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Using Del.icio.us to Create an Easy, Always Updated Online Portfolio

A few days ago, I was checking out Nine Notable Uses for Social Bookmarking (read the article--there's stuff there you probably haven't considered before) and I was struck by number 6--build an online portfolio.

I personally believe that having an online portfolio is a critical work literacy skill and an important part of an overall online identity management strategy. So back in April I ran a webinar on using free online tools to create an online portfolio. At that time I was focused on creating a very structured, "beautiful"  product, so I covered how to use wikis and blogs to construct a portfolio. However, the problem with that approach is that it requires a lot of work to continually update your portfolio, which means that you're less likely to do it. What you need is a way to easily and quickly add items to your portfolio that fits into work processes you already have set up.

What's intriguing about using social bookmarks (in my case, del.icio.us) to create an online portfolio is that it makes it much easier for me to update on a regular basis. As I create items online--wikis for a training, handouts, blog posts I want to share, Slideshare presentations, etc.--I can simply tag them with "michelemartinportfolio" and they'll automatically show up in my "portfolio" without me having to go through any extra steps of posting them to a wiki or a blog. Since I have del.icio.us integrated into my Firefox browser, all I have to do is right-click on the item, add a note describing it in the Notes section, and then tag it with my portfolio tag. Voila--my portfolio is updated!

Here's how it looks (I need to add more items though):


A couple of other comments on this:

  • When you create a tag, you can also write a 1000 character description of your tag. That's how I created the description of my portfolio that you see at the top.
  • The del.icio.us feature that shows how many other people saved the item acts as a kind of "recommendation" system. Presumably the more people who bookmarked it, the more valuable it is. If I have a lot of items that many people have bookmarked, this indicates that I'm providing some level of quality.
  • If people sign up for the RSS feed to this tag, they can automatically be notified when I add new items to my portfolio. Think about how this could work in a work or classroom environment--you could have staff or students create portfolios by setting up their personal portfolio tag. You could then sign up to their tag feeds and receive automatic updates when items were added. Much easier way to keep track of things.

Although this isn't the prettiest portfolio in the world, I think it might be one of those "good enough" solutions that could have a lot of applications, both at work and for learning. For example, I could see creating an organizational portfolio using the same concept--that's the basic idea behind this "purpose-built" del.icio.us page from Shift Communications. You could also do this on a department or unit level. I'm sure there are other applications for this idea, too.

UPDATE--Here are more detailed written instructions for creating an e-portfolio with del.icio.us.

So what do you think? If you had a del.icio.us portfolio, would you be more likely to update it? And do you think there's value to having something like this?


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I have to say I find it a real pain updating my portfolio in wikispaces. This is a great idea that overcomes that - will have to have a think about it.

Yep--my point exactly. I think that if you're in full-out job search or putting together something for a graduate program, you might need a more structured approach. But this solution could work for a lot of other people, especially if you're constantly producing things online.

Using del.icio.us as an online portfolio is a pretty cool idea. I hadn't thought of using it for that purpose, but it is a nifty way of creating/keeping a portfolio current. I can see how it could use this in my role as a librarian and a history instructor. Thanks for the tip.

Using del.icio.us as an online portfolio is a pretty cool idea. I hadn't thought of using it for that purpose, but it is a nifty way of creating/keeping a portfolio current. I can see how it could use this in my role as a librarian and a history instructor. Thanks for the tip.

I wonder if you could use the RSS feed from del.icio.us to bring the information into another site. That would allow you to make it look nicer while still giving you the ability to update. Wikispaces limits the RSS to 20 items (as we found out during the comment challenge), but I wonder if something else could then pull this RSS in.

Neat one Michele and a great way to introduce students (via a 'gold' Web 2.0 tool) to developing their own professional e-portfolios, something becoming mandatory in some universities.

Christy, that's an interesting idea--you could probably set up tags for different parts of your portfolio--maybe based on skills, such as "mmartinpresentation" or something like that. Then bookmark with the different skill tags and have feeds set up in a wikispaces portfolio. The one downside is that it puts you two clicks away from the info, so that if someone wants to see something, they click in the wikispaces portfolio, which takes them to delicious where they have to click through to the artifact. That might not be that big a deal to some people I guess.

As I was reading your last post on Wednesday and it suddenly stopped - just the time to download - at "This is how it looks",linking actually to your e-portfolio on delicious, I thought this was our activity for the first web2.0 Wednesday.
Then, I tried to make an e-portfolio myself!
My question is: as I already have all my tags in delicious and we may use only a page on this site, I suppose I must look elsewhere, in another social bookmarking site in order to have this e-portfolio?
Thank you,

Hi Ines--nope, you can have your portfolio on del.icio.us. All you need to do is create a new tag for portfolio items. In my case, I used "michelemartinportfolio." Then I went to that tag and added in the description of the tag (that's how I put in the info on the fact that this was my portfolio). After that, I just added the "michelemartinportfolio" tag to items I wanted to show up there. Does that make sense? If not, I may need to do a screencast (which might not be a bad idea anyway) or something with screencaptures to make it clearer.

I do have a del.icio.us portfolio that I keep pretty carefully updated. But thanks for the tips on the notes - I didn't think about using them!

Great idea, and one that will be fast to implement. I've been meaning to build an online portfolio for months, but maybe this will get me to actually do it. I use Wordpress as my blogging tool, and it has a widget that pulls in delicious feeds automatically, so that is a good way to display your portfolio in your blog or website.

Jo McLeay just shared your post on Plurk. Honestly Michelle, I had never thought to use del.icio.us as a way to create an online portfolio, but I do think it is a brilliant idea! As a pre-service teacher just entering methods in the fall, I will be creating my first portfolio and cannot wait to include this concept! Thank you for such a wonderful suggestion!

This is a great post. I had already done something similar like this because I wanted to keep an easily updateable list of resources for people interested in 'online community management'.

I embedded my del.icio.us tag feed for 'onlinecommunities' into my site (so I can style it) and also fed it into my Feedburner account (so I can track people using it).

You can check out my work (and share it:) here:



wow... great info at this post thanks!!!

nice reading... great comments too ;)

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