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The Internet

How Do You Keep Track of Your Web-Based Research? 150

Posted by Cliff
from the better-than-a-bookmark dept.
time961 asks: "I use the Web extensively to research a wide variety of topics (weird, huh?). However, much of the time I end up printing out web pages and filing them on paper, because that's the easiest way I know to say 'OK, that was interesting, I'll hold on to it until I actually do something about this topic'. Often, I'll run across something that seems relevant to a long-term project or interest and just want to grab it without even reading the details. Paper is OK for reading, browsing, and scribbling, but it's hard to search, it's heavy, and it's wasteful (and I yearn for a day when browsers can reliably print what's on the screen, instead of cutting it off at the margin because some designer doesn't understand layout!). How do others deal with organizing the results of browsing?"
Bookmarks and histories aren't the answer — they're not very good for searching, the UI isn't very good for, say, adding notes, and they don't work offline. Also, stale URLs are a huge problem — a key advantage of paper is that it doesn't randomly fade out in a few days (or decades), so a good solution would have to keep copies, not just references. I imagine something like a FireFox plug-in with a 'Remember This' button and some options for category, keywords, annotations, etc., but I'll bet there are more creative approaches, too."
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How Do You Keep Track of Your Web-Based Research?

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  • PDF (Score:5, Informative)

    by daeg (828071) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:27AM (#19268133)
    First off, install a good PDF printer.
    • I agree. It's very handy to have. I keep records of my online bill payments that way too. It might not do away with the formatting problems though.
    • Should I buy it from from Santa Claus, or the tooth fairy?
    • I know this is heresy around these parts, but the other requirements of notes/annotations are met with the full version of Acrobat. I'm sure some of the free PDF readers also support notes and comments, but Acrobat is what I have here (comes lumped in with the Adobe Creative Suite).
      • by thc69 (98798)
        I'm pretty sure that Foxit Reader [foxitsoftware.com] supports notes and comments. It is free (as in beer, I think not open source). It is very small and independent; I don't install it, I just put the 4mb "Foxit Reader.exe" in C:\Program Files and associate it with pdf files. It's fast, too.

        Okay, I just checked, and it allows you to type over the PDF and save it but the free version leaves watermarks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:27AM (#19268135)
    Just save your 'research' to a nice media server or something and then you can do the 'hands on' stuff once the missus has left for work innit.
    • The downside with this and other approaches mentioned is that they do not seem to provide a way to easily visualize, associate, correlate, cross-reference, etc.

      I have a friend who is an attorney and who performs extensive research against a wide array of source material...including the web...and he swears by Microsoft OneNote:

      http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/default. aspx [microsoft.com]

      Yes, a Microsoft product...let the flames begin.
  • Ever heard of bookmarks ?
    Of course one problem with them is that they can disappear or change between the moment you save them and the moment you use them. The obvious answer is to save a local copy (with wget, or whatever..) which will be easier to search than a paper... And you can still print it if you need.
    Then you can easily search though all the pages you downloaded for the one which holds the information you need, which probably takes you a long time with paper...
    Of course all those things are b
    • by Atzanteol (99067)
      From the post:

      Bookmarks and histories aren't the answer

      You:

      Ever heard of bookmarks

      You lose at slashdot!

      • by XenoPhage (242134)
        You lose at slashdot!

        Lose? I think not.. He's taken the slashdot evolution to the next level and doesn't even bother to read the summary..
    • New: Google Notebook (Score:5, Informative)

      by kestasjk (933987) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:04AM (#19268537) Homepage
      Something that recently came out of Google and is ideal for this task; Google Notebook [google.com]. You find sites with Google, now you can take notes from them with Google, and it integrates nicely into Google search. Unlike bookmarks you can search the notes you take and have the URLs ready and waiting, etc.

      1. Why would I want to use Google Notebook?

      With Google Notebook, you can browse, clip, and organize information from across the web in a single online location that's accessible from any computer. Planning a trip? Researching a product? Just add clippings to your notebook. You won't ever have to leave your browser window.

      2. How do I get started?

      Simple. Just sign in to the Google Notebook homepage with your Google Accounts username and password, then download the Google Notebook browser extension (if you haven't already). As soon as you restart your browser, you'll see a Google Notebook icon in the bottom-right corner of your browser window. Click on this icon to open your mini Google Notebook, where you can save all the clips of content you want.
      • by XenoPhage (242134)
        Google Notebook is on-line and depends on an outside source. So I have no real control over it... Nor can I access it offline.

