My Ph.D. student, Rick Wash, together with Emilee Rader, has a new paper on incentives for bookmarking in del.icio.us. This paper will be appearing, after some revision, in ASIST 2007, as “Public Bookmarks and Private Benefits: An Analysis of Incentives in Social Computing“.
In this study, based on in-depth field interviews of del.icio.us users, they conclude that
metadata reflecting who bookmarked a webpage better supports information seeking than free-form keyword metadata (tags). We explain this finding by describing differences in the way that the design of del.icio.us motivates users to contribute by providing personal benefits for bookmarking and tagging.