Social Bookmarking: Human-based search engines

Posted: June 11, 2006 in Informative
Tags: ,

You might have recently heard the term “Social Bookmarking” here and there on the Web. The concept of social bookmarking has been around for a while but it seemed to gain more popularity only recently. In case you do not know what it means, social bookmarking services are web sites that let users store lists of their favorite websites. These URLs (or bookmarks) are usually organized by means of “tags”, and they can be shared among users. Users can set their bookmarks to be private of course, but this is usually the exception, not the rule.

The idea started just as a way to enable users to access their bookmarks from anywhere (which was not possible if the bookmarks are stored locally on the user’s machine). However, social bookmarking has evolved to become a possible alternative for search engines. This is basically because of 2 reasons:

1. Categorization:
In search engines, robots (or bots, or crawlers) determine under what category to classify each web page. This is based on some patterns and algorithms. In contrast, in social bookmarking, the same task is done by human readers who have read and understood each web page before ‘tagging’ it with tags that represent its contents, thus giving more meaningful results.

2. Ranking:
In search engines, the rank of a page depends on how many pages link to it or how many times a keyword occurs in it. On the other hand, in social bookmarking, the rank of a page depends on how many users have bookmarked this page. A page thought to be useful by many users gets a high rank, which makes sense.

The “social” aspect of social bookmarking is that users can form what is known as networks or user groups, based on the pages they bookmark (which reflects their interests). This gives users a great opportunity to access material that other users in their network consider useful.

Among the most popular social bookmarking services are and digg.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s