Monday, July 7, 2008

Navigating del.icio.us: Tag clouds and more

You can choose from a variety of del.icio.us display options when you are viewing your tags, or when you are viewing the tags of any specific user. For example, here are the tags in my Aesopus account - even though this is not your user account, you will have these navigation options because it is a specific user account which you are viewing: http://del.icio.us/aesopus (notice that the URL is based on the user name:

Items per page. By default, all the tags are listed in order from most recent to oldest, on multiple pages. Down at the bottom of the page, you can select how many items you want displayed per page.


Right column: tags.
In the far right column is a list of all the tags that the user has used. These may or may not be displayed in "bundles" - which are just headings used to organize the tags. For example, in the Aesopus user account, the tags are bundled, as you can see here - you can click on the little up/down arrow to open/close each individual bundle:


Down at the bottom of that column is the option to show/hide bundles. If you hide the bundles, the headings are removed and the tags are put together all in one big group:


You also have the option of sorting the tags alphabetically or by frequency (from high to low).

Special tip: Frequency hack. You can also set a "minimum" filter, meaning that only tags with at least "2" or at least "5" items are shown. If you want to see all the tags, just choose "1" as the minimum frequency. Also, if you want to set a different number as the minimum, you can do that - just edit the URL directly. For example, if I click to set the minimum to 5, this is the URL you will see in the address bar:
http://del.icio.us/aesopus?setminposts=5
I can manually change that number 5 to 10 (or any number I want) in order to set my own minimum:
http://del.icio.us/aesopus?setminposts=10

Tag cloud. Finally, you can also choose to view the tags as a "cloud" rather than as a list. The cloud representation is a great way to use the visual sizing and color of the type in order to quickly grasp the relative frequency of the tags. So, for example, here are all the Aesopus tags, unbundled, in alphabetical order, with 3 as the minimum frequency, in cloud display. Each item in the cloud is a link which will take you to a page displaying the items for that tag:


In a future post, I'll show you how you can get a del.icio.us tag cloud widget to use in your blog or website - and I'll also explain how you can use "related tags" to further refine your del.icio.us browsing.


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