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PennTags

Apr - 19 - 2007
Nicole C. Engard

Rob Cagna from University of Pennsylvania came to talk to us about PennTags. The last time I saw this it was a bit rough – it has grown up a lot since it’s birth!!

PennTags is like del.icio.us for members of the Penn community. They can save pages from anywhere on the web, from the catalog and from campus resources to PennTags and share it with the world. They can also keep their bookmarks private if they’d like. Penn has also released bookmarklets to allow people to tag things from their browser without logging into PennTags first (like with del.icio.us extension for firefox).

One neat feature of PennTags is that the users can make projects – which are files of different documents in a particular subject area. This way you can see just a new books list (http://tags.library.upenn.edu/project/14404). Projects can also be made private if the user prefers – Rob doesn’t think that many people have done this.

If you look at this record in the UPenn catalog, you see an Add to PennTags link at the bottom and below that you’ll see the tags and annotations from PennTags – very very very cool!! This is done with Oracle and Perl – you can email Rob if you want the more techie details.

One way this has been used is as an on-demand subject guide. Reference librarians create a project and add links. They then send the project URL to the patron! Students can use these projects as bibliographies – or working bibliographies as they write their papers. And because every page has an RSS feed the patrons or students can subscribe and see new additions as they’re added!!

I am very impressed – and a bit jealous!!

If you like what you see, Rob is looking for partners to help work with the code and make it open source! Email them at: penntags@pobox.upenn.edu.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. [...] You (as patron or librarian) can create a virtual shelf of resources from the catalog. Librarians can then share the URL for the shelf with patrons who come in with a related question. So if you always get at least one question a day for information on adopting a pet you could provide the link to the virtual shelf for your patron (kind of like a pathfinder – or the project function in PennTags). [...]

  2. [...] integrated the Penntags tool with other services they offer.  As Nicole Engard notes in her blog post on Penntags, reference librarians at the University of Pennsylvania use Penntags to create [...]


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