        That said, it does look pretty interesting, so I'm gonna give it a whirl.. :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by biohack (955639)

        I was surprised not to see Google Notebook as one of the first answers, as it indeed works very well for organizing material found on the web. I guess, Slashdot is less of a Google fan club than many people assume it to be!

        The FF extension makes saving "permanent" pages easy via a right-click option. For pages that may become inaccessible over time, the content of interest can be copy-pasted directly into the Notebook entry. And Google search options coupled with the possibility of creating multiple Notebo

        • by jp10558 (748604)
          I'm guessing it's because you need a google account to try it out/use it... Plus it looks like it doesn't work in Opera, so cout me out anyway.
        • by NickFitz (5849)

          I was surprised not to see Google Notebook as one of the first answers

          Given that the very first response has the title

          You want Google Notebook and a PDF printer
          I'm surprised at your surprise .

          (OT, but why did the guy who created Slashdot's CSS format inline <quote> as a block element? That's what <blockquote> is for.)

      • by xtracto (837672)
        For quick annotating pages while browsing I use an extension called InterNote [mozilla.org]. It is part of the small details why I cant switch from Firefox to anOther PossiblE browseR Anyday.
      • by aussie_a (778472)
        I discovered it a few days ago, I haven't found I needed it yet unfortunately. I thought it would be a great solution to a problem, but it seems the problem hasn't surfaced since I installed it.
    • by B'Trey (111263)
      What I want is a tool that indexes every page I bookmark. (Better yet, indexes either every page I visit or put an "Index" button on the toolbar, or, best, make it user configurable.) Then I could search through only the pages I've visited to find information I know I've seen but can't remember where. It doesn't seem like this would be overly difficult to implement as a FF extension.

  • Hey, it's the 21st century - put them all in your blog.
  • by auxsvr (811165)
    You can use basket of the KDE PIM package. It allows you to organize bookmars, text, images and other data effectively and consistently. It's like a sticky notes program, though with much more functionality and it allows to store and retrieve information very quickly. It also saves automatically and may have a few very disturbing bugs (I think the major one is a Qt bug), yet it's definitely worth enough for me to use it every day.
  • Zotero (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fruny (194844) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:31AM (#19268171)

    I imagine something like a FireFox plug-in with a 'Remember This' button and some options for category, keywords, annotations, etc.
    Sounds like Zotero [zotero.org] is what you're looking for.
    • by pragma_x (644215)
      Thank you. I was hoping to find some nifty gems in this thread.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Coan_teen (941463)
        Zotero was developed at my alma mater, and we were the guinea pigs for it. The program has improved quite a bit since its early stages. It still sometimes has trouble recognizing that something is research, but in the instances where Zotero doesn't automatically give you the choice to copy the citation you can make a snapshot of the page. It's a nifty little add-on. The only problem with it is that you can't carry your research history from one machine to another like you can with the Google utility. The s
  • I myself have an extensive 'drawer' of bookmarks. I've installed the TinyMenu extension for firefox, and placed the bookmarks toolbar folder on the same row as the menu was on prior to that extension. I've then got top-level folders across the entire browser, which each contain a highly nested / hierarchical structure. A sampling of my top level folders: Make (for hardware hacking related stuff), tools (where I keep various 'useful every three weeks' links), Queue (stuff I need to get to at some point),
  • Seriously? (Score:3, Informative)

    by pla (258480) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:31AM (#19268185) Journal
    File -> "save page as" -> "web page, complete".

    You can either keep what you save in some sort of logical arrangement, or trust your handy desktop search engine to find it for you later (though that seems to reduce the problem back to finding the info in the first place, though at least you don't need to worry about the content going offline at some future date.
    • I have two places I save information.

      I either e-mail it to myself (or my working group) or I'll blog about it. It's a very low-down and dirty system, but the search tools in my mail clients are good enough to let me find things as long as I know the year (I archive by year).

      Although the Scrapbook extension for Firefox sounds very intriguing.

    • You can either keep what you save in some sort of logical arrangement,

      That's the best idea. The filesystem is the most robust database I've found and hierarchies work well for me.

