Nahum's Sandbox

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An electronic bookmark is a locally stored Uniform Resource Locator (URL) used to quickly retrieve the content resource referenced by that URL.

Electronic bookmarks use the metaphor of physical bookmarks - thin markers, commonly made of paper or card, used to keep one's place in a book, in order to be able to return to it with ease.

Electronic bookmarks have been incorporated in browsers since the Mosaic browser in 1993 [1]. Bookmark lists were called Hotlists in Mosaic (and in previous versions of Opera), but this term has faded from common use. Electronic bookmarks are called Favorites in the MS Internet Explorer and MS Windows.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a method to share and collectively organize and manage bookmarks over the Internet. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves are not shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.

These bookmarks can be either private, or public, or shared only with specified people or groups.

Descriptions may be added to these bookmarks in the form of metadata, so that other users may understand the content of the resource without first needing to download it. Such descriptions may be free text comments, votes in favor of or against its quality, or tags that collectively become a folksonomy.

Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags instead of the traditional browser-based system of folders, although some services feature categories/folders or a combination of folders and tags.

The concept of shared online bookmarks dates back to April 1996 with the launch of itList [2], the features of which included public and private bookmarks. Within the next three years, online bookmark services became competitive, with venture-backed companies such as Backflip, Blink, Clip2, ClickMarks, HotLinks, and others entering the market. They provided folders for organizing bookmarks, and some services automatically sorted bookmarks into folders (with varying degrees of accuracy). Blink included browser buttons for saving bookmarks; Backflip enabled users to email their bookmarks to others and displayed "Backflip this page" buttons on partner websites. Lacking viable revenue models, this early generation of social bookmarking companies failed as the dot-com bubble burst.

Founded in 2003, Delicious (then called pioneered tagging and coined the term social bookmarking. In 2004, as Delicious began to take off, Furl and Simpy were released, along with CiteULike and Connotea (sometimes called social citation services) and the related recommendation system Stumbleupon. In 2006, Ma.gnolia, Blue Dot (later renamed to Faves), and Diigo entered the bookmarking field.

Enterprise Bookmarking

Enterprise bookmarking is a knowledge management method based on the social bookmarking. It enables users in an enterprise to collectively tag and organize bookmarks of both web pages on the Internet and data resources stored in a distributed database or file server. Enterprise bookmarking applications run on the corporate servers, typically behind the corporate firewall (but with a possible secure access from outside the firewall).

Enterprise bookmarking is derived from the social bookmarking. The first major announcement of an Enterprise bookmarking platform was the IBM Dogear project developed in Summer 2006 [3]. Version 1.0 of the Dogear software was announced at Lotusphere 2007, and shipped later that year as part of IBM Lotus Connections.

Enterprise Bookmarking and Enterprise 2.0

Enterprise bookmarking could be seen as an element of the Enterprise 2.0, and some Enterprise 2.0 suites include bookmark sharing as a module (notably IBM Lotus Connections and Jive SBS). Nevertheless, enterprise bookmarking could be better viewed as a knowledge management methodology independent of the broader Enterprise 2.0 context. In contrast to other social software, enterprise bookmarking has the knowledge sharing as its focus. While Enterprise 2.0 requires significant modifications in work habits, corporate protocols and procedures, even corporate culture, and thus is often met with the resistance to change [4], enterprise bookmarking merely extends the personal bookmarking, and it is thus much easier to implement it.

Bookmarking in Knowledge Management

There are several ways how bookmarking can be effectively used for knowledge management.


The simplest application of bookmarking is for indexing large collections of either printed or electronic content resources. Even a simple collection of bookmarks in a browser is already a personal reference index. However, such collection cannot be shared with others and cannot be accessed from other computers and Internet-enabled devices.

By applying the social bookmarking, content resources can be collaboratively indexed by either professional librarians or volunteers or a combination of both. Social bookmarking applications allow sharing and ubiquitous access to bookmarks.

There are several social web catalogs based on this idea of collaborative indexing, such as LibraryThing, Goodreads, Shelfari, aNobii (in Italian), etc. Connotea and CiteULike are free online reference management service for scientists, researchers, and clinicians.

Bookmarking can be arguably viewed as the simplest version of knowledge capture or knowledge acquisition. This is in particular true if the enterprise bookmarking is applied to troubleshooting and problem solving (which is often the case in the software engineering). References to code snippets, hacks, workarounds, "tips and tricks", tutorials, etc. often constitute the body of knowledge required to successfully complete engineering projects. It can be further argued that with additional features the use of bookmarks could be extended to knowledge elicitation. Such feature could be integration of a discussion forum into the bookmarking procedure.

Knowledge Sharing

Bookmark sharing is probably the simplest (and most affordable) electronic form of knowledge sharing. It provides means to create virtual communities that share common interests and knowledge needs. Such communities can collectively manage and maintain a collection of valuable content resources, allowing members to explore these resources and benefit from each other.

