Del.icio.us Museology

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It is a fact: the Centre for Museology is del.icio.us! We have set up the Centre4Museology del.icio.us page, which will include bookmarks relevant to Museology and more specifically to issues, topics and courses of the Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA programme.

For those of you who are not familiar with del.icio.us:

del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website — the primary use of del.icio.us is to store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too. On del.icio.us, you can use tags to organize and remember your bookmarks, which is a much more flexible system than folders

Students will have access to the page and will be able to add and thus share bookmarks relevant to their study and courses. In this way, we hope that throughout the year (and of course the following years), a repository of museologically relevant and more importantly course- and subject-specific web resources will be developed that will be useful primarily to our students and members of staff and possibly others as well.

Two main issues regarding social bookmarking and tagging are the lack of context behind someone’s bookmarks and the different things that the same tags may mean to different people. Those and of course the often endless lists of tags on the right hand side of some del.icio.us pages make finding useful bookmarks in others’ del.icio.us pages sometimes quite challenging .

However, when the context is known and especially when one is part of that context (e.g. a university course) social bookmarking could be very beneficial and constructive. Because of the shared context, words, terms and tags are understood largely in the same way (the work of Stanley Fish on ‘interpretive communities’: Is There a Text in This Class is very useful here), which can be then very beneficial both when one tags a web resource and when one looks for web resources under tags. The addition of bundles (namely headings/categories, which in our case are the courses we run) will potentially add a further context when the students will be looking for resources.

I think there has been a lot of emphasis in general on the act of ‘tagging’, how creative it can be, how things can have different understandings etc. In the Centre4Museology del.icio.us pages, the important thing will be not what tag one puts on a page, but what page one puts under a tag; in other words, how one relates a particular website to a museological issue or a course topic. In this way, I think we can hope to achieve indeed social and not just individual bookmarking.


I would like to thank Alex Smith, Art Gallery and Museum Studies student in 2006-7 for researching, as part of her work placement, different software and sites of collaboratively and easily created and maintained web resources. The Centre4Museology del.icio.us page is largely based on the outcomes of her research. It also draws on results of a web-related survey among Art Gallery and Museum Studies 2006-7 students.

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