      This story would be saved in 'computers > networking > internet > sites > slashdot.org > stories > ask > obvious', for instance.

      Anything I come up with goes on the blog. In theory, then somebody could do the same (were there people who cared to read what I write).

  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by aadvancedGIR (959466) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:33AM (#19268207)
    Just write to your ISP pretending to work for one **AA and you'll immediately get a complete list of your activities. As a bonus, you can also use that to terminate your subscription without the 2 mounthes notice.
  • ...or 'favourites' if you haven't switched to Firefox yet.

    Use folders and subfolders to organise them, and if you really honestly have an unmanageably large number of bookmarks that you couldn't possibly just google again later, cut and paste from the bookmarks file to any kind of saveable text document.
    • Errrrm... pages change... sites become unavailable. I think the poster wants to make sure he can access the exact same information he came across two years ago.
  • Google Desktop Search and PDF. GDS does the indexing, PDF preserves the original page.

    A good use of directories for organizing helps to avoid "lost" files from floating around. I use this for research papers and projects.

    • Google Desktop Search and PDF. GDS does the indexing, PDF preserves the original page.

      The last time I tried Google Desktop Search, I found it to be useless if you had more then a few hundred items to be indexed. (Think in the range of tens of thousands of files.)

  • I often copy all the relevant text from several sites on a topic I'm researching... paste it into a text document then save it to my hard drive. I save pics that way too. Instead of grabbing the whole page. Makes for easy printing if I want a hard copy.
  • PDF! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by megabyte405 (608258) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:38AM (#19268263)
    Any time someone mentions how they don't like having papers around but want a hard copy, my response is immediately, print it to PDF! Your operating system should be able to do this :) Linux firefox, print to generic printer to a file named something.ps, then run ps2pdf on it, in just about every other GNOME app PDF support is built in to the print dialog. Mac OS X, well, you already knew you could save PDF (or save the preview, same diff) from your print dialog. Windows: www.sf.net/projects/pdfcreator is your friend - just don't install their toolbar (the existence of which makes me rather sad). Then, you've got the page (or whatever) archived in a nice, portable, paper-like file, and when desktop search is ready for the masses (if you're not on a Mac), you'll even be able to search it - much better than paper!
    • by i.r.id10t (595143)
      Or set up a fake printer script that takes a postscript stream and converts to pdf automatically. Had a bookmark, had to go to the wayback machine, but here it is...

      http://web.archive.org/web/20011217172330/http://w ww.linuxgazette.com/issue72/bright.html [archive.org]

      • That looks like an interesting network solution for Windows, though I'm not sure if it has any advantages over a locally-installed PDFcreator. On linux, to get around the firefox weirdness I think also "CupsPDF" does the trick too.
        • by i.r.id10t (595143)
          Neat thing abotu the network printer is that it can also send faxes, since faxes are simply PS/TIFF images that are sent via modem. Did some neat shell scripting, etc. to setup a fax server for a local insurance office - 2 years, 65 thousand faxes in and out, no issues except when they loose power and forget to turn the machine back on...
  • I would use a mindmapping program (freemind in linux for instance or mindjet mindmanager in windows). This will give you the possibility to organize websites, notes, scans and more sources in one overview. Check more info on this via the following links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindmap [wikipedia.org] http://www.mapyourmind.com/index.htm [mapyourmind.com] http://www.mind-mapping.org/mindmapping-and-you/ba sic-introduction-to-mindmapping.html [mind-mapping.org] good luck!
  • Acrobat has a feature called "convert web pages to PDF" from within Acrobat that is quite useful to archive websites digitally while preserving the formatting and keeping things searchable (with OS X Spotlight, for example). When you install Acrobat, Internet Explorer 6.0 (or higher) even gains an Adobe PDF toolbar that you can use to generate PDF from within IE. I guess most Slashdotters use different browsers, but at least on OS X you can easily print to PDF natively.
    • Or better, get the PDFCreator program for Windows, which installs a PDF printer to "print" PDF from anything. As an added bonus, it's GPL, which should please the OSS zealots here. If you're not on Windows, GNOME, KDE, and as parent mentioned, OSX have native PDF facilites
  • As a member of the legal profession, I do a large amount of research online. My site of choice is Westlaw, produced by the largest legal publisher in the country (and thus probably the world). They have a feature on their website they call "Research Trails", which keeps a record of your navigation each time you log in. The list is fully linked, so you can access any document on the list easily. You can not only see what you looked at but see the order in which you looked at it, which helps in reconstruc
  • I will have to agree with other people saying that PDF *is* the way to save web pages for future reference (i used to use MHT but it is propietary and you cant add notes).

