So there I was, tagging some new social bookmarking web sites to del.icio.us (and of course actually social bookmarking while I was doing it) when my colleague asks me for a pen. As I hunted around in my rucksack pockets behind the cables and memory sticks to find a biro, she remarked: “You obviously don’t have to use a pen very often these days.”, thereby obviously cocking a snook at my technophilia and general nerdiness. I was vaguely ruminating on the truth of this observation when she jaw-droppingly pointed out the reason for her request: “I need it to write down the address of a web site”.

This provided some encouragement to my plans for a work-based social networking project, but left me wondering how much of an uphill struggle it might be to get it working. She readily agreed to join the project when I explained what it was and the irony of her request, but clearly didn’t have too much of a clue as to what I was going on about. I had a similar experience yesterday when explaining the project to one of our IT Power Users; he has decades of nerdiness under his belt but has thus far singularly failed to embrace the Web 2.0 world.

A presentation next week to staff seems to be the way forward with some clear guidelines and a pathway for the project to follow. You never know it might just work.

Aside from its usefulness in the workplace, as part of my studies on H806 (code for a module on the Open University’s MA in Online & Distance Education), this method of sharing resources seems to have great potential for increasing access to well targetted and useful resources related to ours studies. The system of tagging makes it easier to see the relevance of the resource at a glance and will almost certainly save time in looking for resources, hopefully also creating a synergy of aour efforts as they are combined for the greater good of all in this particular community of interest/practice.

My love affair with Ubuntu has experienced something of a renaissance with the arrival of Hardy Heron, or version 8.04, as my fellow Twitterers may already be aware. As I’ve already remarked elsewhere, this user-friendly version is approaching comparisons with Windows for ease of use but still has some aspects that need work. On the plus side, automatic detection of your router settings make navigating a one-click affair these days, while setting up your mail accounts is as simple as under Windows. File-sharing and CD burning are problem free areas. On the other hand, I was becoming frustrated with the general sluggishness of Firefox under Ubuntu, that is until I came across this rather wonderful hack. It makes all the difference and now Ubuntu seemsevery bit as good, if not better, than Windows (if only I can get my web cam to work in Skype). It’s just a pity that all this messing around with code was necessary – still there’s a certain nerdy appeal to it of course, and that surely makes it all worthwhile.

I’ve been thinking about tagging (and why not). I enjoyed John Millner’s blog posting on this and have been reading a fair amount about it – perhaps not surprisingly there isn’t a huge amount about it in my own context (English language teaching) kicking around on the web, and what there is is relatively new obviously. To add to the confusion there is now such a thing as a ‘language tag’ (see langtag.net) to identify the human language of digital resources. That use of the term ‘human’ language caught me up short for a moment, but I like the sound of it. Of course the language of machines is a kind of human language too; perhaps the day will arrive when machines will develop languages that only they can understand.

So, back to tagging, and particularly tagging in the workplace. I had this wacky idea that I might try to persuade a group of teachers to join me in experimenting with such a project here. Asking for collaboration on such matters hasn’t always worked wonders in the past and there’s a feeling that any extra tasks like this should be rewarded financially. I can’t really profess to be the world’s greatest tagger and have resisted the urge to surround myself with clouds of metadat up till now, but I’m coming round to the idea and the social element is the clincher for me. I was an early Twitter registerer too, but didn’t start Tweeting in earnest till everyone else showed up. I suspect this will be the problem with this too – critical mass giving it all some meaning and dynamic.

So which to use? I rather like Connotea, but mainly because it looks more academic and maybe therefore more exclusive. I suspect that Del.icio.us will be the best bet as more people are likely to have heard of it and I could sell people on the more mainstream social appeal (maybe). My one doubt about it is that they may simply not see any value in it and not be interested in participating for that reason more than any other.

If anyone out there has any experience of doing this in their workplace, I’d love to hear about it.