Step 1: Free your Bookmarks

Here is the first small step toward knowledge resilience:

Perhaps the simplest way to start sharing organisational knowledge is with social bookmarks. Most workers still have their list of Bookmarks/Favourites in their web browser, but when they’re not at their computer these links aren’t accessible. Enter the social bookmark.

Social bookmarks are web sites that let you create an account in order to save web pages. They differ from those on your browser in that 1) they’re accessible from anywhere; 2) you can clip a piece of the page for reference; 3) you add categories (a.k.a. tags); 4) you can search your bookmarks; and 5) you can share your bookmarks with others.

Here’s an example from the del.icio.us application:

bookmarking.jpg

Other social bookmarks I’ve used are Furl and Ma.gnolia.

Update: I now use Diigo

One advantage of social bookmarks is that they don’t require the IT department’s permission to use. You can start sharing what you find interesting/important with your team or section without any new technology other than a web browser and access to the Internet. You’ll also find that you will be sending a lot fewer e-mails saying, “hey, check this out”. By creating your own “tag” you can have everyone finding information about competitors or new trends. A tag such as “ABC123″ can be used by everyone to identify something for a specific project, and then you can search for that tag and the system will show you what everyone has found.

If you want to keep all of this secret, you’ll have to mark all your posts as private and then give others your password. Another option would be use an open source social bookmarking system and bring it inside your company’s firewall, but that would take some cooperation from the IT department. An example of an OS social bookmarking application is Steve Mallett’s de.lirio.us [no longer available, but Ma.gnolia is now open source]

As you continue to use social bookmarks you will also see others who have bookmarked similar items and then follow their links to show even more interesting stuff in your field of interest. The more you share, the more you learn.

I use social bookmarks for everything except some password-protected sites, like my bank. I will also set up a new category for a client if it can help us communicate better.

To learn even more, watch Lee Lefever’s Video: Social Bookmarking in plain English, showing how teachers can use social bookmarks for education, but the lessons are applicable for any workplace.

7 Responses to “Step 1: Free your Bookmarks”

  1. Lee

    Thanks for the link Harold (and for being a reader!) I’ve been thinking that one of the prevailing themes of Web 2.0 is email avoidance and social bookmarking helps.

    Reply

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