Social bookmarking is a way for web users to organize, share, search, and control bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.
Information can be added to these bookmarks in metadata, so that other people may find out the content of the website without first needing to download it for themselves. Such descriptions may be free text comments, votes in favor of or against its quality, or tags that collectively or collaboratively become social tagging, “the process by which many users add metadata in the framework of keywords to shared content”.
In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to save and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with certain people or groups, shared only inside specified networks, or another mixture of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.
Most social bookmark services tell you to organize your bookmarks with informal tags instead of the traditional browser-based system of folders, although some services feature folders or a combination of folders and tags. They also enable viewing bookmarks connected with a chosen tag, and include information about the number of users who have bookmarked them. Some social bookmarking services also draw inferences from the relationship of tags to create clusters of tags or bookmarks.
Many social bookmarking services provide rss web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.
As these services have grown up and grown more popular, they have added extra characteristic such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features.
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