Social bookmarking for knowledge workers in development

July 8, 2007

Peter Ballantyne proposed to do a project about our tagging experiment. We are using the unique tag NPK4dev (non-profit knowledge management for development) to tag resources on knowledge management in a development context (you can see the tagcloud here). We worked for one afternoon with 7 people, after which everyone disappeared except Christian, George and myself. The three of us then continued to produce this video to explain the usefulness of social bookmarking for individuals and groups with a common interest. We used the commoncraft videos about RSS and wikis for our inspiration! We had to make it in roughly 1,5 hours, so we didn’t have time to make more drawings. We had to do it three times (the first two times we made major mistakes). The first time we had placed the drawings neatly in a row, so our task of putting the images was easy. The third time, though, every thing was a mess, so we were crazily searching for the relevant images.

Click To Play

Christian was so nice to make a timeline of the NPK4Dev tag that we are using to tag resources about knowledge management in a development setting. (here‘s the blogpost) The timeline is brilliant, you can see blogging and ‘howto’ are big hits topic and recently agriculture scored high. If you’d be a facilitator of a community of practice and everyone (or the majority) of the people are tagging, it would be a perfect tools to monitor the interests.

Some new ideas I gained:

  • The way Christian is able to digest flows of information and pick up interesting stuff amazed me as compared to other people who complaint about information overload when a list produces more than 3 mails per week. I guess the keeping track of RSS feeds and scanning information is a new skill. – let alone reading it. It also depends on how you define your professional need for keeping up with information and recent developments.
  • We can make a next step with our tag by offering several subfeeds by combining tags. For instance npk4dev+blogging can make for a feed on blogging for development. npk4dev+news can generate a news feed.
  • If you’d be a facilitator of a community of practice and everyone (or the majority) of the people are tagging, it would be a perfect tools to monitor the interests and it can help you in the preparation of events etc.
  • You can combine the feed with a customized search engine eg. google coop to make searching in the links easier.
  • It’d help to make sense of the flow if you could highlight excellent resources, either by rating, or by adding a tag like top10. Then you could highlight the top resources in another space (wiki, newsletter, whatever) for people for whom following the feed doesn’t work.
  • Generally speaking, you help the users (especially for people without broadband connections) by working on the information, by printing lists, printing top information, adding top resources in websites or wikis, sharing summaries in discussion lists, etc. (you’d have to work out what works for people).
  • Magnolia seem to offer more and better features than delicious, like taggers profiles and community spaces and better tagcloud options. (hmm, should we all shift??)

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