Diigo or Delicious for Beginners?

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DEMOfall 07 Day One – Diigo
from b_d_solis’s photostream.

A number of educators have been trying out Diigo’s new features (Vicki Davis and Brenda Muench, for example). There’s a lengthy discussion on a number of topics. One question came up earlier in the discussion that I want to explore a little deeper: if you’re introducing social bookmarking to complete beginniners, would Diigo or Delicious be a better choice?In the conversation, Liz Davis asked:

I’m wondering if Diigo is too much for the newbie. Delicious is so simple and obviously useful. I’m afraid Diigo would scare some people away. I’m still inclined to start with delicious and save Diigo for my more advanced users (of which I have very few).

I’m kind of torn on this myself. I had a good chat with my mom a few weeks ago about social bookmarking. She’s a substitute teacher, and could immediately see the benefit of having a list of links that she could access from any school. She could have her emergency backup activities for teachers who don’t leave lesson plans for the sub and easily get them from anywhere. She also totally “got” tagging and why it was useful (I explained it as multiple keywords instead of putting something in a single folder and having to remember where you put it).

Beyond having a list and tagging her bookmarks, I doubt she’d use any other features, at least not initially. Which service do you think has the lower barrier to entry, especially for someone who isn’t super-technical?

This is just a quick list with ideas from the discussion and my own thoughts.

Pros for Delicious:

  • It’s basic, and there aren’t so many other features that she won’t use to ignore.
  • Because it’s more basic, it might be less intimidating.
  • There’s plenty of existing training and tutorials out there, including a Common Craft video.
  • You could start with delicious and then move to Diigo later if you want more power.

Pros for Diigo

  • It’s prettier than delicious, and “pretty is a feature.” In some respects, I feel like the more attractive interface might actually be less intimidating, even with many more features.
  • You can ignore all the other features available. As Maggie Tsai has explained, it’s OK to be anti-social on Diigo.
  • Easy to email links–a nice feature using a familiar old technology for beginners.
  • You wouldn’t have to migrate to another system if you want to do more over time. I think migrating and learning “one more new tool” is a barrier for a lot of people.
  • There’s forums and discussion areas for support from other users.

So what do you think? What’s the easiest tool for my mom and other beginners to start with? Why?

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24 thoughts on “Diigo or Delicious for Beginners?

  1. Hi! Came across this article when searching for Diigo. I’ve personally never used Diigo much because I found it a little complicated for first-time use too. Delicious is about plain bookmarking, so it doesn’t cover everything for me.

    I’d like you to try and (encourage your mother and other non-technical educators) to use Bibkosh.com . The concept is simple: It makes knowledge sharing and knowledge management easy. There’s a toolbar you can download and use to store your bookmarks online! Themes can be created to organize your knowledge (which can be webpages, documents, anything!) in your personal knowledge vault.

    Please let me know if this is helpful!


    (From Bibkosh)

    1. I just took a quick glance at Bibkosh, and it looks like the only way to use it is by having the toolbar up. I always hide the Diigo toolbar, only using the right click menu and single button. I basically boycott any tool that requires as much of my screen real estate as is needed for a toolbar.

      But, if you update the tool at some point in the future where a toolbar isn’t required, maybe I’ll take a look again. I’m committed to Diigo, but it’s good to know what other tools are out there.

  2. Being able to keep it in both places is a major benefit of Diigo. If nothing else, I feel safer having all my bookmarks backed up on another system.

    By the way, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of “vanity” searching. I actually have a Google Alert feed for my name so I see it right away when anyone mentions me. I think you’re smart to keep track of what your students will see when they search for you–and I’m sure some of them will Google your name.

  3. So I was googling my name today (Yes I’ll admit to it. I like to know what my students see when they search my name) and I came across another blog than cited my blog. Amazing! Thanks for the link Christy.

    As for Diigo – I have to confess that I’m using it exclusively now. I do have it set up to auto send my links to my Delicious account though. So many of my friends aren’t ready to step over to Diigo. I’m so glad that Diigo gives us the option to keep both open with out doubling up the work.

  4. Thanks for this great post. I’m putting together an intro workshop for non-teaching colleagues – your post not only compares del.icio.us and diigo, but also demonstrates the power of the edublogosphere as a personal learning network.

    I’ll be posting the workshop on Technology for Learning under Web 2.0 Tools Workshop.

    Many thanks!

  5. Ah, so you’re looking for something that also lets you effectively do an “OR” search. In other words, you would see everything tagged marketing OR communication (or both).

    The search feature on either service will give you that result though. Just use search and type in “communication OR marketing”; both services support Boolean operators. That actually will bring up everything that has communication or marketing in the title or tags, but having the search a little broader rather than too narrow seems to be what you want. A broader search lets you browse yourself. If OR is the right operator, sometimes NEAR works (Diigo supports NEAR, but del.icio.us doesn’t).

    So, I suppose you have to use the search to initially filter it somewhat, but I think you can get what you want using either service. If there’s a specific search you use often, you can bookmark it so you don’t have to go through search each time.

    Or maybe I’m still misunderstanding. You said that “some software” does this. I’m not sure what “Adobe” product you’re referring to–Acrobat Reader maybe?

