The number of genealogy-related groups in Diigo continues to grow. If you’re not familiar with Diigo, it’s a researcher’s dream. Diigo allows you to bookmark sites, pages, documents and more to an online repository which you can access from anywhere. Diigo’s group feature is even more impressive. Here, a group of people sharing the same interests can share their bookmarks with the group, thus building a collective directory of online resources. Take a look at this group of Florida resources and you’ll see how different users bring different perspectives to the group – which adds value for all group members.
The Diigo platform for online bookmarking offers a simple, but sophisticated way to collect and organize bookmarked pages and sites. The screenshot above shows a Diigo group for Florida Research Resources where group members add bookmarks to online content relevant to the group. Entries in this group range from links to Florida’s historical and genealogical society sites to university archives to books in Google Books. Because this group is open to any Diigo user who is interested in Florida research, every group member becomes a contributor and helps build the collection.
At first look, the archive doesn’t seem to have any order. Diigo uses a tag system to organize bookmarks. When you bookmark a page, you will see a tags field in the displayed index form. These tags – or keywords – organize the records. As you see in the record below, there are several tags describing this item. When bookmarking an item, you can add any number of tags to describe the resource. If you would like to see all the cemetery bookmarks included in this group, just click on the cemetery tag in this record. You’ll also find a tag index – called a tag cloud – on the group page.
Notice that this record also includes a descriptive note. Diigo provides a field for entering a description of the bookmark. This is handy for any number of reasons. For example, if you’re bookmarking a specific book in Google Books, but the relevant information doesn’t begin until page 438, you can make a note of that in the description.
Diigo has plugins for most commonly-used browsers making online bookmarking as easy as adding a bookmark to your browser collection. Once you click on the bookmark icon, an index record similar to the one shown below appears on the screen.
Once you’ve entered the necessary indexing information – tags at the very minimum – you can choose one of your member groups if you wish to share this bookmark, then click the Save button. It’s that simple.
If you don’t already have a Diigo account, you’ll need to sign up. Basic accounts are free and provide the tools you’ll need. Next, go to the Tools area to install the toolbar for your browser. You might want to visit some of the existing groups to see what they are doing. The Genealogy Research Resources group is quite active and has an impressive collection of bookmarked information. It’s a public group which means that you can view the group’s collection even though you aren’t a member. Scroll down the page and in the right sidebar you’ll see the list of the top 10 tags used in this group. Click View All to see the complete list – called a tag cloud. The screenshot below is just a fraction of the complete list.
Notice that some tags appear larger than others. The larger the word, the more often it has been used to categorize bookmarks. Looks like “archive” is a popular tag. You can also click on the Freq tab at the top of the list to display the list by order of frequency. When you click on a tag, you are presented with a list of all the bookmarks tagged with that keyword. Below is the result after clicking on “archive” in the list above.
In the right sidebar you see the selected tag at the top and list of additional tags also used to tag bookmarks when the archive tag was used. For example, if you look at the first bookmark item on the left – Archives.com – you’ll see it was also tagged with “genealogy” and “USA”. These tags also appear as related tags in the sidebar. If you click on the plus sign icon in front of a related tag, it will be added to the bookmark search criteria and the bookmark list will be redrawn to include only those bookmarks that are tagged with “archive” and your additional tag.
Did you notice the little orange RSS icon at the top right corner of this screenshot? Once you’ve set up a search that meets your research needs, click on that icon for the address to your search’s feed and add it to your newsreader subscriptions. Now, whenever a new item is added to the group which matches your search it will also pop up in your newsreader. How’s that for armchair research!
If you find an interesting group and would like to join, look for a blue “Join this Group” button in the right sidebar just above the Group Info box. Most groups are moderated to protect them from spammers so you will have to be approved by the group’s administrator. Once done, you’re free to add your own links to the group’s collection. If you don’t see the Join button, look at the Group Info box to see if membership is by invitation only. In that case, you’ll need to contact a member to see if it’s possible to join.
The Diigo groups feature helps you connect with other researchers and provides a way to share your collective research finds. It’s simple to use and costs you nothing so what’s keeping you?