Hampered? Open up your links basket!

Posted December 12th, 2009 by Paul Smith

The Virtual Training Suite’s Links Basket feature is the subject of today’s blog post

The Virtual Training Suite is a set of free Internet tutorials to help students develop Internet research skills for their university course. Each tutorial contains a number of learning objectives, and is divided into four main sections: the best of the Web for your subject; advice and examples on how to find scholarly information online; details on how to discern which Internet resources are appropriate for university work; and finally some summary scenarios which brings together all of the learning points made in the tutorial in stories of both success, and failure.

Peppered throughout the tutorial are references to websites which are either key resources for the specific tutorial subject, or more generic sites which online researchers should be aware of. To supplement these website references, the tutorials all contain a links basket feature, which works in much the same way as a shopping cart on shopping sites such as Amazon. The links basket allows users working through a tutorial to save the links which they find most useful and store them in their own basket for later use.

Zoomed-in view of the links basket counter

The links basket itself has two views – ‘Links stored in your links basket’, and ‘All links in this tutorial’ which allow you either review the links you’ve saved, or see all the links mentioned throughout the tutorial. In addition to these views, there are tools available within from the links basket page which allow the user to make more use of the links which have been collected: they can be sent to an email address; the page of links can be itself be bookmarked; and perhaps most useful, the collected links can be exported as a file suitable for importing into your browser Bookmarks/Favorites or to a Social Bookmarking tool such as Delicious. It’s this export to Delicious which we will look at in more detail in this article.

Zoomed-in view of links basket export option

Selecting the ‘Export your links basket’ option will prompt you to save a file to your computer called ‘bookmarks.html’. Once saved to your computer, this file can either then be imported into your browser of choice, or you can login to your account on Delicious.com, and find your way to Settings > Bookmarks > Import / Upload and then selecting the Manual Import option you can upload the saved bookmarks file from your computer, and import all the links in to Delicious. This may take some time, depending on how many links you are importing, so it might be a good time to go and get a coffee or take a screen break while you wait. After a short while you should get an email telling you your links have been successfully imported.

Your new Delicious bookmarks list should now look something like:

imported-delicious-links

You can now add further tags, edit the links, or share them with other Delicious users and accounts. Leaving the ‘Virtual Trainings Suite’ tags in place should help remind you that these links came from a trusted source, and that they are suitable for use for your academic work.

The combined public bookmark collections of Delicious users build up into a large collection of annotated Web pages, which users can consult even if they haven’t registered as a Delicious user. This means that by adding the Virtual Training Suite links to your Delicious collection and making them public, other people can benefit as you will be helping them find quality resources suitable for their university work.

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