How I Remember What I Read on the Internet

When researching or learning, being able to remember the important nuggets from what you read seems really important.

Internet bookmarks were a kind of naïve solution, with books and the internet not being analogous at all.

I've tried other ways of capturing content, but most failed to help me remember: what I’ve read, the individual sources and the variety of subjects. But then I learned a more active technique that helps with the remembering.

Progressive Summarization was introduced to me by its inventor⁺ Tiago Forte, on his blog Praxis. Progressive Summarization is approximately what it sounds like. You read, take notes, highlight, and eventually write an outline of your source material over time if, and only if, you’re drawn back to the material.

Tiago’s four part outline of the technique is a bit of a beast, and only available to members of Praxis*. Instead of copying his work, I’m going to offer a barebones outline of how I practice it and let you take what you will.

My initial pipeline:

  1. Liner — I use this Chrome extension to highlight an article or blog post as I’m reading.
  2. Evernote web clipper — I then copy the page including Liner highlights using the Evernote web clipper, another Chrome extension

Once material is captured:

  1. I now have full control to edit the content, adding notes, bolding the most important parts within my highlights, and writing my own summary at the top
  2. Full text search of everything captured is possible this way, so much better than traditional bookmarks. When I’m looking through Evernote all kinds of relevant stuff that I’m familiar with pops up.
  3. Liner will display my highlights on the original article, so if I go back or the article is updated, I still have a ‘live’ copy too, albeit minus Evernote edits

Of course, sources that don’t remain engaging still sort of fall out of view. However, the interesting stuff gets reinforced, reviewed, examined and compared with other material far more frequently than before.

I know I’m not the only one who wants to capture and retain what I study and learn. What are your favorite learning tools? Tell me in the comments.

⁺I believe. There are very few original ideas.

* Maybe this isn’t behind a paywall. It’s “members only” but people tell me they can see the article: https://praxis.fortelabs.co/progressive-summarization-a-practical-technique-for-designing-discoverable-notes-3459b257d3eb/