What Is Social Bookmarking?

Basically, it means storing your bookmarks on a web site, instead of in your browser. That makes your bookmarks more portable bewteen different computers. It is also a quick way to communicate to others which websites you find useful.

A social bookmarking server typically analyses the list of sites that people bookmark in order to determine what is most popular. They frequently track the most popular site of the day, as well as what keywords (or tags) people associate with the bookmark. This extra metadata allows the sites to better organize the links into a loose taxonomy. This is frequently called a folksonomy, since its a taxonomy based on popular consensus, rather than rigid rules.

My personal favorite site for storing my bookmarks is Del.icio.us. However, when I come across a site that I think many people would like, I usually also post it to Digg. Different sites have different uses. Whatever you choose for your bookmark server, we will support it.

How Do I Use Bookmark It!?

If you are a user, you should first set up an account with a social bookmarking site. Several such sites are listed below. Then, any time you see the Bookmark It! link on the web, click on it to bookmark that page.

What if the web site does not have a Bookmark It! link? In that case, you need to make your own custom toolbar button. To do that, simply drag the button below to your browser's toolbar:

Bookmark It!

Now, any time that you want to bookmark a page, simply click on the toolbar button you just made. With luck, the Bookmark It! site will become more popular, and the toolbar will not be needed as much.

If you are a webmaster, you should place Bookmark It! links on your site, according to your color scheme:

Feel free to change the color however you like...

You can create a link to Bookmark It! with pure JavaScript:

<script src="http://bookmarkit.org/js/bookmarkit.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <a href="javascript:org_bookmarkit_bookmarkCurrentPage()"> <img border=0 src="http://bookmarkit.org/img/bookmark-it-blue.png" title="Digg? Delicious? Whatever you use, click to Bookmark It!"></a>

Or you can use a standard HTML link if you wish to control the url and title parameters. For example, to allow your users to bookmark Google's main page, you would use a link like this:

<a href="http://bookmarkit.org/mark.htm?title=Google&url=http://google.com"></a> <img border=0 src="http://bookmarkit.org/img/bookmark-it-blue.png"></a>

The JavaScript link is easier and more dynamic... however the URL based approach gives you more power over the title, the description, and the tags.

What Social Bookmarking Site Should You Use?

Before you can use Bookmark It!, you need to create an account on one of the social bookmarking sites I support. If you use a different site, send me a link and I'll add support as soon as I can.

Why So Many Bookmarking Sites?

I believe bookmarking sites are going to be the future of meta-sites that categorize and comment on other web pages. comment on news. The Slashdot model may be passe, and the Digg model may be the future.

I also believe that the quality of a social bookmarking site is in the community. Sometimes a smaller, more restrictive community has better content than a larger, more established site. For example, take Lifehacker. They started out with a very small set of contributors and commenters, and now they're huge.

These communities have something of a critical mass: if they have too few users, then the site is rarely updated, and the content suffers. However, if they have too many users, then the trolls and Slashtards come out of the woodwork and take over. Its a tricky balance...

Also, social bookmarking will certainly become an important way for people to find information on corporate intranets. Each organization may have a private bookmarking server for their employees to use. I designed Bookmark It! to support those kinds of sites as well, with minimum hassle.

The Code Behind Bookmark It!

This site is written entirely with JavaScript.

Why oh why would I do such a thing? Mainly to prove that it could be done. I am a strong advocate of mashups and Ajax, and feel that many future web sites will be built in similar ways.

All of the user's settings are stored in a cookie. If you do not have cookies enabled, then you will not be able to use this site. The advantage here is that you do not need to set up an account with me to start making bookmarks. Plus, you do not have to fork over your email address, or generate yet another password to remember. I don't need it, so I don't ask for it.

The process for generating a bookmark is as follows:

  1. A webmaster places a Bookmark It! link on their web site
  2. A user on that page decides to bookmark it, so s/he clicks the link
  3. The link redirects the user to the Bookmark It! web site
  4. Based on the settings in the user's cookie, Bookmark It! immediately redirects the user to the social bookmarking server of their choice.
  5. After filling out the form on the bookmark server's page, the user is redirected back to the page they were viewing.

Essentially, Bookmark It! keeps track of what social bookmarking server you use, so webmasters dont have to. Other important features to note:

The primary advantage to this method is simplicity. A web master need only place one link on their site to support all social bookmarking sites. As soon as a new site is available, I can quickly add it to my site. There is no need for you as a web master to update any of your pages.

I am currently working on a way to use AJAX to do the bookmarks, but I'm not certain of the value there. That would mainly be useful when you want to submit a link to multiple sites simultaneously. However, each site is slightly different, and you may want different tags for each site. I'll wait for feedback before I put too much effort into that.

I am also working on an API that would allow Bookmark It! to work securely with private bookmarking sites. For example, if your organization set up something like Del.icio.us internally, you might want to put bookmarks on your internal server. It would be a simple task to allow the Bookmark It! link to redirect to any machine on your intranet, provided it follows a basic API:


The url, title, and description parameters are all self-evident. The tags parameter is for tagging links with certain keywords or metadata. The xml parameter is not currently used by anybody: its a free-form piece of XML text that future sites may want to use. I just threw it in there to be cool.

I have several ideas on how to implement the secured site API, and am currently leaning towards an API that reads HTTP environment parameters for the URL to a server. Your organization could set up a firewall rule, or a web gateway rule to set this extra flag when you link to Bookmark It!. This site would notice your flag, and give the user the option of submitting it to your internal server.

Or, for more security, the Bookmark It! link could just send the data back to your gateway server. That way, you do not need to tell me anything about your internal network topology: it can all be handled through rules at your gateway.

If you have any opinions on this matter, please contact me.