I have long advocated using more than one browser at a time and I will frequently have both IE7 and Firefox open, sometime with multiple windows and always with multiple tabs. But it does play havoc with my bookmarks (called Favorites in Internet Explorer). Here are some tips and suggestions for mastering bookmarks and for clipping elements from webpages you find interesting.
Creating and organizing bookmarks
Most browsers provide tools for creating folders, and for moving and renaming bookmarks. It’s a good habit to frequently clear out old bookmarks and rename ones that no longer make any sense to you.
Sharing bookmarks between browsers
IE, Firefox and Safari all have options for either importing or exporting bookmarks (or both) among themselves or to an external file. It might help the clutter to save all your bookmarks to an external file — name it Bookmarks 2007 — and then delete all but the most essential reminders from your current list. When you need to go back and locate a URL from 2007, simply open that file from the browser using the Open File… option.
(Mac OS X only) AllBookmarks adds a new item to your Mac OS X menu bar giving you quick access to all your bookmarks. All your Safari, Firefox and Flock bookmarks are shown and can be selected.
Synchronizing bookmarks on several computers (Firefox)
The Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer automatically synchronizes your bookmarks between two or more computers running Firefox. It also lets you access your bookmarks from any computer anytime via my.foxmarks.com. An easy-to-use wizard guides you through the quick startup process. Then Foxmarks works silently in the background to keep your bookmarks up-to-date on all your computers. Simple. Solid. Free. And ready to use.
Access your bookmarks from any computer online
Google Bookmarks is an online service that lets you save your favorite sites and attach labels and annotations. Unlike the bookmark feature from your browser, bookmarks are stored securely online, so they are accessible even if you’re using other computers. The most important features that set Google Bookmark apart from other services is that all your bookmarks are private (nobody else can see them) and fully searchable. You are no longer restricted to the title of the page, the description and the URL – you can search the entire page. A similar service is the new version of Yahoo Bookmarks.
del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website — the primary use of del.icio.us is to store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too. On del.icio.us, you can use tags to organize and remember your bookmarks, which is a much more flexible system than folders. You can also use del.icio.us to see the interesting links that your friends and other people bookmark, and share links with them in return. You can even browse and search del.icio.us to discover the cool and useful bookmarks that everyone else has saved — which is made easy with tags.
Clipping and sharing highlights from a page
Clipmarks lets you clip specific pieces of web pages, then share what you clip with your friends on Facebook, MySpace or anywhere else. Unlike bookmarks that let you share a link to an entire page, the free clip button lets you capture and share the highlights from the page. Clips can also be saved privately, emailed or printed.
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 course? Researching a lecture? Just add clippings to your notebook. You won’t ever have to leave your browser window. You can also quickly clip Google search results by clicking on the Note this link at the bottom of any search result.
Rick and I are sharing a Google Notebook to experiment with its features. Feel free to join us. Just comment to this blog or contact either one of us. Try out some of the other tools descried above and let us know what you think.