Just quickly jotting some thoughts down about bookmarking, as part of a more general effort of creating an accurate current overview of my information strategies.

Currently I store all my bookmarks in Evernote, by storing the full article or pdf (not just the url, removing the risk of it being unavailable later, or behind a paywall). I sometimes add a brief annotation at the start, and may add one or more tags.

I store bookmarks to Evernote from my browser on the laptop, but also frequently from my mobile, where I pick them out of various timelines.
There are several reasons I store bookmarks.

  • I store predictions people make, to be able to revisit them later, and check on whether they came true or not.
  • I store news paper articles to preserve how certain events were depicted at the time they happened (without the historic reinterpretation that usually follows later)
  • I store pages for later reading (replacing Instapaper)
  • I store bookmarks for sharing in (collated) blogposts, or on Twitter, or to send to a specific person (‘hey, this looks like what you were looking for last week’)
  • I store bookmarks around topics I am currently interested in, as resource for later or current desk research, or for a current project.
  • I store bookmarks as reminders (‘maybe this restaurant is a place to go to sometime when next in Berlin’, ‘possible family trip’, ‘possible interesting conference to attend’)

In the past, when I still used Delicious, when it had a social networking function, I also used bookmarking for discovery of other people. Because social tools work in triangles (as I said in 2006) I would check in Delicious who else had also bookmarked something, and with which tags they did so. The larger the difference in tags (e.g. I’d tag ‘knowledge management’ and they’d tag ‘medication’) or difference in jargon (me ‘complexity’, they ‘wicked_problem’, another ‘intractable’), the likelier someone would be part of different communities than me, but focusing on the same things. Then I’d seek out their blog etc, and start following their rss feeds. It was a good way to find people based on professional interests and extend my informal learning network. A way to diversify my inputs for various topics.

Visualization of my del.icio.us bookmarks
A visualisation of Kars Alfrink’s Delicious bookmarks, based on usage of tags, 2006, CC-BY

Looking at that list of uses, I notice that it is a mixture of things that can be public, things that can be public to some, and things that are just for my eyes. I also know that I don’t like publishing single bookmarks to my blog, unless I have an extended annotation to publish with it (more a reflection or response to a link, than just bookmarking that link). Single bookmarks posted to a blog I experience as cluttering up the timeline (but they could be on a different page perhaps).
The tagging is key as a filing mechanism, and annotation can be a helpful hint to my future self why I stored it, as much as a thought or an association.

When I think of ‘bringing bookmarking home’ in the sense of using only non-silo tools and owning the data myself, several aspects are important:

  • The elements I need to store: URL, date/time stored, full article/pdf, title, tags, notes. Having a full local copy of a page or PDF is a must-have for me, you can’t rely on something being there the next time you look at an URL.
  • The things I want to be able to do with it are mostly a filtering on tags I think (connecting it to one or more persons, interests, projects, channels etc.), and then having different actions/processes tied to that filtering.
  • I’d want to have the bookmarks available offline on my laptop, as well as available for sharing across devices.
  • It would be great if there was something that would allow the social networking type of bookmarking I described, or make it possible in decentralised fashion

When I look at some of the available open source bookmarking tools that I can self-host I notice that mostly the ability to save full pages/documents and the offline functionality are missing elements. So maybe I should try and glue together something from different building blocks found elsewhere.

What do you use for bookmarking? How do you use bookmarks?

4 reactions on “On Collecting Bookmarks

  1. Peter Rukavina mentioned this article on ruk.ca:

    Ton asks “What do you use for bookmarking? How do you use bookmarks?”

    I have three systems I’ve settled into.

    Email myself a link

    When I’m reading an article on my mobile that I want to return to in the very near future to read more completely, I email the URL to myself using the built-in Android share-by-email feature. This isn’t elegant, but it puts the URL in my email inbox, where there’s no qu ….

  2. Frank Meeuwsen mentioned this article on diggingthedigital.com:

    Sometimes all these things come together so why not chime in with my own thoughts and progress. The last couple of days you might have seen some more bookmarks on this blog insted of fully fleshed out blogposts.

    It is my way of public experimenting. I just try stuff on this blog and see where it goes, both in terms of my own satisfaction and reactions of my readers. Since my wife is a bit behind on my blog and I haven’t heard from my mum yet, I’m glad the other readers responded. Ton starte ….

  3. I responded to Frank’s response to bookmarks and the realised that you had started the conversation.
    I have been bookmarking on my (second) site for a while now. In the past I used Diigo, but I would save everything without much thought. I tinkered with Radio3, but it just did not work for what I was after.
    I feel posting on my site has made me more conscious of what I save and share. I have progressively extended this too incorporating the various post kinds.
    Before I save bookmarks, I use a combination of Pocket and Trello as a temporary store. I have documented this here.
    Hope that helps.
    Aaron.

    via collect.readwriterespond.com

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