The latest tool I’m exploring is H2O Playlist, a project of the Berkman Center. What is H20?
An H2O Playlist is a series of links to books, articles, and other materials that collectively explore an idea or set the stage for a course, discussion, or current event.
What this seems to boil down to is an inteface for creating a thoughtfully structured, annotated, nice-looking topical set of web links. Given the never-ending stream of social bookmarking tools that are now available to help me manage my web links, what are the circumstances under which I’d want to hive off a subset and turn them into an H20 Playlist?
The first thing to realize is that H20 Playlist doesn’t replace your primary tool for bookmark management. It still makes sense to use something like del.icio.us or Furl to manage your overall bookmark collection. (And it would sure be nice if H20 had an import mechanism that worked with these, perhaps by allowing import from a standard mozilla bookmark file….I don’t want to have to manually move over all the bookmarks for the particular tags I want represented in a playlist.)
Where H20 comes in handy is if you’re actually trying to turn your playlist into something…prototypically, a syllabus or some sort of guide. For example I could see H20 being a nice way of organizing and annotating my list of RSS resources. Or if I were going to teach my Internet & Politics course again, I might use it to structure the online readings.
But where H20 should really be useful is when it comes to groups of people collaborating in developing curricula or other learning resources. H20 doesn’t yet facilitate that kind of collaboration, as far as I can see; you can spin somebody else’s playlist into a version of your own, but you can’t invite someone else to add to or directly annotate a playlist.
If H20’s future iterations include true group collaboration on playlists, some serious import tools — or better yet, integration or mirroring of other social bookmarking systems so one can synch playlists with del.icio.us linklists — it could prove to be a very handy tool in the social bookmarking toolbox.