I started using del.icio.us in Nov. 2007 when my office computer had some problem and automatically removed all my bookmarks in IE, Firefox, and Safari. Now I don't have to bookmark my favorite sites in several computers. Believe it or not I use several computers on a daily basis: two at the reference desk, one PC and one Mac in my office, and one Mac and one PC laptop at home. del.icio.us helps me organize my bookmarks in one central location and I can access them whenever I want. I also use 2collab to organize research articles. When I was in Scopus or ScienceDirect, just one click, the article citations will be bookmarked in my 2collab site.
So, what do social bookmarking tools mean to libraries and library patrons? Our Reference & Outreach Department created a delicious account hoping that it can be served as a resource portal for reference staff. This site is still under development. Another project I have been working on is LISTEN grant. The project team created a delicious site to organize useful Web sites and provide easy access to its users. An online presentation, "Using a Social Bookmark Site to Assist in Diffusion of Online Information to Support Professional Practices", will talk about our experiences with a social bookmarking site as a means of providing a central repository for online information related to information literacy and evidence-based practices in nursing. It will be presented at the 13th TCC Worldwide Online Conference in April 15-17, 2008.
Is social bookmarking all that good? What is the other side of the world? When bookmarked article citations on campus, it's better to find the citations to add to your site from free PubMed if available, otherwise, you would be frustrated. On campus bookmarks to articles will give you access to full text articles the library subscribed to while you tried to access them off-campus, the access would be denied.
Potential for research assistance? It might be helpful and useful to create interest groups using social bookmarking tools such as 2collab, CiteULike, or Connotea. Then invite faculty members to participate in the group activities. Social bookmarking tools can also be used to created subject guides for different group patrons such as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, occupation therapy... I might have a try.