Tame those bookmarks
So far in our digital workflow series we’ve looked at ways to triage information for later reading, and also how to save interesting articles or resources to our own digital library. Using a short term tool like Pocket along with a long term storage tool like Evernote makes for a powerful combination, but we also need to consider how best to share with other people. It’s here that we look at the next step of the workflow process- share.
Sharing our own work or promoting resources created by others is an important aspect of being a valuable member of our network. Think about all of the great resources you’ve found online, and how you found them. These resources were created and shared by someone. They were then promoted by others, either on social media, through bookmarking sites or by linking in blog posts. Everyone involved in that process has played some part in bringing that great resource to your attention, so by adding our own thoughts or recommendations then we pass that resource on to others.
One great way to do this is through a social bookmarking tool. These tools let you bookmark great resources to build your own library of links, and they also let you share with others. They are a much better alternative to the old workflow of bookmarking that might work something like this:
- find a great site
- bookmark it in your browser
- email it to yourself
- email it to your colleagues
But this process has some problems:
- your browser bookmarks will probably quickly become unmanageable
- you will email it to yourself, not have time to look at the link and then put it in a folder marked Later or Stuff (which you’ll never check)
- your colleagues will be busy, and drag it to their own folder marked Later or Stuff (which they’ll never check). Then you’ll eventually decide that you don’t want to bog them down with emails
- you and your colleagues miss out on those great resources
So instead of that process, let’s find a better way to save those bookmarks, and put them in a place where anyone can find them when they need them. To do this you can use a social bookmarking tool, and one of the best around is Diigo.
How to get started with Diigo
- To get started with Diigo, visit diigo.com and sign up for an account. There is also an option for an upgrade to free educator accounts if you sign up with an email address from a registered educational domain (such as Edumail)
- The one problem with Diigo is that adding your first bookmark is quite a complicated process, and until you get your first bookmark added the library page is a bit bare. So we’ve put together a complete guide to getting started with Diigo, including installing a toolbar in your browser, organising your library and much more.
- Once you’ve added a few bookmarks to your library, explore the annotation, highlighting and sticky note features of Diigo.
- Now that you are building your own library, why not search for groups of educators with interests in your subject area? One great group to join is VicPLN, which includes a wide range of general teaching and learning resources. Click this link, request to join (select Join this group)and when you’re approved you’ll be able to share your favourite resources with the group. You can also comment on links and save any links you love into your own library by selecting More>Save.
- Now that you’ve seen how Groups work, form your own group within your school. Instead of emailing interesting links to colleagues make sure that you all share them into the group, so they are there when anyone needs them. Use tags to organise your resources into subject, year level or topic. You could also create groups within your classes and have students post interesting links as they complete their research (make sure you get an educator account to do this).
- Now that you’ve worked out a place to store your new bookmarks, think about what you want to do with those bookmarks you’ve accumulated over the years. If they are all stored in your browser then you might think about exporting them all to a file and them importing them into Diigo. Look for the export option in your browser’s bookmark manager, and when you’ve exported all the bookmarks to a file visit Diigo Tools. Choose Import, select the file and import them into your library. Or, you might like to declare ‘bookmark bankruptcy’, get rid of all of your old bookmarks and just start again from scratch. It’s a big step, but might be worth it!
- If you are using the mobile version of Pocket, look for the Diigo option in the sharing menu. Hook up your Diigo account to make saving great articles from Pocket direct to Diigo.
- Lastly, now that you’ve organised your bookmarks into Diigo, think about what bookmarks you still need in your browser. These should only be pages that you visit regularly, and ones that you need for quick access. Try to keep your browser bookmarks down to your most used websites (email, banking, newspaper, RSS reader, social network, Evernote, Diigo etc) and put anything less important into Diigo, where it’s safe but not in the way.
The only thing to consider now is what you want to save to Diigo, compared to what you want to save into Evernote. Diigo doesn’t store pages forever (unless you pay for a premium account), so basically if you want to make sure you’ll always have access to the contents of an article, clip it into Evernote. If the page is that valuable then you probably want to save the bookmark and share it to your Diigo followers or groups as well. If you are not sure whether you’ll need the page in the future, but want to have that option, then that’s the perfect page to bookmark just in Diigo.
Diigo (or other social bookmarking tools like Delicious or Kippt) are the perfect option for saving your own bookmarks and also for sharing interesting resources without feeling like you are pushing them on other people. Using Pocket, Evernote and Diigo and having a clear idea about the role of each tool means you will always be able to find that resource that you need, when you need it.
Of course, there are a number of other ways to share the resources you find, such as on social media, through curation tools or even in person. In the final post of this series we will look at other ways to share, how to streamline your workflow by joining these tools together and also how to reflect more deeply on resources you’ve found.