Knowledge Conversion

Since Nonaka in his seminal 1994 paper [5] promoted the concepts of explicit and tacit knowledge in the organizational science, these concepts played a major role in the theory and practice of knowledge management and organizational learning. According to the so-called SECI (Socialization, Externalization, Combination, Internalization) model proposed in Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) [6], innovation emerges through the spiraling interaction of explicit and tacit knowledge. Enterprise bookmarking can be arguably viewed as an important instrument in the Externalization and Combination patterns of the knowledge conversion, in which tacit knowledge is expressed in comprehensible forms that can be understood by others and explicit knowledge is communicated and diffused.

It can be further argued that enterprise bookmarking could be efficiently applied in the Internalization and Socialization, if enhanced with two additional mechanisms:

  1. Feedback mechanism would allow sharing of the experience gained by using the bookmarked resources. The basic voting mechanism offered by many bookmark sharing applications should be extended with the ability to specify how a resource was used in practice, as well as to explain which criteria where applied to its rating. Moreover, this mechanism should also incorporate the ability to recommend and suggest experience-proved, as well as additional speculative uses of a resource.
  2. Discussion mechanism would allow users to collaboratively develop social practices that embody tacit knowledge in action, and facilitate learning by doing. Such mechanism would enable users to go beyond mere pointing to a resource (referencing), and enable conversion of tacit knowledge through interaction between individuals.

Bookmark Sharing for International Development

Social bookmarking could be effectively applied to the international development as an instrument for the management of knowledge resources. Many of the discussions held among the practitioners is simply an exchange of resource references and bibliographies. Discussion forums are not well suited for such exchange, since they do not provide a sufficient structuring required in the management of libraries and collections of content resources. Moreover, these references soon get lost in the archives, hidden behind the recent discussion threads, and over the time it becomes increasingly difficult to retrieve them. This is at least partly due to the fact that discussion forums do not provide mechanisms (such as tagging) to systematically organize and search collections of references. Discussions forums could be thus effectively supplemented by the social bookmarking that provides such mechanisms.

There are several reasons why social bookmarking is suitable for the domain of international development:

  • It is simple to use (extension of the browser-based bookmarking). Even users who have only the basic computer skills can easily adopt social bookmarking.
  • It can span across distant geographical areas enabling knowledge sharing on distance. Through social bookmarking global communities can collaboratively build their resource libraries.
  • It is a low cost solution for knowledge sharing in the sense of sharing knowledge resources (free if using the web-based social bookmarking applications).

Enterprise Bookmarking Software

Web Based Social Bookmarking

General Purpose Social Bookmarking

Although not the first bookmark sharing application, Delicious (initially called is the biggest and the most popular. Founded in 2003, it pioneered tagging and coined the term social bookmarking.

Stumbleupon is a recommendation system that enables its users to discover and rate random Web pages, photos, and videos. Web pages are presented when the user clicks the "Stumble!" button on the browser's toolbar. StumbleUpon chooses which Web page to display based on the user's ratings of previous pages, ratings by his/her friends, and by the ratings of users with similar interests. StumbleUpon also allows their users to indicate their interests from a list of nearly 500 topics to produce relevant content for the user. There is also one-click blogging built in as well.

Diigo is a social bookmarking website which allows signed-up users to bookmark and tag web-pages. Additionally, it allows users to highlight any part of a webpage, and attach sticky notes to specific highlights or to a whole page. These annotations can be kept private, shared with a group within Diigo or forwarded to someone else.

There are numerous other general purpose social bookmarking application on the WWW. For an incomplete list, click here.

Social Web Catalogs

Although inherently similar, social bookmarking and social cataloging differ in respect to the items that are indexed. While social bookmarking indexes network resources that are referenced by a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), social cataloging is applied to items, such as books, CDs, DVDs, etc., that are not network resources (and are consequently not referenced by a URL).

There are several popular web-based social catalogs:

Connotea and CiteULike are free online reference management service for scientists, researchers, and clinicians.

Enterprise Bookmarking Software as a Service (SaaS)

Yoolink is a clone of Delicious in French. What is more interesting is that it also offers an enterprise bookmarking version called YoolinkPro that is offered as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Free Software


Scuttle is open source web-based collaborative bookmarking software available under GNU GPL. It is an open-source clone of The project was abandoned, and further development is frozen today.

Scuttle was successfully applied in research [7].

SemanticScuttle is "a social bookmarking tool experimenting new features as structured tags or collaborative descriptions of tags". SemanticScuttle is based on Scuttle. It improves the use of tags with some new features related to the organization of tags and interactions between users. For example, SemanticScuttle provides the relations of inclusion and synonymy for tags. These relations are defined while adding tags to a bookmark, and later used in browsing (based on a hierarchical display of inclusions) and search (supporting synonyms).

Scuttle and SemanticScuttle are not well documented.