    Do you want the search to do the full text of the actual website instead of just the title and keywords, like Reader’s full-text search? If so, Diigo’s a better choice because it caches each page as you bookmark it and does the full text search. If you highlight the relevant sections in Diigo, you can expand the entire list of annotations within your search result, which would let you skim through the actual content more easily. Is that more like what you want?

  6. Right now when I search, I end up with the results as you saw. However, what I would like is something like this:


    List all the sources with communication tags

    Communication Research

    List all the sources with communication+Research tags

    Marketing Communication

    List all the sources with these two tags.

    All of these could then be skimmed through rather than me doing a search every time. I like skimming through all my resources (I am a very efficient skimming reader) so I can pick out if there are any two or three that sources that keep coming up if I were doing a project on Marketing communication resources for example. Maybe they would come up under Marketing, maybe under marketing and communication, maybe all three. I guess it is just a preference I have to be able to skim through all the resources, but to also give them some categories. It is somewhat like the indexing capabilities of some software or the search function in adobe that allows you to see the word in context.

  7. Maybe I’m still not quite understanding what you want, but you can browse all your bookmarks by tag in either del.icio.us or Diigo right now. In del.icio.us, just click any tag, or add the tag after your username in the URL, like this:


    That page shows the related tags in a column to the left of your regular tag list. Click the plus preceding any tag to browse what’s tagged with both of those tags.

    Here’s my bookmarks tagged both communication and research:


    If I wanted to see just the research ones, I’d click that tag name instead and browse those links.

    Diigo’s very similar. Here’s my communication bookmarks:

    And here’s my communication+research:

    In either system, I can add or subtract more tags to refine the search or just browse.

    Both Diigo and del.icio.us allow you to write notes, but Diigo also allows you to highlight text in the original. I tend to use both highlights and notes to keep track of why I bookmarked things.

  8. Yes, I did attended all three conferences George’s group had last year. When I saw the link to your blog through Tony Karrer’s blog, I decided to check it out.

    What I am envisioning is something like a directory: communication (one of the tags I have used) and then a list of the sites on my delicious. Perhaps another tag, technologies, might show up in both, but as I go through those in the communication category (listing the sites the way they are) and then skim through those in the technology category, I can see those that fit the criteria I am looking for.

    This is a regular problem I have with many search engines: I know the information is out there, I just can’t find it. I am a browser/skimmer when I look for information. I don’t like the computer to decide the perfect answer. I prefer to look through the information. It’s like going to the book store with a title rather than looking through the stacks until I can find the book that meets what I am looking for. Sometimes I don’t know until I can look through the descriptions. This is why I like delicious: I can keep notes on the bookmarks so I am reminded why I chose those links.

  9. Hmmm, I don’t see a way to do browsing by keyword. You can search the full text in Diigo, so that can help if you didn’t tag well. I’m not sure what you mean by “index” though. Can you clarify what you’re envisioning?

    BTW, did you attend the Online Connectivism Conference last year, or maybe another online conference with George Siemens? I believe you and I had some forum conversations at a conference, but I can’t remember which one.

  10. Can you index your bookmarks in either? I would love to have a view of my bookmarks by keyword. I know I can search by keyword on delicious, but I would like to scroll through the keywords and just browse my bookmarks. This way, if I did a poor job of tagging (I sometimes forget over time what tags I was using for particular projects), I can find what I am looking for.

  11. I have my delicious account too, although I started using both at about the same time. It isn’t the same for me as it is for people like you who have been using it for so long. You can import all the links to Diigo though; several people have been talking about that in the educator discussions. It’s been so long that I don’t remember importing mine.

    @Joan, most of the discussion seems to lean the same way you are: start with Delicious, then migrate at a later date while keeping Delicious if they want.

    @Maggie, for existing users I completely agree with you about using both services. I’ve been using Diigo over a year now, and while I did stop using Furl, I still use Delicious. For a brand new user though, especially one who isn’t very technical, juggling both services just isn’t a realistic expectation. Highlighting and sticky notes are another matter though; it would be worth showing those features to my mom to let her see what’s possible.

    In my particular case, I’m going to probably show my mom both and let her choose which looks easier. That works for a one-on-one situation like this. For people doing more teacher training though, I’m not sure–I think the question is still open.

  12. Personally, I would start with del.icio.us and, if and when it would be helpful or the student is interested, I would suggest diigo, using the “post to del.icio.us” capacity in diigo. I haven’t tried to import my del.icio.us bookmarks into diigo; perhaps I will if I continue to find diigo’s features more helpful. However, I have YEARS of links that I CAN’T afford to lose in del.icio.us, so I won’t be deserting it.

  13. Hi Christy,

    First of all, thank you for your kind help and support of Diigo. Appreciate your frequent input and occasional bug reporting 🙂

    In term of delicious vs. diigo, first, they can be quite complementary. You don’t necessary need to give up delicious to use diigo. However, one very important point to consider, and especially for educators and students: don’t just bookmark! The ability to add highlight and sticky notes to recall why you bookmark something in the first place, to retrieve and share info easily – that should be enough reason to look into Diigo!



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