Bookmarks


I always had my quarrels with bookmarks. For many reasons. And I’ve finally believe that I have found a way to organize many bookmarks in an efficient way with minimum effort. But let me first come to the problems.

First: I have three different computers: at work, at home and a laptop. There are some tools that let you sync your bookmarks – but most of these tools have at least one of the following prerequisites:

  • Same browser on all machines
  • Same OS on all machines
  • Admin rights

Well, I don’t have admin rights on my machine at work, and I won’t get them for non-approved software. What’s even worse: I am forced to work with IE7 on a Vista machine. At home, telperion (my computer) runs the one and only Firefox on a Gentoo Linux powered machine, and on the go I’ll work with laurelin, my MacBook that runs Safari, which on OS X is better integrated to the OS than Firefox.

See where there might be problems?

My second big quarrel with bookmarks: I think I’ve developed some kind of data compulsive hoarding behavior. The couple of sites that I need regularly I know by heart. But most of the time it’s those sites that you don’t visit regularly that you’ll miss. E.g. I am currently looking for three Websites that I cannot find anymore :-(.

Now how to sort and categorize all those bookmarks? The only way to manage your bookmarks that is available on all browsers is via folders. To have a system that works you’ll need identical setups on all machines (my first great mistake – having a different folder structure at work than at home – don’t ever do that, it’ll lead you to bookmark-searching hell). But where to put a tutorial on GnuPG? It’s computer-related, so computers would be a start. In there, you’ll find software, hardware, operating systems, security, programming as sub-level folders. GnuPG is software, isn’t it? But it’s also security. Let’s imagine, that the tutorial is about plugins to use in Outlook. Now is that operating systems → windows (as Outlook is just available on Windows), is it software → outlook, software → security, or security → windows, security → outlook, etc.?

See my dilemma? Such decisions make it hard for me to fast bookmark a website which is the reason why there’s a folder “uncategorized” which has far more content than all sorted bookmarks together.

That is why I decided to move my bookmarks to delicious.

Delicious is yet another hip 2.0 web service, a so-called “social bookmarking” service, that allows you to share your bookmarks with other people. The power of delicious lies in its organization by tags. Any bookmark can have as many tags as wanted, any new bookmark is presented with all the tags you’ve already used, and additionally the top tags other people used for this site. But you could also just write a new tag into the window, and there you go.

Adding a new bookmark, using own, recommended and popular tags

Additionally to tags, delicious fetches the title of the website automatically (but you can change it) and you can also add additional notes. All these information should help you, but keep the following in mind. Think about your own tags
before you look at the recommendations. Don’t make the mistake to tag too much, or tag what others did. It’s about organizing your websites, so that you can find them easily. Think of the things that you would remember and that would cross your mind first, when looking for the website.

My own tags are not in accord with everyone elses

All bookmarks you add to delicious are visible by anyone, i.e. you are counted as one additional person that has this webpage bookmarked, you’ll show up in the history for the bookmark, and it is shown, when someone surfs on your profile (like you could surf on mine by requesting the page http://delicious.com/pygospa.
2,745 people share this bookmark with me

History page of a link showing all users that have this link

Now if you don’t want that to happen, you can also mark your bookmarks as private – directly when you enter them, later in edit mode or also as bulk edit.

Making a bookmark private

Now, let us come to the, in my opinion by far most useful feature of delicious. Tag-Browsing your collection. Imagine someone asks me, if I’d known a good tutorial for GnuPG. I could just visit my bookmarks and filter for GnuPG, but then I’ll find everything that I might have bookmarked, regarding GnuPG, e.g. a comparison of GnuPG and PGP, a history of cryptography, news on upgrades, or a plugin description specifically for the GNOME mail client Balsa.

But I could also combine the tags gnupg+tutorial, and there I go, just tutorials that cover GnuPG, and just GnuPG pages that are actually tutorials. Now I know, that the person asking me, doesn’t speak any English. Fortunately I also tagged every websites language (remember? Tag what you need. You’ll find hardly anybody tagging the languages of webpages – but as I speak nearly 5 languages, for me this comes quite handy).

Tagsurfing

Now imagine you’d had to solve this via a folder structure in IE or Safari…

All my problems seem to be solved by delicious. I’m not sure whether I’m going to use it, as I which I would. But for starters I am pretty impressed.

A downside of course is that it is a website, i.e. my bookmarks are just accessible when I’m online, as well as the sharing aspect. But when it comes to browser integration delicious has quite some plugins, as well as easy mechanisms to add bookmarks. So the only thing I’ll need to do now is to get rid of the ctrl/⌘-D habit, when trying to bookmark something…

What are your experiences with delicious? Do you use it, or alternatives to delicious? How do you manage your bookmarks?

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