    For the annotations I would suggest the FoxIT [foxitsoftware.com] PDF reader (free) and buy the Pro Pack [foxitsoftware.com] [US$40 ](one of the few softwares I have found so useful and at good price to actually buy) which will allow you to add annotations and mark the text among other things.

    I will use this post to ask if anyone knows of an open source alternative to this the P
  • Find somewhere to file it locally and do a save page as. Most browsers will save all the images, links, etc, intact.

    Then just get Google Desktop or something similar to index those.

    • by vrmlguy (120854)
      Saving pages isn't automated. Instead, set up a personal proxy server that never purges its cache, and use it to surf the web. Google desktop (or something similar) can be used to index the proxy's cache in case you can't remeber where you saw something. Finally, rdist the cache to a central location so you aren't tied to a single computer, and to protect against disk crashes.
  • Can anyone recommend a good PDF printer driver application so people who can't afford Acrobat can still print to PDF?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by patelbhavesh (735074)
      PDFCreator is a free open source pdf printer http://www.pdfforge.org/products/pdfcreator [pdfforge.org]
      • by WoTG (610710)
        Ditto. I've been using pdfcreator for a few years now. Big bonus being that it's open source. It's also got a network server version that you can share with Windows and it can put the resulting PDF in each users home folder. Quite nice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      CutePDF [cutepdf.com].
    • Acrobat is $300 - you can get an older Mac running 10.1-10.3 for less than that. :) (Yes, OS X can print anything to PDF.)
  • by BruceCage (882117) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:42AM (#19268315)

    I imagine something like a FireFox plug-in with a 'Remember This' button and some options for category, keywords, annotations, etc., but I'll bet there are more creative approaches, too."
    ScrapBook [vis.ne.jp] is a Firefox extension created by Gomita (some Japanese fella), it allows you "capture" web pages, creating a locally stored cache and offers the ability to easily remove content from the captured web page, mark sections or add notes. It also has a whole bunch of tools such as full text search and a pretty intuitive interface.

    You can find all the features in a nice list [vis.ne.jp] at the official homepage with tons of pretty screenshots. There's even a 50 page manual [vis.ne.jp] (PDF) created by Andrew Giles-Peters.

    Even though development has seemingly halted since December 2005, it's still one of the most well rounded extensions for Firefox I've come across yet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by brusk (135896)

      I second this. I MUCH prefer Scrapbook to PDF saves, which I used earlier, because Scrapbook preserves all the original HTML and the format of images (whereas PDF converts them and makes them hard to separate out), is also searchable/indexable by whatever indexing program you want, and can be highlighted, annotated, etc.

      Let's just hope they keep developing, at least enough to ensure that it continues to work with future releases of Firefox. My sense is that they are, given that the developers blog at htt [xuldev.org]

    • by Jonah Hex (651948)
      ScrapBook 1.2.0.8 - Released on Dec 15, 2006
      You're only a year off ;)

      Jonah HEX
      • by BruceCage (882117)
        In all the excitement I made a couple of errors in my post (to "capture" web pages, a locally stored cached version), I saved the post in ScrapBook and corrected them but alas it has no use :) May the grammar and spelling Nazis have mercy on me today.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GiMP (10923)
      I also second this (me too!)

      In years past, I used PDFs, but since 2003, I have been using scrapbook.

      Personally, I use it for vacations and business trips. When I'm on on the road, I just 'scrapbook' important pages (like Google map directions) and when I need to pull something up, I just open the laptop. Now, on the other hand, its a lot easier to pull the PDF files over to your PDA...

