I have been a devotee of social bookmarking tool delicious since 2007 and now have nearly 4000 items tagged. Although the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos (slide 17) in my July 2008 presentation Knowing where it’s at: find it? flag it? share it? (or how delicious saved my life) were staged for effect, the ability to accumulate links to resources online rather than generate piles on (unread) papers in my office has been a genuine revelation.
Alongside delicious, I also dabbled briefly with Connotea, the online reference management tool from the Nature stable. It has the same potential as delicious for user-generated tags, but at the time I couldn’t really see what additional value it was adding and I let my interest wither, electing instead to use delicious alone for all of my bookmarks, including journal articles.
More recently, I’ve been persuaded by a colleague to take a close look at rival social citation application citeulike. This time around I think I get it. One of the features that really appeals is the potential to import comprehensive bibliographic information armed only with the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). With journals making the DOI of articles increasingly obvious on their websites and in table of contents alerts, this becomes a very straightforward way to collate large quantities of metadata whilst retaining the capability to tag a paper with whatever keywords reflect its relevance to you.
In truth, I have not conducted a rigorous side-by-side comparison of citeulike v connotea (or any of the other similar tools). I am quite sure, for example, that they all have the potential to assimilate bibliographic details armed only with the DOI. For the foreseable future I will continue to tag journal articles using delicious. However, this feature of citeulike, couple with the capabililty to establish shared libraries of articles relevant to members of a particular list, has persuaded me to also give the latter a prolonged trial.