“Ask me about pins”*

Does anyone else think of Apprentice Postman Stanley* when they hear “Pinterest“?

Pinterest is visually appealing and as Sequeria (2011) pointed out it taps the fundamental human desires to collect and flaunt the collection. However, I wondered how likely is it that Pinterest would serve library goals of collaboration or engagement with users, and how one might evaluate its effectiveness for those goals.


My idea of “collaboration” is as Freed (2012, ¶ 6) defines succinctly: “Two or more people working together towards shared goals”. Cooperating and sharing the same space are not the same as collaboration.

Luckily a fellow student was also curious and had friends willing to contribute to shared boards.  We quickly discovered major limitations to be worked around for collaborative use.

  • No direct method to ask to join a board.
  • No direct communication with contributors other than through pin comments.
  • No way to remove or suspend an irrelevant pin – Even if the ‘shared goal’ is clearly defined in the board description, when pinning content only the board labels are displayed in a pinners’ list, so it is easy for irrelevant content to be posted accidentally or through misunderstanding.

Effective Library Pinning

Of the many library boards I explored, I noticed very few showing evidence (as measurable in number of likes, repins or comments) of engagement with or appeal to their community. Those that do, I am gathering on a board “Effective Library Pinning“.

For the many others (with some interesting ones pinned at Library Pinning), perhaps sharing book covers and event photos achieves the purported value of Pinterest for driving traffic (Bullas, 2012) ** — if so, I hope some begin writing about it (or maybe join my board).

Seed a game

Simply setting a fun topic can engage users but do need workarounds to kick off. For example:

New York Public Library (NYPL)(n.d) identified pets as a popular Pinterest topic and rallies users around a theme of their signature lions. NYPL picks up relevant pins if they’re tagged #NYPLLittleLion.


In Kansas City Public Library’s contest *** , members created their own “Perfect Library” board, emailing in the URL (Harper, 2012).  Following this example, Pinterest might be used among other tools to brainstorm with the community prior to a redevelopment.

I wonder if workarounds increase the barriers and reduce the number of participants?

This has been a response to the first optional OLJ Task (Module 2); evaluating my use of Pinterest as a social bookmarking tool, critically evaluating the effectiveness of different features and/or functions; and briefly stating different ways an information organisation may be able to use Pinterest to support information services, learning and/or collaboration of users and/or employees. The switch from Delicious to Pinterest approved by Lyn Hay in the Facebook group on July 25, 2012.

* Until you’ve read Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, nevermind. –^–

**Thanks Dale. –^–

*** Thanks librarygal. –^–


Bullas, J. (2012, February 8). Pinterest drives more traffic than LinkedIn and GooglePlus. jeffbullas.com. Retrieved from http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/02/08/pinterest-drives-more-traffic-than-linkedin-and-google-plus/
Harper, J. (2012, April 9). Pin your perfect library Pinterest contest. Kansas City Public Library Blog. Retrieved from http://www.kclibrary.org/blog/kc-unbound/pin-your-perfect-library-pinterest-contest
New York Public Library. (n.d.). Little Lions. Pinterest. Retrieved September 27, 2012, from http://pinterest.com/nypl/little-lions/?timeline=1
Sequeira, N. (2011, December 11). [Answer to:] What’s special about Pinterest? Why do some people find the site maddeningly addictive? Quora. Retrieved July 25, 2012, from http://www.quora.com/permalink/Ojxauw7Hm



Libraries using social bookmarking these days?

Continuing my learning plan for social bookmarking, in which I describe pre-INF206 starting point and identify possible progress points…

Libraries Using Delicious?

Bodleian Library Cake Sculpture, Oxford. (2009). By Sally Crossthwaite. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0.

During and since the original 23 Things program, I have been aware of experiments by libraries or librarians using delicious (through linkrolls, widgets, RSS feeds or their page on Delicious) for:

  • subject guides, readers advisory (for students/staff);
  • start pages;
  • e-portfolios;
  • even saving all their own blog posts to see how others bookmark them <– did anyone keep doing that?.
  • More frequently my RSS readers contained discussions by teachers or teacher/librarians about using social bookmarks in classes teaching evaluation of websites as knowledge sources. First there were those using designated tags or ‘for:’ functionality of Delicious. Others talked about Diigo groups.

Are there other uses to learn about? <– Something to seek in readings

Recent reports needed

Starting with the misfortune of scholarly journals and books being static: a 2008 report is already too old.  Corrado (2008) wrote about Binghamton’s experience, yet I had to go visit their website to discover they no longer appear to use delicious for Subject Guides, having switched to a commercial product.  Even Berube’s (2011, p. 61) example of Nashville Public Library Teen Web no longer links to Delicious. Yet unmaintained websites are no better.  For example, angelacw’s (2007) linkroll still includes many who stopped using it.

Last summer/spring I asked librarians of Chelmsford Public Library and Geelong Regional Libraries whether they could track use by patrons of Delicious rolled links. Neither did, nor had that depth of evaluation as a priority.

How do I discover other information services still or newly using delicious, or other social bookmarking tools? I’d love to know how they’re evaluating it too. My formal literature searches (keeping the date to within the last two years) are coming up zip. After exhausting my advanced Google search skills, Twitter told me KatieTT had just learned power skills:

Yet how much of my time is it worth to keep searching or to try chasing down libraries to see whether they still use Delicious?

