Friday, February 02, 2007

The Search for Delicious

A book that was popular at the bookstore where I worked was a children's fable called The Search for Delicious, which is actually a kind of argument of definition, since the whole plot involves a civil war about what is delicious. The young hero has been sent around the kingdom to find out what everyone thinks is delicious. I won't ruin the ending by telling you what everyone finally agreed on. Socially constructed knowledge, for sure.

I keep wanting to share this book with my argument students who have just finished their definition essays. No one has chosen the word delicious to define -- that would be fun -- but we have had some very interesting papers defining adolescence, cool, truth, family, cruelty, identity, drug (caffeine?), medicine, euthanasia, murder, design, and others.

Meanwhile, Michael has helped me with the other search for delicious - del.icio.us - the social bookmarking website where users can track their favorites/bookmarks online so that from whatever computer they use, they can find the sites they want. This is great because my home computer has a different set of favorites than at work and often it's a hunt to find what I want.

Furthermore, the categorizing system allows me to designate a site by more than one category, thus alleviating the search for "what did I file this under?" And, I get to see what kinds of tags other people use.

And maybe the best part is the Tag Cloud, where the categories are listed by SIZE depending on how many sites are categorized under that term. Then a user can see which ones are most popular. Also, users can share their del.icio.us network. Now I just have to tag all the sites in my favorites - that's a lot. Too much for a Friday afternoon, for sure.

This really does define Cool.
Thanks, Michael.

ps: Michael also helped me with Bloglines, but I haven't gotten very far with setting that up, either, but that will help me find whether Michael has anything new on his Collage of Citations without actually going to the site to check. Pretty handy, huh!

UPDATE on Feb 6 -- I am still using my sidebar vertical linear list of favorite bookmarks because it is visual and spatial - I know that OSU Blackboard is about half way down, etc. Will I maintain a (wasteful?) duplicate filing system?

2 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Personally, when I'm looking for delicious, I look for something sweet, savory, or some combination of both. One of the most delicious things I can think of is a creamy shellfish coupled with some form of a salted butter braising and a few unobtrusive spices to bring out the true character of the fish.

This is best with crab, lobster, scallops, or shrimp. To a lesser degree, crayfish can be used to achieve a similar culinary effect.

2:17 AM  
Blogger amd said...

I don't think it is a wasteful duplicate filing system. I think what you're talking about is keeping a few shortcuts to stuff you use all the time more available than they would be in del.icio.us -- I tend to use my bookmarks toolbar for those things.

When I first started using tagging systems, someone told me that they difference between folksonomies and taxonomies was that taxonomies (like the Library of Congress subject headings) were intended to allow a searcher to find a (particular) thing. Folksonomies, on the other hand, are useful because they let us find collections of things that we can then browse. I think that's at least mostly true. Which is not to say that your vertical bookmarks file is a taxonomy, but instead to say that a tagging system, or a folksonomy, is probably not the best way to retrieve an individual thing (like Blackboard's address) that you use over and over and over again.

amd

7:23 AM  

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