Monday, 6 April 2009

Collecting Connections

Discussion Forums and Blogs are very good at capturing current thoughts and opinions. They are, by their very nature, chronological. This is fine when you regularly follow them but can be unhelpful if you only visit occasionally or happen to stumble across them.

Take Blogs. How do you know whether the information / knowledge / opinion given in the post made 12 months ago, has (or has not) been superceded by something more up to date in a later post. So, for example, if you came across my post about social bookmarking made in June 2008 - KIN Bookmarks - how would you know it had been superceded by the more recent Social Bookmarking Take 2 without trawling through the intervening posts or at least reviewing posts that have been tagged Social Bookmarking? (Actually, not such a huge issue since I haven't been a prolific poster; but you get my point).

Take Discussion forums. We frequently have threads where people post recommended links. (See for example Recommended Blogs and New Generation Expertise Location products.) A newcomer to the boards would be hard pushed to find links relevant to a topic they are interested in by trawling through all the boards.

This is where Wikis and Social Bookmarking tools can help. But they do need a little process and discipline.

Wikis (by which I include any form of user modifiable web pages) can be great for summarising and or aggregating information gathered over time as described in my post in February: Connecting & Collecting. To continue the examples above. If you came across the social bookmarking posts above and wanted to know for example, if you wanted to know what - if any - social bookmarking tool is in use at KIN, where would you go for a definitive answer? Well you could go to this list in Memberspace which is (or I hope will become) the definitive list of who uses what tools in KIN. (I use the term 'Wiki' very loosely here - subject of another blog post maybe!)

Likewise, I believe that use of a social bookmarking tool such as Diigo can provide a powerful means to collect and aggregate recommended bookmarks. So I have bookmarked using Diigo the links shown in both the above threads and tagged them 'Blogs' and 'Expertise Location' as appropriate. So now the easy way to see what Blogs have been recommended by KIN members and what 'Expertise Location' tools people have recommended looking at is to visit the tag cloud (and some associated lists of bookmarks generated from Diigo) on this KIN Tags and Bookmarks page.
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