The Bodleian Libraries are still adding items to their Delicious accounts — if only I could find out the service context, and evaluation strategies.

Somehow I always felt that if a site was worth recommending to patrons, it would be worth maintaining in a database integrated with the ILMS and OPAC.  I figured that the ideal would be enabling patrons to tweet, pin, save to bookmarking sites, Like to social networks from items in library catalogues, web-pages and posts.

Other than Delicious?

Perhaps I could investigate implementations of other social bookmarking tools by information services?  But if they’re all still piloting, will any have begun to get a good idea of how much value they return for the time spent playing with them?


angelacw. (2007, June 4). del.icio.us libraries – September 27, 2008. mélange. Retrieved 23 July 2012 from http://angelacw.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/delicious-libraries/
Berube, L. (2011). Do you Web 2.0?: public libraries and social networking. Chandos internet series. Oxford: Chandos.
Corrado, E. M. (2008). Del.icio.us subject guides: Maintaining subject guides using a social bookmarking site. Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 3(2). Retrieved from http://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/328

Still Delicious after 6 years?

Later this year my “OLJ for INF206” category will conclude with an evaluative and reflective report including three of seventeen possible (OLJ) “tasks”.  To be able to write that then; I will now and until then need a starting point and landmarks against which to check my progress.

For example:

If I am to evaluate my use of Delicious as a social bookmarking tool and include a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of different features and/or functions, I need to have tried those functions.  Yet if this is “as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject”, all of those I evaluated before the subject do not count.  Similarly, well before this subject, I had already learned about multiple ways that “information organisations use Delicious to support information services, learning and/or collaboration of users and/or employees”. Can I learn more?

Features & functions

Checking against Kroski’s (2008, p. 54) list of common features of social bookmarking tools:

  • Bookmarklets
  • Bookmarks
  • Tags
    • As well as using as many keywords as possible, I used subject codes and terms to save and share material for classes. I tagged with todo and toread, but rarely checked back on those. I have often sought out tagging strategies, hoping to improve my rediscoverability and reusability. Did I save any in Delicious? <– something to seek
    • The tagroll (in other tools called a tag cloud) I created for a blog sidebar in 2006 was lost in an upgrade, and became irrelevant when Blogger finally got labels.
    • Although Delicious no longer encourage(teach) them, there is apparently a WordPress Plugin. <– something to try
  • Search
    • My favourite feature because it searches my notes as well as the tags and titles.
    • However I was miffed when the option to first search just my own links disappeared.
    • I search my own collection either to inform a conversation from something I believe I saved, or to rediscover a variety of material that I am sure I gathered although I do not recall the specific tag.
  • Subscriptions / Saved by others
    • I followed the delicious accounts of bloggers whose collections looked to be regularly interesting, and I check them out somewhere between occasionally and rarely.
  • Global Tag Cloud
    • Perhaps this became less popular because Delicious dumped it for highlighting stacks. I certainly rarely looked at it.

Other features/functions:

  • Private Tags – occasionally came in handy, particularly when “for:” was a tag; or when I prefer my research to be private.
  • Tag Bundles
    • I found handy as a home-educator to bundle tags into the key learning areas – eg: my SOSE bundle.
  • Linkrolls
    • Delicious stopped encouraging these (by no longer showing how to make them), however I managed to resurrect and edit the code to gather material in a post on research diaries a year ago;
    • People got around this with widgets and gadgets.  However the download burden for loading widgets needs to be considered if serving a mobile audience. I would want to be able to track its usage to see whether it was worth it.
    • Can I create them again for this WordPress site? <– something to try?
  • Daily post to blog
    • When I tried it with blogger it required a workaround with diigo;
    • yuck.  This is a great way to lose an audience.  Receiving such posts through my RSS feeds was boring. Sure I found one or two interesting items, but too many were just links with no context.
    • It might work out okay if you are careful about
      • volume (for daily posts I’d recommend no more than three new links)
      • only using it if it includes your own notes, and
      • writing engaging, personal perspective notes.
  • Send to others & Twitter
    • I used the for: tag until a Send field appeared and also emailed while saving.
    • Long ago while saving a link I know I sent @twitter, yet my search of Twitter with from:moonflowrdragon source:delicious came up blank


    • have asked @Delicious

[Update 26 July] and received reply, conversation, and answers

  • import/export
    • In the mists of time I believe I imported a file of bookmarks to Delicious.
    • In the aforementioned search for an autopost option, I exported to Diigo.
    • During the Yahoo! crisis I learned to backup. My choice was to re-install a Diigo toolbar, import my latest, and subsequently save to Delicious via Diigo.
  • Stacks (when Avos bought Delicious back).
    • for the experiment, I tried it out in summer 2011/2012 and even made one public; <–Try another? maybe libraries using delicious?
    • I never really took to it because I saw no value in sending people away from my/organisational site.
    • Most uses I’ve read about already were primary or early secondary school gathering activities. <–something to search?

Since the start of INF206:

  • Save from Twitter & Facebook. <–something tried
    • Email from Delicious was timely – set up very easy;
    • Useful for backing up tweets with links… but that means it will have backed up links to all of the blogposts that automatically tweet!

… what have I missed?

After all of that, my learning plan still needs a starting point on how information services can use tools like Delicious… Next Time.


Kroski, E. (2008). Web 2.0 for librarians and information professionals. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve delicious dessert…