Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Navigating del.icio.us: Browsing related tags

In my previous post, I explained how to navigate del.icio.us by configuring the way that the tags are listed (by frequency, in bundles, as a cloud). In this post, I'll explain how to use the great 'related tags' feature at del.icio.us to zoom in on the materials that will be most useful to you.

When you are viewing a set of tags for a particular user (either your own tags, or the tags of another user, like my Aesopus user tags or my OnlineCourseLady user tags), you will start off by seeing all the tags listed in the far right column.


To access a tag, just click on the name of the tag. For example, here is what I see if I click on the tag "perry133" (the story of the dog and his reflection in the water). Notice that now there are related tags which appear, in addition to the complete list of tags. The related tags are all the tags that are linked to the tag that I have currently selected, perry133:

I can then click on PLUS sign in order to see the items that feature both tags. For example, if I click on the PLUS sign next to the tag "english," that will give me all the items that are tagged as "perry133" and as "english" (that is, English translations of the fable of the dog and his reflection):


MAKE SURE YOU CLICK ON THE PLUS SIGN. If you click on the tag "english" that will give you all the items tagged English, not just the items tagged with both "english" and "perry133."

You can keep clicking on related tags in order to further refine your selection. For example, if I now click on the PLUS sign next to "illustrated," that will give me all the fables tagged with "perry133 english illustrated" (illustrated English translations of the fable of the dog and his reflection).


You can also see how this works at the level of the del.icio.us browse box; if you want, you can simply type the PLUS sign and the additional tags in the box, without clicking on the related tags:

This is all directly reflected in the URL as well, and you can also just type the URL directly if you want:



In addition to adding related tags, you can also remove them; at the bottom of the related tags box is a link for removing any tags you have selected:



Finally, you can get an RSS feed for any tag combination you have created. Just look for the RSS link at the bottom of the page:


Thanks to the power of Feed2JS.org, for example, you can see here, automatically, the latest items which have been tagged as "illustrated" by the Aesopus user (that's me!):



Over at my OnlineCourseLady account (which I use for materials related to my online courses), here are the latest ebook items I have tagged:



Although del.icio.us is a very simple system, you can use it to do some pretty amazing digital tricks! I'll explain something next time about del.icio.us badges and other nifty extras.


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