del.icio.us._icon.JPG
The trademark 4 squares that form Delicious's logo.

The trademark 4 squares that form Delicious's logo.

The trademark 4 squares that form Delicious's logo.
Delicious, formerly known as del.icio.us, is a commercial bookmarking website, founded by Joshua Shachter in September 2003. The Delicious application goes above and beyond the call of ordinary bookmarks toolbars, allowing you not only to bookmark, but to tag bookmarks, publish them, share them with your friends--and, most importantly, to access these bookmarks from any place in the world.


Old del.icio.us

Del.icio.us grew from an old bookmarking system created and used by Schachter, called Muxway, which he used to keep track of links on a website called Memepool. From that point, Schachter refined it into a more-sophisticated bookmarking system.
The name "del.icio.us" is an example of a domain hack, which is simply a strange formula of letters combined with a domain name suffix, in this case, ".us". "Del.icio.us" is simply the first one that stuck in Schachter's head.
After a few years, Schachter had received gratuitous funding from prestigious sites such as Amazon, and consequently left his job to work on del.icio.us full-time.
In 2005, Yahoo! acquired del.icio.us for an unspecified amount, though onlookers estimated a buying price anywhere from $15 million to $30 million.
The old version was noticeably less versatile than today's Delicious; it was almost purely for bookmarking, organizational purposes, whereas today it is used for a number of reasons--prominently, bookmarks, people, and "tags."

Student Use

It goes without saying that the primary users of Delicious are those with lots of data to be stored and accounted for. These people will, by nature, have lots of places they need to visit on the Internet. Traditionally, the built-in bookmarking system is insufficient for such people, and thus it is the same reason as all else that gives rise to applications such as Delicious; necessity.
It was Plato who said, "Necessity is the mother of invention." However, necessity varies from person to person, so the use of Delicious is equally variant. In the case of students, the necessity varies with the class, the teacher, and especially the workload. Students in a computers class especially will have need for Delicious; students in a class with computers and a heavy-handed teacher will be the ones who get the most use out of Delicious, in correlation with the research they will have to do.
Delicious, at its core, is a bookmarking site. Its true benefit is the ability to utilize your bookmarks from wherever you are on Earth, not restricted to your bookmarks at home. Because of this, it can be a life-saver at times. You can look up other items on it by typing in and items with tags on it that match your search you can look at whatever you want.

Teacher Use

If possible, Delicious holds even more merit for a teacher. The teacher has grading to do, fact-checking, and it's the teacher who concocts all the work for the class. Given these facts, it's more than likely that the teacher will use the Internet to assist with these projects.
For writing work, more research is needed; for example, the teacher has to dredge up an actual reference site in many cases, rather than the student finding it themselves. The teacher uses Delicious to bookmark the necessary sites to coordinate projects, and perhaps even some to help with grading.
Another useful function that receives great acclaim is Delicious's tagging system, of special use to teachers. When bookmarking a site, teachers have the option to mark the bookmarked site with tag-words--words associated with the subject. Once tagged, the teacher can use a search bar on their bookmarks to search those tags for bookmarks associated with the subject. This is useful for teachers with an extreme abundance of bookmarks and no time to search through all of them for a certain page.
Imagine a teacher with 15 pages worth of bookmarks on Delicious (it happens, I've seen it!). They are in an extreme rush to complete grading on a student's paper, and are not positive whether or not they plagiarized a portion of their paper. Said teacher thinks she saw a website with a similar quote a couple of weeks ago, and knows she bookmarked it on Delicious, but hasn't any idea where it is in the sea of bookmarked pages before her.
However, this teacher had the foresight to equip her bookmarked pages with tags, so after a quick search of her bookmarks, she's found the page; it turned out that the student did, in fact, plagiarize.
Tagging also allows you to search bookmarked sites with the queried tag among everyone on Delicious, rather than just you and your friends. This is a function with enormous potential, but it can also lead to trouble. Given the petite nature of tag-words (tags are just one word), one can accrete an enormous pool of bookmarks and subjects just by typing in one word. Of course, this is the trouble with all Internet search engines; sweeping in tons of rubble along with the diamonds. For example, if a student were to search Delicious with the tag "abortions," they could get results of "pro-choice abortion," "pro-life abortion," "abortion clinics"...none of which the student was actually looking for. So you see, a major pitfall of Delicious is the sweeping generalization of its tagging system, and unless the student has decent criteria for identifying credible material, then they could be in trouble.
It's situations like these that make the tagging function useful. As before, necessity is the mother of invention.

My Reflection

In truth, I have no use for Delicious.
I haven't nearly enough information that needs to be stored (I've got maybe 5 links on my bookmarks). It could be that I just really don't like the user interface, which, while visually pleasing enough, just evokes a queasy and restless feeling in me, and I can't stand to stare at it for too long. It could be that I'm just a complete technophobe with no regard or respect for modern technology.
However, that doesn't change that everything I said before this section is true. Many of my relatives use Delicious--in particular, my mother, who is the head of Kresge Physical Sciences Library at Dartmouth. I know for a fact that Delicious can be a useful application.
Don't let my opinion affect your experience with Delicious, as that may well be comparable to telling the Wright brothers that they'd hate bicycles, and to never even give them a try.

References

-Tagging Letters
-Carvin, Andy. "Tag-You're Delicious!" Weblog post. PBS. 5 May 2006. 2 June 2009 <http://www.pbs.org/teachers/learning.now/2006/05/tag_youre_delicious.html>.
-Continuing Education
-Delicious. 02 June 2009 <http://delicious.com/>.

-"Delicious (website)." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 02 June 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del.icio.us>.

-"Necessity is the mother of invention. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Thesaurus and hundreds more. 02 June 2009 <http://www.bartleby.com/59/3/necessityist.html>.

-"Top 100 Tools: Delicious." Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. 02 June 2009 <http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/Top100Tools/delicious.html>.