth Kanter



Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking involves saving bookmarks to an online service and "tagging" them with keywords you create instead of saving the bookmarks in your browser's favorite's list. Your collection of bookmarks is viewable to others users who may easily copy bookmarks to their own collection. Social bookmarking enables a you to discover other people who are interested in a topic and know about an excellent web resources that you may not have found by using a search engine. Based on: [] and []

Social bookmarking tools often allow you to clip all or part of the page you are bookmarking, extensive commenting, thus offering potentially more annotation and content "meaning making."



Tagging is a term used in a number of contexts for different purposes, mostly referring to adding a tag of some form. Tags can be thought of as keyword that allow ad hoc classification and sorting of a variety of types of information. Tagging can be applied to URLs (in the case of social bookmarking), photos (flickr), ideas/projects (43 things).

  • In many computing and information processing contexts, tagging is the process of labelling a piece of data with metadata.
    • Content on webpages is displayed as HTML which uses the construct of HTML tags
    • In the practice of collaborative categorization using freely chosen keywords known as folksonomy, Tags are descriptors that individuals assign to objects.
    • For instance, in linguistics, a corpus may undergo part-of-speech tagging.
    • It is also often used in relation to audio data compression, in which case it refers to adding
    • In CVS, to tag a project is to associate a name with the current version of every file in project directory. This is done so that one can easily revert to a state where all files are known to compile together.

RSS(Really Simple Syndication)

RSS is an abbreviation for:

API(Application Program Interface)

An application programming interface (API) is a set of definitions of the ways one piece of computer software communicates with another. It is a method of achieving abstraction

, usually (but not necessarily) between lower-level and higher-level software.

Overview: Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Bookmarking

  • Why is social bookmarking significant
    • Enables like-minded people to find each other and create new communities of users around a topic
    • allows a specific group of people (staff members in an organization for example) to share resources efficiently
    • Can help you find new insights about a topic by seeing how others think and connect to it
    • Creates contextual taxonomies that have meaning for a particular community/group of people (good for different cultural contexts)
    • Most tools incorporate various mechanisms for sharing information outside of the tools (via RSS, integration with other tools such as blogging software)
  • What are the drawbacks
    • Tools are still evolving and not all have polished,user-friendly interfaces
    • No consistent oversight to how a resource is tagged - e.g. tag London could stand for Julie London, City of London, or Jack London
    • The stream of specific resources on a topic is as good as the community who has joined the service. Many services are populated with early adoptor types so the technical information can fantastic, but more general topics may not yet have lots of users. This is changing though.
    • More overwhelming
    • Possibility of tagging spam

What happens when you add "social" to "bookmarking" or why this is different from adding sites to your browser's favorite list.

A more condensed version of the examples here:

Social Bookmarking Tools List

Related Tools

  • Gataga
    moved this from the above list since it searches tags but doesn't allow for bookmarking.


Categories for comparison

  • Common Functionality
    • Tagging
      Ability to add ad hoc metadata in the form of keywords to URLs
    • Categories
      Ability to pre-determine a series of words or phrases under which URLs can be stored.
    • Descriptions
      Ability to write a brief description of the content.
    • Syndication (RSS, Atom)
      Various levels of output in the form of RSS or Atom feeds. These may include syndication of a user's bookmarks, a tag and/or category with a user's set of bookmarks, or a tag as used by all system users.
    • Posting bookmarklets
      These are "widgets" that you can add to your browser that enable you to easily bookmark URLS directly to the service. Typically, other users create these widgets based on XYZ programming code and share them freely with other users. Some bookmarketlets provided additional functionality such as importing or exporting urls from the service to your desktop.
    • Sharing
      Unless "private" functionality is offered, all bookmark collections in users accounts are visible to everyone who uses or visits the site. Some social bookmarking tools allow you to designate a particular URL as "private" so it is only visible to you.
    • Browse by tag/category
      You can browse all bookmarks that are tagged with a particular tag within a service. This lets you see the entire collection of URLs related to topic. In some services, you can then examin specific users other bookmarks.
    • Subscribe to tags
      This feature allows you, whether in the social bookmarking application itself or via RSS, to follow addition to a specific tag.
    • Subscribe to users
      This feature allows you, whether in the social bookmarking application itself or via RSS, to follow addition to a specific user.
    • Integration with other tools
      Related to 3rd party tools, add-ons and APIs, this indicates whether or not it is possibile to easily add the data or certain pieces of functionality of the social bookmarking tool to other applications. A common example of this is the ability to integrate a users account and daily links with the posts on their weblog.
    • Development of add-on, 3rd party tools
      There are additional tools, functionality, and services built on top of the social bookmarking tool.
    • Import
      The ability to easily add an existing list of bookmarks to the users account.
    • Export
      The ability to easily export the existing list of bookmarks as either html or xml.
    • Publishing
      The ability to make the lists available in another format on the web. This is commonly solved by enabling RSS feeds of user bookmarks.
    • Saves cache of webpage
      The service saves the webpage so that it can be retrieved later, if the page no longer exists.
  • User Experience
    • Interface
      Entirely subjective, this discusses the ease with which the interface can be approached and navigated.
    • Documentation
      An evaluation of the services help documents, faq's, user forums and technical support. A review of tutorials or documentation developed by other users.
  • Technical (Under the Hood)
    • Open source
      The source code is available for inspection, modification and use.
    • Closed source or propietary
      The source code is not available for inspection, modification and use.
    • Open API
      A standard method for accessing the data and a mechanism that allows applications to be built on top of the social bookmarking tool.
    • Meets usability criteria (for alternative browsing methods etc)
      Settle on a service (bobby etc) and test the tools.
    • Reliability
      Uptime, speed. The challenge here will be to find something that provides a measurement of this.
    • Integration with other tools
      Duplicates above. Should it be here on in the above list.
    • Multilingual interface options
      Not sure what I meant by this. Maybe the ability to create alternate ways to post to the site (see the various bookmarklets as an option)
    • Text reading options
      Again, no guess on what I meant here.
  • Community
    • Number of active users
    • Number of links/bookmarks in system
    • Sense of the content/topics collected
    • Developers
    • Support (financial or otherwise)
    • Likely to be around in five years

How they compare[1]

Backflip has been claimed -- webb

[Once the above is gathered, put a table in here]


Try to find a few case studies of current use.

Internal use in an organization

Community of practice to share resources

  • nptech tag
  • nptech+youth

Publishing lists to blog or web site

  • There are many examples of this.

Selecting a service

Since they are all so new this might, at this point, still be a matter of personal preference but it seems like, by the time we get here, we might be able to make some solid recommendations.





Useful: A beginner's Guide To Delicious

Lists of 3rd party tools
Delicious: Complete Plugin/Tools List


Alexandra Samuels Delicious Bookmarks on Social Bookmarking:

Dlibrary: Social Bookmarking Overview





Faith (for Content):