Are you doing bookmarking the smart way or the hard way? Tips for better bookmarking

I just found a link from January of 2011 in under 20 seconds.

I saw a colleague post on twitter that he is interested in how to his students might use the Choose Your Own Adventure storytelling format in his History class. I responded that a former student once created such a story in Spanish class using Twitter, and he wrote back asking for a link. Less than a minute later, I had provided it.

Rest assured, my superpower isn’t remembering details. Honestly, I didn’t even remember the student’s name, much less when when she had created her story. My secret sauce: social bookmarking.

If you’re like most people, your bookmarking process involves clicking on the Bookmarks menu and selecting Bookmark this Page. The problem with this approach is that you have hundreds or even thousands of bookmarks and they are in chronological order based on when you saved them. For a lot of us, this means that to actually go back and find a bookmarked link, trying to search for it in Google is a better bet than trying to locate it in our bookmarks.

There’s a better way…and it requires no additional time or effort!

The key is Social Bookmarking tools. There are various options and strategies out there so do your homework. Personally, I love Diigo. Social Bookmarking tools like Diigo go beyond saving your bookmarks in chronological order; they also prompt you to tag your bookmarks and then use this metadata to help easily rediscover the links later. In the case of the bookmarked article below, I tagged it with research, note taking and brain. Rather than scroll through years worth of bookmarks to locate this, I simply searched by tags.

It’s a whole lot more powerful than simply getting better at Hide & Seek with your bookmarks!

Being able to more quickly find what you’re looking for is just one of the benefits to social bookmarking. Other benefits include:

  • Save what you highlight! You can highlight text on any webpage (in multiple colors!) and anything you highlight gets saved along with the bookmark. In the article above, you can see that I highlighted four passages and they appear in my account along with the link I bookmarked. Further, as long as I’m logged into my account, anything I highlight should still be highlighted if I later revisit the page, even if I am on a different computer.
  • Get social! Read something you need to share with a colleague or supervisor? You can share links directly from the browser (no more copying the url, opening up an email and pasting the link). You can even share your highlights as well, giving the recipient the option to skip clicking the link altogether and just trust that you shared all of the important stuff.
  • Get even more social! Additionally, in tools like Diigo, you can create groups. This allows you to have a shared library of bookmarks as well as a chat stream to discuss them. This can be helpful for collaborative group work as well as crowd-sourcing research.
Another tool to check out (about which I’ve written about multiple times) is Hypothes.is. While it is built more as a Social Reading tool for collaboratively annotating texts, I’ve seen others using its features in similar ways to how I use Diigo for bookmarking.

When I think back to college research papers and sea of notecards and printouts around my desk, it makes me wish social bookmarking had been around for us back then! While I now think of myself as a Curator of Content, you could get away with calling me a hoarder of links. I have literally thousands of bookmarks because I save most of what I read. It’s handy because I can usually find my sources to cite when backing up the absurd claims coming out of my mouth. And it’s helpful to others when I can offer a series of resources in response to their question, like I did with the teacher who asked about Choose Your Own Adventure ideas.


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What strategies do YOU use to make the bookmarking process work better for you? As always, your own thoughts, ideas and pushback response posts are appreciated and valued. Be sure to follow The Synapse for more authentic voices in Education. In addition to following me here on Medium, you can find me at SenorG on Twitter.