      Now-a-days, I use this less frequently due to the rise of high speed cellular internet, but its still extremely useful for
  • Today's batch of Word Processors (not your simple notepad and editor software) is a pretty good bunch, by and large, and most, if not all, will take the HTML page and nearly faithfully reproduce it's content. Then store it in a topic named hierarchy of folders. Now it is organized, searchable and backup-able. Furthermore, all of the modern word processors I am aware of allow you to annotate the content and track your changes. Voila!! Simple solutions are really best.
  • You need the Firefox extension https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/427 [mozilla.org].
    Helps you to save Web pages and organize the collection.
  • I wget it! (Score:4, Informative)

    by VE3OGG (1034632) <VE3OGG@rac.AUDENca minus poet> on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:45AM (#19268341)
    wget is probably one of my favourite Linux command-line tools. All I need to do is wget -r http://www.doodahdoo.com/ [doodahdoo.com] and it saves a directory called doodahdoo.com and all the pages in it, as well as the images, and any embedded video and such. This is very handy, not only for getting a huge number of files (say my http backup server), but also for getting entire sites that I might have a use for in future.

    At the moment, I have on order of 10GB just of websites, radio clips, and what have you that I have used for previous research. Not only that but I can also maintain a simple directory structure and never have to worry that that "firefox plugin" will still be compatible with version 4.765.

    Another neat function is you can specify just a particular files (www.whatever.com/pic.jpg), or all the files with a particular extension *.jpg, or only the files in that directory. You can also use it to spider (limited) all the links on a site. Though be kind and don't do this too often, as I am sure it eats a lot of bandwidth.

    The last (and greatest) thing, is it remains in a well-known and easily editable format.

    Alternatively, I have also used a MediaWiki setup so that I could drop down notes for classes, or other interesting things in it, but this required substantially more overhead than wget.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I don't get the Linux connection. There are a thousand utilities that can do this on Mac and Windows as well. They're called "offline browsers," and they've been around since the mid-90s. My personal favorite at the moment is SiteSucker for Mac, although the older non-WebKit version seems to do a better job than the newest version, go figure.

      In any case, it's not a flawless method because there are many sites that can't be downloaded in whole, due to them using Javascript links or dynamic content that confu
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Also, just to be a jerk, I'll mention that it's bone-stupid to use WGET to get a single page considering every browser on earth has some kind of "save complete page" option right there in the File menu that also localizes links, downloads images/swfs/etc. In Safari, it's called "Web Archive." In Firefox, it's "Webpage (Complete)". In IE, it's "Web Archive, single file".

        Since you're already viewing the site in a browser, why would you LEAVE the browser to go to a CLI to do something the browser already has b
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by huckda (398277)
      good luck if it's a ruby on rails site...and possibly any other database driven site dynamically created
      you pretty much only get what is in the 'public' directory
      stylesheets, javascript, images...

  • A personal wiki? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AlHunt (982887) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:45AM (#19268345) Homepage Journal
    I've been struggling with this myself, to a point. How about a personal wiki, such as Didiwiki, that runs locally?

    I also save web pages as "Web Page, Complete". It now occurs to me that I should make a specific directory for those pages.

    • I run a full-blown install of MediaWiki on a small server behind my firewall. I wanted to learn MediaWiki markup and I thought it would be a useful tool for organizing and annotating all the crap I come across on the web that I'm going to want to find later.

      I also wrote a sort of pico-Google in PHP/MySQL a couple years back, and I still use that regularly. It's a sort of searchable bookmark database. I feed it a URL, it goes out to the page and sucks down all the text, normalizes it, and breaks it into keyw
  • DEVONthink (Score:2, Informative)

    by Finque (653377)
    http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonth ink/ [devon-technologies.com]

    Using a good PDF exporter (I'm on OS X, so look elsewhere for free & easy ways to do this on Windows), DEVONthink will pretty much keep everything organized like a digital filing cabinet.

    'Course, the cheapest version costs $39.95, but I can attest to the fact that this software WORKS (I got it heavily discounted in the MacHeist 2006 bundle).
  • Yojimbo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smurfsurf (892933)
    I quite like Yojimbo http://www.barebones.com/products/yojimbo/ [barebones.com]

    You can either save a "web archive", which is the web page incl. all graphics/css/etc., or a PDF of the page (nicely integrated into print services). Both document types are rendered inside the app and are searchable. Yojimbo has also tags and folders to keep things organised. And you can also save regular notes (formated and with images). Covers all bases.

