Social Bookmarking in Digital Library Systems: Framework and Case Study

Publication Type

Conference Proceeding Article

Publication Date



Social bookmarking is a simple yet popular way for users to share information and opinions about bookmarked objects on Web. In the digital library context, the ability to bookmark digital content objects is a powerful means for library users to learn from one another and to collaborate. In this paper, we present a common database framework for supporting social bookmarking in digital library system and describe a case study where G-Portal, a geography digital library system[1], is integrated with Scuttle[2], an open source bookmarking tool, using the framework. Social bookmarking facilitates social navigation within digital library context. It provides users information about what content objects other users have shown interest in, motivating them to participate in exploring these content objects, contributing new content objects, and most importantly forming user communities. Comments and ratings in bookmarks can also guide users to find good quality and interesting objects. G-Portal is a web-based digital library system that has been used to supplement classroom geography teaching with easy metadata creation and sharing among learners and instructors, and organization of metadata objects to support different learning tasks. To support better learning, we have decided to augment G-Portal with bookmarking capability for metadata objects in G-Portal. Instead of developing social bookmarking system from the scratch, we use Scuttle, an open source bookmarking tool developed using PHP. Scuttle offers a set of bookmarking services and user interface modules to access its bookmarks. Among the services are bookmark navigation, adding and deleting bookmarks. To integrate the two systems, we adopt a common database framework. This framework involves the construction of a single system with a common set of databases, with each module from digital library and social bookmarking systems providing a set of APIs for them to interoperate. As GPortal begins with empty bookmarks, the common database framework allows us to freely define the suitable bookmark structure. In addition, this framework keeps G-Portal user interface and services largely intact while customizing some existing ones for the integrated system. After integration, the combined system contains modules from G-Portal and Scuttle with some modules merged as shown in Figure 1. At the storage level, a common set of user and access control data is shared between G-Portal and Scuttle modules. The service level consists of a common access control module, metadata-related modules from the original G-Portal system and bookmarking modules from Scuttle. All these modules are extended with APIs to allow inter-module calls. At the user interface level, similar merger of modules also takes place. In particular, the metadata viewer of G-Portal is combined with the bookmark edit interface of Scuttle so as to facilitate bookmarking when viewing metadata of G-Portal. The metadata viewer also allows bookmark browsing user interface module to be invoked to view all bookmarks related to the metadata object. Conversely, bookmark user interface module allows metadata viewer to be invoked to view bookmarked metadata object from its bookmark.


Databases and Information Systems | Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing

Research Areas

Data Management and Analytics


ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL2007)





City or Country

Vancouver, Canada

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