Jumper 2.0

Jumper 2.0 is "web-based universal search engine, innovative knowledge management platform, and collaborative enterprise bookmarking engine". It is strictly a bookmarking application without any additional social software aspects. The bookmarking seems actually more like a complex annotation, and it appears to be designed primarily for the annotation of data sets and non-textual files, such as MRI files.

The annotation procedure in Jumper 2.0 seems clumsy and tedious. For example, first a bookmark tag is created, and then the location of the bookmarked file is specified in a tag field. Tags are called “tag profiles” because they contain many metadata fields (which can be further extended through customization). Bookmarks can reference each other, and free-text descriptions contained in these tag profiles can contain hyperlinks to other tag profiles.

Although Jumper 2.0 is free, the support is rather costly.

Commercial Software

ConnectBeam Spotlight

ConnectBeam Spotlight is primarily an enterprise bookmarking facility. It is enhanced with social networking features such as a user profile (consisting of the contact details, free-text self-described expertise, and tags) and people search (based on the tags associated with profiles).

ConnectBeam Spotlight tags seem to be simple keywords, apparently enhanced by a description. Tag clouds are used for display and selection of tags.

ConnectBeam Spotlight is accompanied by ConnectBeam Connectors. The ConnectBeam Connectors is a set of wrappers that use API of various corporate applications, in order to allow the ConnectBeam Spotlight to access the content that they store. The corporate applications that ConnectBeam Spotlight can access through the ConnectBeam Connectors are Atlassian's Confluence, Jive Clearspace, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Outlook, Google OneBox and FAST Enterprise Search. The integration with the corporate applications enables ConnectBeam SpotlLight to display its search results in parallel with the search results of that application (in a side-by-side display). A browser toolbar enables bookmarking of anything that is displayed in the browser.

FastNeuron InfoFlow

FastNeuron InfoFlow combines document management software, enterprise collaboration software, enterprise social networking software, knowledge management software and social bookmarking. Major features include among others a rich text editor, document server, wiki, etc.

InfoFlow uses semantics to create ontology-driven knowledge bases. This is done in a very intuitive way, by allowing users to define entity types (classes) and connections (relations) that hold between these types. When an instance of a type is displayed, all connections defined for that type are displayed as section titles, and the corresponding values are displayed as lists of hyperlinked items.

Resources are bookmarked using tags, but tags are classified into entity types too. Browsing through resources can be then done by types, rather than through querying for a particular tag. InfoFlow saves a screenshot of the tagged web page as displayed in a browser at the moment of tagging.

InfoFlow provides a MS Internet Explorer toolbar for bookmarking and searching.

InfoFlow is server-based platform, and requires Oracle 10g (including XE) or later.

Enterprise 2.0 with Bookmarking Features

IBM Lotus Connections

Lotus Connections is a state-of-the-art Enterprise 2.0 suite that consists of the following modules:

  1. Homepage (personal workspace),
  2. Profile (directory of people),
  3. Bookmarks (social bookmarking and bookmark sharing),
  4. Activities (collaborative task management),
  5. Wikis (collaborative creation of web content),
  6. Files (file sharing),
  7. Communities (virtual communities sharing blog, forums, bookmarks, etc.),
  8. Blogs.

The pioneering enterprise bookmarking application Dogear is one of the modules (3 in the list above) included in the Lotus Connections platform. It "allows people to bookmark web content, tag it, and share it". Bookmarks can be located via keyword, tags and the person who created the bookmark. In addition to simple searching, this module can dynamically refine search results with the user identifying users or other tags (facets) of interest to them.

Bookmarks module can output bookmarks via standard feeds, and provides an API so that third-party tools can integrate with it.

Jive SBS 4.0

Jive SBS combines collaboration software, community software, and popular social applications. Jive SBS makes it easy for groups to brainstorm, share ideas and see what everyone is working on. The product includes team member blogs, wiki-docs for group editing and discussion tools. Recent versions include video, analytics, and social media monitoring.

Recently Jive SBS 4.0 was released.

Enterprise bookmarking is only a minor aspect of Jive SBS that is designed as a comprehensive platform with ambition to become an all-inclusive working environment. For example, SBS features even rich-text editor and tight-coupling with the Microsoft Office applications, in order to allow collaborative document editing. The quantity of features that it offers in their latest release is totally overwhelming, and makes the product appear as complex, and with potential usability issues.

Enterprise bookmarking is keyword based. Keywords can be related to categories. When tagging a resource with keywords, the resource is automatically placed into the folders that represent the associated categories. - Jive identified the categories as the “right direction” to go (it is innovation in SBS 4.0 that replaces the so-called tag groups featured in SBS 3.0).

Jive SBS is server-based platform tailored to the corporate market, and running on a variety of web servers.


The following is merely to test how fast this page will be indexed by various robots (if at all): bf7b305e 10944f98 816b9a9d 5dabe7ff. It was placed on this page on July 21, 2010. -- Please, do not remove it for now. [8]