Two of the most popular and commonly-used tools in the ACI Scholarly Blog Index are bookmarks and lists. Bookmarks allow you to save selected posts that you find relevant or interesting, and then return to those posts later for further reading or review. While bookmarks are great for notating independent posts that you found noteworthy or worth exploring further, lists are ideal when you intend to organize more than one post into a collection based on a shared topic or project. For example, you might want to have a collection of posts in your primary field or that relate to your current research interests; a list would be ideal in such cases. Lists also work well for collections based on projects or collaborative interests – for example, a student collecting posts for possible use in an upcoming essay, an instructor curating an assigned readings list to share with students, or a list you intend to share with peers or common interest groups.
One of the most helpful components of both bookmarks and lists are tags, which are words or phrases that you can attach to a bookmark or list. They can be as broad or as narrow as you need them to be. Tags assist with organization, allowing you to classify selected posts according to terms you choose. When viewing your bookmarks or lists, your tags act as hyperlinks within ACI: you can click on any tag to view all bookmarks – or all list selections, when working with lists – that contain that specific tag. In addition, ACI will also display your previously-used tags to help you keep your personal bookmarks and lists organized, thereby providing a “controlled vocabulary” customized to you to ensure you’re not inadvertently creating 10 different tags to represent the same topic (unless you intended to). Because well-thought-out tags help you to organize your bookmarks and lists to better meet your research needs, and in ways that make that bookmark or that list more meaningful to you, we wanted to present six ways ACI tags are commonly used in scholarly blog research.
While adding the primary subject or discipline of the content of your selected bookmark or list as a tag may seem like a no-brainer, it’s actually a step that can be easily missed when focusing on how the bookmark or list will be used rather than the standalone disciplines the content may represent. If, for example, you’re creating a list of posts you might use for an upcoming essay in your Medieval Literature course, you may be inclined to limit your tags to those sub-genres specific to your current research – for example, a tag for “Medieval Literature”. However, keep in mind that the post may also prove useful in a more general sense, such as later assignments in that course, assignments in a different literature course, or just personal interest uses that may come up later. In this example, adding tags like “Literature”, “English”, or even “History” might have some unforeseen advantage.
Consider adding important keywords from the post content as tags for your bookmark or list. As with “Subject”, this one may also seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re focused on the broader subject or application of a post’s content, you may miss the advantages of tags on keywords reflected in that post. Let’s say you’re taking a biology class and just found an excellent post to bookmark for an upcoming assignment. You might be tempted to just add a tag for “Biology”, but what is the blog post about? Does it discuss cancer? Add a “cancer” tag. About stem cell research? Add a “stem cells” tag. If it’s about plant biology, consider adding “Plants”, “Botany”, or even “Plant Biology” – depending on your own activities, interests, and path of research.
Our technical support team actually thought of this one during product development, and it’s one of the most effective uses of tags for bookmarks and lists in ACI. When researching scholarly blogs in ACI, both students and faculty benefit from attaching a course ID tag to those bookmarks and lists specifically relevant to that course. Why is this so effective? Because your topical searches may differ from semester to semester, and within semesters, too. Wouldn’t it be nice to click on the “BIOL5080” tag and immediately see all bookmarks or list items relevant to your Biology 5080 course? Researchers can use such a tag to organize their activities based on a specific course, whether those researchers are students with posts related to assignments in that course or faculty who used those posts to build lecture notes or develop a student project.
The benefits of this tag are similar to the benefits of the Course ID tag. In the above example, clicking on a “BIOL5080” tag can show us all entries relevant to a specific class, so how about a “Spring 2016” tag to classify all posts relevant to a specific semester? For example, if you’re a student who has a few semesters’ worth of ACI posts, you can limit your view to those bookmarks or list items relevant to your current classes. Or if you’re a librarian tasked with updating medical-related ACI post links in a university’s LibGuide each semester, attaching the “Spring 2016” tag would allow you to remove those medical-related entries from last summer and refine your list of entries to those selected during, or for, the present or upcoming semester.
Group or Project
Consider adding a tag that represents the collaborative or project-based use intended for that bookmark or list. For example, a student might benefit from being able to click on a tag like “European History Final Exam” or “Dissertation Research”, especially as the number of bookmarks or list entries in that researcher’s collection grows. A faculty member creating lists for his lab students might choose to tag some posts with “Lab Group 2” and others with “Lab Group 3” with the intention of assigning diverse posts for the different student groups.
Finally, consider adding the professor name to your bookmarks or lists – another fine example by our technical support team that students and faculty have found useful. At first glance, you might only imagine students using this one to designate all posts relevant to assignments or research under a given instructor. However, faculty can also add their own names as tags in their lists, as they allow students to click on those tags to view all entries tagged by that faculty member’s name, regardless of project or topic-based interests. Or they may be creating a public list that other ACI users can find and follow: that tag could serve as a notation of the individual maintaining that list, and can also act as a hyperlink for researchers to easily view other items affiliated with that individual.
When used in conjunction with bookmark notes and list descriptions, tags serve to enhance your content discovery and post collections. Remember, as your bookmarks and lists collections grow, your tags will play an increasingly important role in organizing your ACI research. Visit ACI today and find out just how useful tags can be – both for bookmarks and for lists – in the ACI Scholarly Blog Index.