| LEARNING CONNECTIONS
A Guide to Tagging
Perhaps Google CEO Eric Schmidt said it best: “Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of time
until 2003.” New ideas and new tools
surround us. But if we are to benefit
from that vast amount of information,
we must gain control of it so that we
don’t get swept up by the fast-moving
flow. It is easy for a teacher to take one
look and decide never to jump in. But
it is critical for educators to learn how
to survive within this river of information without drowning.
One way to handle the flow is to
learn to tag—the process of identifying the information you want from
sites and articles. Tagging allows you
to create your own organizational system for the influx of ideas. By tagging,
we become the stewards of our learning and growth.
Creating a Tag
A tag is a personal note that identifies
what you think is important about the
article, site, or activity. Tagging is like
creating your own personal library. No
longer do books need to live on one
shelf with one call number. You can
give an article or website as many tags
as you want. In fact, the more the better.
Diigo is a social bookmarking site
that allows you to easily save sites to
your library. Within your library, you
can create lists, which are folders for
specific topics that are of interest to
you. When you find an article or site
that you want to remember, you create
a tag and add it to a list. Each tag you
create reflects your ideas about an article or site. When you need to find a
website that you found a year or more
ago, you simply use the tags to find it
in the library.
By Hadley J. Ferguson
To build an effective list of categories
for your tags, start big. You want a lot
of topics and subtopics so that you
can easily search your library. Each
time you tag a site, add as many tags
as possible to help you find it again.
Here are some of the questions that I
• Is the site for home or school?
• What is the skill that can be
• What kind of tool is it?
• In which trimester will I use it?
Here are my tags for the Library
of Congress’ primary-source set on
women’s suffrage ( www.loc.gov/
By adding nearly a dozen tags, I can
be sure this collection won’t get lost in
the hundreds of articles and sources I
uncover in my own investigations.
Through Twitter, I find dozens of
blog posts and online articles to read,
and it is impossible to remember
them all. By tagging them, I create
my own personal library of important
information. When I need to create a
lesson or remind myself about something I have read, I go to my “library”
of articles. If I am creating a lesson
using a historical focus, I can look for
Ferguson’s library of Congress’ primary-source
set on women’s suffrage ( www.loc.gov/teachers/
classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/womens-suffrage) includes numerous resources.