Social tagging galore…

I started using Delicious a couple of months ago.  I love it because there are certain sites that I check often and Delicous lets me organize and look at them regardless of what computer I am using.  However, before today I hadn’t really used the tagging feature of Delicious.  So this assignment was definitely a learning experience.

I decided to look at Delicious and Stumble Upon, but I should stress that I tried to avoid doing a comparison between the two, because after using them more I discovered that they are actually rather different tools.  Where Delicious is used as an organizer of one’s bookmarks, Stumble Upon is more of a discovery and searching tool.  However, both incorporate social tagging, so that is one area where comparisons are warranted.

As I stated before, Stumble Upon is pretty much what its title infers; it is used to stumble upon sites by searching under specific tags.  For example, I started with the tag “astronomy” and Stumble Upon directed me to a site called Wikisky, which was actually pretty interesting.  Then, it asked me if I liked that site and would like to see more similar to that one, or if I didn’t like and wanted to see something else.  All of the “liked” sites are organized together in a favorites page.  Delicious has a similar feature on their site that is directed by social tagging, and not surprisingly, many of the same sites that I saw in Stumble Upon I also saw in my Delicious search.

When I do a search for the tag ‘architecture’ in both sites, I also get very different results.  Stumble Upon doesn’t list the results in any specific order that I could distinguish, but it does allow the list to be sorted by the average rating of the site or the number of reviews it has received.  There is also an option to limit the results by adding another tag filter to the search.  Delicious sorts the result list by the most recent ones that had been bookmarked.  It also shows all of the tags applied to a site and how many Delicious users have bookmarked that site.  By simply clicking one of the other tags, you can filter your result list.  There’s even an option next to each URL that will let you save a specific site in your own Delicious account.

Another tag search that I conducted within each site was with the tag ‘silent films.’  The content of the results in both Delicious and Stumble Upon showed no overlap at all, and of the two I felt that Delicious definitely had the more relevant results.  But this makes sense because Delicious lists the results in order of those that have been bookmarked most recently; I’m still not sure how Stumble Upon gathers its results.  For example, one of the first results in Delicious was the site SilentEra.com, a site that I use regularly when inquiring about silent cinema.  Stumble Upon didn’t list that site until I got to the fifth page of the results.

Because I can do so much more with Delicious, such as save any page I wish to save, I will definitely continue to use it instead of Stumble Upon.  While Stumble Upon is a helpful way to find other sites within a similar topic, I can do the same thing in Delicious.  As such, I don’t have much need for Stumble Upon.  And the social tagging feature is interesting and somewhat useful; I’ll probably use that more in the future.  It is interesting to see how people have tagged certain pages, and the tags are nice when I’m just meandering around the world wide web looking for fun sites to visit.  But overall I use Delicious to store my bookmarks rather than to find new ones.

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