    When it comes to pure PDF, YEP http://www.yepthat.com/ [yepthat.com] is an excellent alternative. Kind o
    • by jpkunst (612360)

      I second the Yojimbo recommendation. A few more points: A third item type for dealing with web material in Yojimbo is regular bookmarks, which can have the same tags and/or labels as every other Yojimbo item. Yojimbo uses an SQLite database to store all its data, so you can't use the Finder to get at Yojimbo's PDF's or Web Archives.

      JP

  • Back in the day there was this cool little program called Webforia Organizer. I somehow wound up on the Beta team for it and got to use it extensively. This program was really cool, it clipped pages, kept local copies, was searchable, etc. I loved it. Unfortunately, it was built on IE 5, but then again, Firefox wasn't released back then...

    Apparently Webforia went out of business some time ago and the software no longer works.. I believe it had limited functionality with IE 6, but not enough to make it
  • I'm very careful about managing my bookmarks, only adding what I'm actually interested in at a given moment and removing the link once it's gone. Since "the literature" required for my research primarily consists of journal and conference publications, the locations of which are fairly immutable, I don't usually worry about the URLs becoming invalid.

    If I get any "aha" ideas while reading these papers, I record them in a whiteboard or notebook. Eventually, I have the paper distilled to three or four of these
  • Evernote (Score:3, Informative)

    by blighter (577804) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:27AM (#19268809)
    I use Evernote: http://www.evernote.com/ [evernote.com].

    It's a program that allows you to easily save a copy of just about anything (certainly anything on the web...) with links to the original and everything else. The notes are automatically stored in chronological order for browsing. You can also apply tags to your liking and it has full search capabilities as well. It's free for the regular version, if you want to import handwritten notes and have them be searchable as well there's a charge.

    It's awesome and I think fits your needs exactly, or at least I use it to meet the needs you described and I've had no problems with it.

    Now if I could just force myself to go back and do something with the research later...

    P.S. There's a writer in The Atlantic named James Fallows who has a column on useful technology tools. That's where I first learned of Evernote. He had several other suggestions to fit the bill in that column and more generally, he's usually worth a read.

  • Firefox Bookmarks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tronster (25566) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:30AM (#19268845) Homepage

    Bookmarks and histories aren't the answer -- they're not very good for searching, the UI isn't very good for, say, adding notes, and they don't work offline. Also, stale URLs are a huge problem
    I agree with all of the shortcomings time961 posted, but despite these I have personally found bookmarking to work rather well for my projects. The pipeline is like this...

    In my bookmarks folder I have a "Projects" folder.
    Within my "Projects" folder I have an alphabetic listing of folders with each project's name.
    If the project is small, I fill it directly with book marks. I do take the time to add notes, because if the URL does go stale, the notes will let me know what I'm now missing. More often than not, missing information can be replaced in the future with another URL that has the same or more up-to-date information. Additionally Google Desktop searches my bookmarks file, so I just double-click ctrl and can search via keywords that way.

    This whole setup is a bit of a hack, but it's worked. I'm hoping either Firefox 3.0 will have a fantastic bookmark manager or a plug-in author creates something truly wonderful for the existing bookmark system.
  • Opera Notes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gorgeous Si (594753)
    In Opera you can select some text in a webpage, then right-click and select "Copy to note" (Shift-Ctrl-C). Notes are stored in a panel, and double clicking a note will load the webpage it came from. Handy.
  • del.icio.us (Score:3, Informative)

    by finkployd (12902) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:02AM (#19269283) Homepage
    I'm normally not a web 2.0 bandwagon type of person, but del.icio.us is probably the most useful thing for this that I have ever run across.

    pros:
    -tagging
    -descriptions
    -accessible from anywhere
    -really simple to add to (with firefox plugin)
    -searchable

    cons:
    -web pages are ephemeral
    -del.icio.is itself could go away someday, and I'm not sure how to back it up locally

    The best way to address the issue of web pages being ephemeral is to, as others have said, print to pdf. You mac people have it nice in this regard, but it is not hard to set up on windows or *ix.

    I also mentioned that del.icio.us was searchable, but only the tags, titles, and descriptions. I fully expect google to someday roll out a similar service someday that lets you search through the pages you have tagged. That would be very useful.

