It’s another year and it wouldn’t be a new year without new changes. The folks at Delicious recently unveiled their latest upgrade. Critically, the most important feature of the ‘tags’ has had a make-over. Not an extreme make-over in the TV sense but for search and retrieval they have moved to a Twitter-like #hashtag search function.
Bookmarking is still familiar with the ‘Add Link’ and descriptive elements. However in order to retrieve bookmarks previously, you could type a series of your tags which would filter your bookmarks to the most relevant results. The principles remain the same but the manner in which you implement the search must now begin with a ‘#’.
For example, to retrieve my links related to ‘philosophy’ I merely need to type #philosophy into the search box and it will filter my links (Figure 2). Examination of the URL reveals it to be identical to the previous method of using the backward ‘slash’ to separate tagged terms. (www.delicious.com/colin71/philosophy)
Although Delicious is the perfect means for an individual to maintain their own database of links, its power comes from the horizontal browsing or serendipitous encounters with digital resources you would not otherwise come across. In the course of this browsing you will find other users who may bookmark similar items or have items which you can add to your list of links (which is literally 1 click away with the ‘Add link’ function) which becomes part of your searchable database.
However, you may find that their bookmarks would significantly increase the power of your database of links in which case you can add them to ‘your network.’
In future, searching @network #philosophy I can retrieve links across other users in my network with the tag ‘philosophy’ (Figure 3). This ability to customise and build your own database for search and retrieval is what distinguishes Delicious from Google. Instead of relying on Google’s algorithms to give me the results it finds, my network performs this function. As Delicious operates according to cluster theory–a ‘network search’ could provide (if the network is a good one) more precise and relevant results as it is clustering results within a pre-defined ecosystem of URLs rather than relying on an algorithmic hierarchy of links (Google). However, Delicious is not Google and unless it had spiders which webcrawled the billions of webpages out there and indexed them then it will never be Google. (Although in theory, if one bookmarked these billions of pages and tagged them, it might be possible to get there.) In short, they perform different functions so you have to decide what you are aiming to achieve so you can get the most out of either.