I really enjoyed writing for the ALSC blog about how I use Evernote for my storytime archive and thought it would be fun to share another online tool I make heavy use of, and see what your experience has been.
Diigo is a social bookmarking tool (like delicious or Google Bookmarks ) that you can use to save links to websites, pdfs, slide sets, and other sites on the web. Because it’s cloud-based, it’s available to you no matter where you are. I’ve used other systems before, but in 2011, Google Bookmarks rolled back their lists feature and hundreds of my carefully curated links were left in one untagged pile in my account, grrr, and Delicious looked for awhile like they were going to get shut down (they weren’t, just sold from Yahoo.) So I looked around for an alternative and found Diigo, which I’ve been using happily ever since.
Caveat: This is NOT an exhaustive Diigo tutorial. I know I am not using this service to the max, and if you are using it too you probably know things I don’t, so share them in the comments! At the same time, I know other services may have similar features; Diigo is just the one I know best.
Once you set up a Diigo account (there are free and premium options), to add a url to Diigo, you can use the “Add” button on your Diigo page, or use a bookmarklet or a browser extension. You fill in a form with the url, title of resource, and then can add an annotation and some tags. If you use the bookmarklet, the url and title will auto-fill and Diigo will suggest tags for you. Then the links go into your Diigo library in a big list, most recent on the top.
Search & Tags
It doesn’t matter how the links are stored, however, because there’s a search available that checks for keywords in the url, title, annotation, and tags. Before I started building up my library, I spent some time thinking about my taxonomy, and really made a commitment to tagging, and I think this has helped me a great deal. I thought about how I remember the resources I come across, and decided to tag for format (PDF, slides, blog post, website, abstract, etc.), for content (I use the six skills and five practices from ECRR a LOT as tags for my work), and also by project (staff newsletter, storytime, collection development, etc.). I’ll think, “Oh, there was that pdf handout with vocabulary activities I came across while I was writing the last newsletter,” and then I can look for “vocabulary” and “pdf” and “newsletter” and pull it up. Your tags will be different, but don’t hesitate to use them–there is an advanced search so you can look for combinations of tags or keywords and narrow your results list.
Highlights & Notes
The search feature is great but what I REALLY love about Diigo is the ability to mark up the webpage and save those notes with the site. You can do two things: highlight specific text on the page, and write general sticky notes. Both are saved with the site in your Diigo library, so when you come back later, you can see what your thoughts were and what you liked from the site. PLUS you can send a marked up link to a colleague, who can see your notes and highlights with without needing a Diigo account of their own.
Here’s a link to an article I came across last month while I was looking for great quotes about why writing is an important early literacy skill. You can see my highlights–I didn’t make any notes on this one. http://diigo.com/01d9jo
My colleague Laurie Anne thought this might be something she could use in her outreach work with busy preschool teachers: She could send them a regular email with a link to a new article every month, with certain points already highlighted. It could also be a quick way to start discussion within your own department.
Here’s a really little thing that I appreciate: say I come across a website or article and I’m not sure if I’ve read it before. I open up my Diigo bookmarklet and if I’ve already saved the site, the bookmark form pops up filled in, and any highlights I made previously appear. I don’t have to go searching through my links to see if I’ve already saved it.
Groups & Lists
Diigo is a social network, though you can decide how social you want to be. You can allow followers and can follow other users, and see what they are bookmarking on your Network page, but you can also set your account so no one can follow you and you can mark your bookmarks private so no one can see them. You can also make a group, inviting specific users to join, and use it as a way to gather resources for a department or library-wide project, joint presentation, or paper. You can post notes to the group, so there’s room for general conversations as well; you’re not limited to comments on links to communicate.
Another helpful feature is the ability to make lists. You can manually add links to a list, which you can then print (your annotations will show up along with the title and url), give out as a simple url (like a bit.ly), or play the list as a slideshow. I’ve used the printed lists for quick handouts for staff trainings and the list url during presentations as a “consult later” resource for attendees.
You can also link your Twitter account, and Diigo will save your favorite tweets (up to 20 a day for free users); you can tweet or Facebook your links; you can have Diigo generate a blog post with a link you saved and your annotations; save links to Diigo via email; use Diigo via app on your phone; and probably a million other things I’m missing.
Are you on Diigo too? Let us know how you use it!
Melissa Depper is a Librarian in the Child and Family Library Services department of the Arapahoe (CO) Library District, where she starts every week off right with baby storytime. She serves on the ALSC Children and Technology Committee, is on Diigo as MelZed, and is on Twitter, right now probably, at @MelissaZD.