PennTags looks like a very interesting experiment.

PennTags lets you organize and share your bookmarks. You can use the UPennToolbar or the PennTags Bookmarklet to post websites into your tagspace. PennTags can also be used to tag Franklin and VCaT records. [PennTags /]
Functionally, it looks very like Graphically, it looks well with pictures of birds!

A few interesting things for me:

  • I have suggested several times that we will see greater use made of a new bibliographic tissue which connects the user environment and database resources. I am thinking of citation managers, reading lists, social bookmarking (see citulike and unalog) and perhaps RSS feeds. These are personal and shared collections of data and links.
  • These provide one example of another emerging feature of our bibliographic apparatus - we will increasingly have discovery or 'rendezvous' experiences outside the catalog, or other library resources, where the user may want to be linked transparently back into a library service for fulfilment. This example shows a local bookmarking service. Citation managers, reading lists, and so on, as I just mentioned, are others. As we expose more data to search engines, that provides another example. It is not straightforward doing this in a robust generalized way.
  • Is there a scale issue here? Users need to be motivated. Would they rather benefit from collaboratively meshing ('mesh-up'?) with a broader range of users in a wider service - itself for example - or in a more academically focused service like citulike? Or ...?
Incidentally, I seemed to be getting strange results with some of the catalog links that I tried.

Update: Michael Winkler left a comment that the catalog bug is fixed.

Via diglet.

Comments: 7

Jan 09, 2006
Dorothea Salo

Yes, we were playing around with this on the #code4lib IRC channel, and the catalog links did weird things for us too. Bug somewhere. I'm sure they'll fix it.

Even considering the bug -- addressable, bookmark-able catalog results! It's about time!

Jan 09, 2006
Michael Winkler

Sorry about the catalog bug, it is fixed now. Thanks for the feedback.

Feb 02, 2006
Roddy MacLeod

With reference to the scale issue in the context of social bookmarking and community-type services in general - would you say that the academic community is a potentially ideal community around which to base such services? That community is surely large enough for collaborative social services to work, and surely also has many shared interests.

Would not, for example, a type social bookmarking service, linked to a connotea type service, linked to a targeted/personalised and searchable watch list of RSS feeds, linked to a bibliographic search aggregator, etc in a type interface not have potential?

Feb 02, 2006
Lorcan Dempsey

Roddy - yes I think so. CitUlike is in this space also. Clearly there is a network effect - these services are better the more people participate. I do not know what impact of disciplinary fragmentation would be. The number of people who might do this at the moment is probably a minority? There would have to be a strong enough incentive for people to either exclusively use this apparatus, or to split their attention between this and more generic tools like delicious.

Feb 03, 2006
Roddy MacLeod

Lorcan -Thank you for your response.

Disciplinary fragmentation might be incorporated into the potential service - i.e. to offer 'flavours' according to discipline.

As you point out, potential numbers participating would be the crucial issue. To attract sufficient numbers, much content etc would need to be offered.

In your post above and your Smart Aggregation post of Feb 1st, you mention RSS aggregation and Technorati watchlist type services.

Many academics are likely to be interested in journal Table of Contents (TOC) alerts, but at present, this tends to involve either multiple registration at publisher's sites for email alerts, or a knowledge of RSS plus considerable effort required to find and select RSS feeds for journal TOCs from various sources - and then either insert them in a feedreader, Bloglines folder, or wishlist.

A service which aggregated journal TOC RSS feeds from numerous publishers, but which allowed easy personalised selection from the thousands currently available ( have started a list) a la wishlist, and which delivered this in netvibes type interface - could surely be valuable? It could be called ticTOC (tick the TOCs you require).

For the type social bookmarking element in this potential academic service - might it somehow be possible to 'seed' the service with already available metadata/tags (from places such as the RDN or LII ?

Mar 09, 2006
Michael Winkler

Update: now see PennTags show up in the Penn OPAC. Many folks have talked about this as an interesting enhancement. This is an 'early' development.

As an example, see:

Please send comments on how catalog tags should be expressed. We are in the early stage of development (although development is fast).

Mar 09, 2006
Michael Winkler

Oops, I meant

Our development server is behind our firewall.