Social Bookmarking

A Comparative Analysis of Social Bookmarking


Social bookmarking is a tool that people of all levels use in order to more efficiently conduct research. One group of people this is helpful for is college students. What makes this tool so useful is that it allows students to keep track of their research while still keeping it organized. Social bookmarking allows people to do a variety of things in order to and organize research more efficiently.

We narrowed down our choice of sites using specific criteria. The main attributes were that the site had a downloadable toolbar, allowed highlighting and note-taking on the different sites being used for research, and allowed users to have their own profiles and networks containing all bookmarked information. Using these criteria it was easy to narrow it down to three sites: Diigo, Stumbleupon and Delicious. We found these criteria useful because they seem to be the most important when using these sites effectively to get research done.

We tested the different social bookmarking sites by going to random, but consistent sites on the internet and then bookmarked them using the appropriate bookmarking tool. So, for each site we bookmarked we would go to our homepage on either Diigo, Stumbleupon, Delicious and figure out how the bookmark worked. We looked at the different sites and determined how they organized the information and what users are able to do once the information is bookmarked and placed in their "library" of collected information. Different, unique features of each site were tested as well; for example, Diigo allows users to highlight and annotate right on the website whereas the other sites may not. By doing these tests, our main objective was to determine which site would be the most useful for college students.

Overall, it was easy to tell that these sites are very useful for conducting research in any setting but especially with college students. This is because sometimes it can be difficult for students to keep all of their research and notes organized, but these sites do that for its users and make whatever project or paper is being done easier.


The first site tested was Diigo. Though Diigo met basic criteria it also went above and beyond the other sites. Diigo not only allows users to bookmark and organize all of their research, but also contains other research tools. Along with basic bookmarking, it also allows users to note-take directly on the website they are using for research and then organizes these notes as well.

Toolbar Options

Diigo has two convenient buttons placed on user's browsers. These buttons at first allow users to sign in and then changes to an entire toolbar. This toolbar has buttons that allow you to bookmark, highlight/annotate, send/share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. The Diigo toolbar was helpful because it is easy to follow. What each "tool" on the toolbar does is easy to figure out and makes the process much simpler.



One of the pluses of the Diigo bookmarking site is that it allows users to highlight and take notes on the page that they are using for research. It then proceeds to even organize these notes for its users on unique profile pages on the main Diigo site. That way, users know where, when and how they got their information for projects they are doing. While also allowing users to highlight on the different pages, users can also take snapshots of the sites they are researching. These snapshots are then saved with the bookmarked links on the bookmarking sites.

To test this, we highlighted different information on the sites, wrote a small note about it and then went to our Diigo homepage to see how it was organized and whether the information was easy to access or not. When we checked the information was more than easy to access and organized so well that it would make any type of research seem simple.


When bookmarking a page, Diigo allows users to instantly share information with friends or other groups through e-mail, twitter or facebook. It also allows you to "follow" people and be instantly connected with the research that the other users are conducting. It is possible to join or add groups, which could be helpful when doing group projects for school. Through Diigo, users can even search what other people using this specific bookmarking network are bookmarking.


Stumbleupon also was a very helpful site when bookmarking. It also does all of the required criteria and more.

Toolbar Options

Though this site lacks the highlighting and annotating tools of Diigo, it has different unique attributes. The best part of this site is that it allows you to select a topic that you are searching for and then will ask you to “start stumbling.” If you choose to do this, then it will take you to a different site containing the information you were looking for every time you click the “Stumble” button. The other toolbar options for stumbleupon are whether a user "likes" or "dislikes" the page it took the user to. It then personalizes what each person is searching for based on their "likes" and "dislikes."

The only downside of this site is that it can get distracting which could make research difficult if the person doing the research is easily distracted. It is easy to get distracted with this site because sometimes the sites it brings you to are somewhat ridiculous and then it is easy to get sidetracked from what you are looking for. However, coming across random sites can also be beneficial in acquiring some unique and interesting research.



Though this site lacks the highlighting and annotating tools of Diigo it makes up for it with other features. Instead it allows you to narrow down choices using a bank of search options which makes it easier for users to determine what they are specifically searching for. Then it will take you to sites relevant to your topic of research, which is different from Diigo and Delicious in that it actually helps find research instead of just bookmarking it.


The profile for Stumbleupon recommends different pages for each user based on their previous searches. When a site is "liked" it goes to an option on the profile labeled "Favorites." Once inside "Favorites" it organizes webpages based on videos, pictures, informational sites, etc. There is also a subscription section that allows users to search for friends or groups that will allow them to connect with other users. Your profile also links with Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail so that users can find/invite friends with e-mails connected to these sites. Furthermore, it shows possible friend matches based on related searches.


Delicious allows you to tag, save, organize and share web pages just like the other sites.

Toolbar Options

Delicious has three different toolbar options. The first takes users to their profile where all bookmarks are saved. The second brings up a sidebar that is a simplified version of the users profile that shows all of the users pages and previously searched items. The third option is a tagging option which is used to tag/bookmark the different sites the user is doing research on. This toolbar is probably the most simplistic out of the three.



The last site, Delicious, is much like Diigo, though it also lacks the highlighting and annotating characteristics much like Stumbleupon. However it does allow users to take notes on the actual links from their profile pages. This being said, you can point out the most important part of the article on the link, however you cannot see it on the actual page. It makes finding the most valuable research points a little more difficult but you can still point them out.


Delicious also makes information easily accessible for both the user and other people. Like the other sites, Delicious allows users to have a profile page to make friends and acquire all your data in one place. It makes users' information easily accessible for both them and other people. Information found and bookmarked using Delicious can also be sent out to Twitter, Delicious friends and via e-mails. The profile for this site also recommends other sites for the user to search according to the previously tagged pages.


Though all of these sites were very helpful there are certain parts that were more useful than others. It definitely seems that Diigo is the best site when using it for conducting research for a project or paper, whereas the other sites may be more helpful when users just want to keep track of sites that have been previously visited. Diigo is the most helpful due to the highlighting and annotating tools. Although the other sites also allow note-taking, they do not allow it to the same extent that Diigo does. Instead the other sites only allow note-taking on the links on profile pages. Diigo is most beneficial to college students because with extensive research it is sometimes difficult to keep track of it all. With the sticky note and highlighting tools you can return to your research and find the most important information immediately. This is essentially what separates Diigo from all the rest. All of these sites are valuable when working in groups because they allow the users to share information interchangeably. Overall social bookmarking definitely seems to be a handy tool for research or even just searching the web.

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