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By Dave Greenfield  |  Posted 2007-08-12 Print this article Print

Enterprise bookmarking and tagging systems are more effective when integrated into an organizations collaborative landscape. IBM Lotus, for example, allows bookmarks to be used as part of the same virtual space used for tracking and working on a given project. The tasks and items created in that space are also accessible through Notes. Other vendors, such as Jive Software, allow users to tag documents but not Web pages. Jive Software Chief Technology Officer Matt Tucker said bookmarking capabilities will likely be added soon, but he did not say if Jive will develop the capabilities in-house or partner with another vendor to obtain the technology.
Microsoft has no social bookmarking solution today. Having just revised SharePoint, the company probably wont release such a package before 2009, said Burton Group analyst Mike Gotta. WSSSearch provides a bookmarking add-on for SharePoint, but representatives for the company did not return eWEEKs requests for information.
Security and privacy Of course, user buy-in is critical to successful deployment of these systems. Reaching such a critical mass among the Internets millions of users is difficult, but doing so on a closed intranet is an even bigger challenge. In a company, the user base is relatively small, and communities are often segmented by regulatory concerns and organizational norms, which is counter to Web 2.0 premises. At a minimum, enterprise bookmarking systems should authenticate system access, integrate with existing identity repositories and restrict user access as needed. None of the products we looked at addresses all those points. All enterprise bookmarking systems provide password-based authentication. IBM Lotus and BEAs solutions tie in to LDAP and Microsofts Active Directory, and Connectbeams offering is expected to provide integration with both in September. Cogenzs Enterprise Edition integrates with neither. Restricting user access is often the weakest link in these products. Only Connectbeams Application prevents groups from viewing one anothers bookmarks and bookmarked documents. IBM Lotus Connections offers tiers of roles and permissions, allowing users to be an author or reader and to view or not view documents. Documents can be "classified," but tags and descriptions are visible to all. BEAs AquaLogic Pathways can segment users into groups and provides administrative control over 12 security assignments, including the rights to view everyones tags, create views, or add favorites and contacts. However, like IBM Lotus solution, AquaLogic Pathways restricts access to pages but not bookmarks. Enterprise Edition users can mark documents as public or private, but there are no group restrictions. Since Cogenzs offering is a service, it uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt traffic and authenticates access to RSS feeds based on user profiles. No other vendors offer encryption. Tag, youre it All the products evaluated here encourage bookmarking adoption by enabling users to tag themselves and one another. This functionality allows users to associate themselves with topics of interest, enabling the organization and individuals to find subject-matter experts, form teams or organize into microcommunities within the company. AquaLogic Pathways goes a step further by allowing users to be ranked based on several factors, including the number of individuals tagging them and linking to their content. By exposing and reinforcing a users status as an "expert," organizations uncover new experts and encourage adoption of the technology. Regardless, the process of adding bookmarks needs to be painless, or people just wont do it. On this score, the results are mixed. To get things going, BEA and Connectbeam provide automatic tag generation for existing documents. While an initial help, ­system-generated­ tags are often more imprecise and less useful than human-generated tags. For that reason, Cogenz, Connect­beam and IBM Lotus allow users to tag pages without leaving their browsers—they simply pop up new windows. BEA allows URL submissions only through AquaLogic Pathways interface. A browser plug-in is being beta tested and is scheduled to be available by the end of August. Theres much more that vendors can do in general to encourage consistent tagging across the enterprise. Typos, misspellings and inadequate labeling can create folksonomy discrepancies. Enterprise tagging systems must develop the intelligence to help users tag correctly yet effortlessly. At the very least, an auto-complete function should kick in when the software finishes typing a tag already in the system. Only IBM Lotus and Cogenz currently offer such a feature. Page 3: Social Bookmarking Apps Provide a New Knowledge Management Platform


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