There was a time when my browser’s bookmark collection numbered in the 100s, all neatly grouped into a range of categories. Eventually, I realized that most of these links just ended up adding to the cruft in my bookmarks column.
What I also discovered was that a good number of these links I had accumulated over the years were pages that I hadn’t revisited in so long that the material there was out of date or that the pages now resolved to a dead-link 404. Not much point in collecting things that don’t get used, right?
Is browser bookmarking dead? I’m clearly not alone in asking this.
For me, browser bookmarking has been greatly simplified in my work. The biggest change I’ve made in my workflow here is in how I manage my research online. You see, I read an awful lot as part of my job as a writer and presenter…and as someone who is a devoted student of public policy, marketing and human behaviour. I accumulate a lot of “must-reads” and “read-laters” in my work.
Five years ago, much of my research and reading list would have wound up in my browser’s bookmarks. But today, it works something like this:
1) My browser bookmarks list consists of just 30 favourites: half of which form my list of daily reads. I rely on Google and Bing for other URLs that I struggle to recall. I also rely on my Twitter feed plus a very select list of news aggregator for stories that might be of interest.
2) Instapaper is what I use for stories and facts that interest me. It quietly syncs between a web client and my iPad without any effort on my part (the way syncing should be). Things I want to come back to later go here. From here, stories get triaged either with the delete button, archived for further review, or sent to my database for reference.
3) Yojimbo, my beloved jack-of-all trades database, handles links to white papers, academic articles, favourite stories. Some are saved as web links. Others as PDFs. All items are tagged so that searching is a breeze. I sync this with my Macbook and iPad. The outcome is that things are easier to find, and I waste less time filing things that I never will read again.