    I also like the suggestion of a personal wiki, but more for keeping track of little "tips and tricks" that I stumble upon rather than entire web pages.

    Finkployd
    • I fully expect google to someday roll out a similar service someday that lets you search through the pages you have tagged. That would be very useful.

      Guess I should have read all of the comments in this story before replying. I would have learned about Google Notebook [google.com] which looks like exactly what I was thinking of.

      Finkployd
    • by tweek (18111)
      or as I mentioned previously, you could run Insipid ( http://www.neuro-tech.net/insipid/ [neuro-tech.net] ) on a webserver of your own. The snapshotting feature alone makes it worth while.
  • How do others deal with organizing the results of browsing?

    I do this as regularly as anyone.

    lynx -dump > ~/docs/filename

    or if you're organised

    lynx -dump | add_to_database_script

    What's important to me is the content itself, not the "web content", so an attorney, for example, would take a very different approach (typically a hard copy that can be filed, duplicated, etc.). Note that unless you work for a law firm or a well-run business, managing pap
  • Like a couple other people suggested, I have a personal installation of MediaWiki. Actually, several installs. One for my own personal info. One for thesis research (shared with a couple fellow students and my advisors), one for my sideline web-development biz, one with work documentation. Lots of uploaded files, too. When I get a new gadget, the manual (PDF hopefully, but scanned if I have to), a scan of the receipt, and my setup notes all go to a page on it. Random piece of software I hadn't heard ab
  • Instead save the page to disk. Much more accessible:
    - full-text search, on one or multiple files
    - text and other elements can be copied off the page
    - links still work

    Pity Windows doesn't attach comments to a file: in Mac OS 9 at least, if you saved a Web page, the page URL would end up as a comment (viewable by doing Get Info on the file).
  • Zoot (Score:3, Informative)

    by hb253 (764272) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:33AM (#19270637)
    Zoot http://www.zootsoftware.com/ [zootsoftware.com] may meet your needs.
  • "(and I yearn for a day when browsers can reliably print what's on the screen, instead of cutting it off at the margin because some designer doesn't understand layout!)"

    This is so unfair. Are you a webdesigner? Are you even a designer at all? If you've ever done both print design and web design, you will appreciate how much more challenging web design is. Imagine designing for a completely unique for every viewer canvas, rather than, say, 10,000 identical copies of a newspaper or print ad. You have to allow

  • OneNote 2007 (Score:3, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:42AM (#19270781)
    At risk of getting modded down for recommending a Microsoft product here, you might want to look into OneNote 2007 (or one of the versions of Office 2007 that include it.)

    It comes with a "print to..." driver so you can print to your OneNote notebook, and provides a good framework for organizing your notes, and you don't need to kill as many trees as printing to paper.

    Another possibility is to get a PDF printer; you can either just organize your notes with file system folders, or if you want something a little bit more useful to track relations between different items, you can use something like PersonalBrain [thebrain.com] to for organization.

  • is called Insipid - http://www.neuro-tech.net/insipid/ [neuro-tech.net]

    It's basically a delicious clone but the feature I love the most is the snapshotting one. That way I never have to worry about the information going missing. It's been very useful for things that are hosted on university servers that disappear when the student leaves. Some of my bookmarks are private while others are public. They provide a javascript snippet you can put in your toolbar to bookmark the current page.

    It requires a server of your own to host
  • by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15@g m a il.com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @04:57PM (#19275743)
    I use text file and the Firefox Copy URL + extension [mozilla.org]:

    Copy URL + :: Firefox Add-ons
    "The Copy URL+ extension enables you to copy to the clipboard the current
    document's address along with additional information such as the document's
    title, the current selection or both."
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/129 [mozilla.org]

    It installs a context-menu, allowing you to copy any or all of page title, URL, and most importantly: the text currently selected.

    At other times, I use bookmarks in a new folder specific to the subject. You can add keywords to bookmarks in FF.
  • It's not worth archiving everything. But what you do archive, you should archive properly and carefully. All interesting information falls into two groups:

    1. Stuff to index and archive - Reports, newspaper articles, HOWTOs, manuals, books, specifications and other valuable and above all referencable stuff should be indexed and archived using the tool of your choice. Unfortunately, this is hard to automate and takes several minutes of your valuable time. Fortunately, this means that you won't have the time

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