Friday, 20 January 2012

#ELTChat January Blog Challenge: How do you manage your bookmarks?

I've been meaning to write on something like this for some time, but like a lot of my ideas, it was gradually heading towards oblivion - when one tries to juggle too many balls, some of them are bound to fall, aren't they? - until I saw @tarabenwell's tweet on an #ELTChat blog challenge: What are the best methods for organising bookmarks?

Seeing that it was Tara who proposed the challenge, she was the first to take it on, and her favourite is Scoop.It. You can read about her ten reasons here.

Unfortunately, I'd missed the chat on the advantages and disadvantages of social networking for language teachers, but I saw some of the chatters' favourite bookmarkers here.

If you're reading this, you are probably one of those who finds it increasingly challenging to be able to read everything you would like to, and, no doubt, you spend more time skimming than reading, and if you're quite organised, you might bookmark some for archiving or for reading later.

Well, that's what I do. I used to use the browser's bookmark feature until I had just so many bookmarks that I hardly looked at them unless I was trying to find a website I'd forgotten.

I'd also used Google Reader, but I found I stopped going through the list after a while. I'd also dipped my fingers in Delicious, Diigo, Livebinders, but none of them lasted very long for me.

I like, and I can understand Tara's choice, but, unfortunately, it only allows five topics for the free version. is fabulous, and I use it, but not for day-to-day bookmarking, not for sifting through all the stuff I want or may want to read.

So, what do I use? Which are my current favourites?

For indexing useful ELT resources, apart from, I use my Useful Resources page; I categorise them under meaningful headings, its weakness being I have to do it manually. Still, I think it's a good place to have them for myself and to share with others.

I'm scratching the surface with Evernote, but it has so many possibilities that I'm afraid it may get so overwhelming and may follow the footsteps of the others I've used. I'm trying not to put too much stuff on it, but just my to-do list alone threatens to fill up pages, and what I don't see I tend to forget!

I still use my Chrome bookmarks, especially the bar, where I put things I'd like to get to easily. When they are no longer required as frequently, and if I remember, I remove them. I also use the option where Chrome reopens all previous unclosed tabs upon reboot, but this gets cluttered up pretty quickly, so I put it all in a folder called 'Pending' until...

A few weeks ago, I discovered this new tool, which is just perfect as a complement to the others I'm using. I tweeted about it, but none of my followers seemed to have pick up on it.

It's called Read It Later, and claims to work in your tablets, mobiles, browsers, and more. I've only been using it on my Chrome browser. It offers the all-important one-click button on your bookmark bar: click it and that page gets filed on your read-later list. When you've finished, tick it off and it disappears from the list. The tool's getting a facelift, and below I've included two different ways of looking at your list.

So, there you have it. Yes, I cheated - I didn't choose one, but these are what I'm using at this moment. To sum up:

1. Read it Later: used mainly for pages I intend to read in the short term. However, I noticed that the list has extended to two pages, which means I've slacked!

2. Evernote: I pile up my things-to-do here. I'm starting to bookmark some web pages here, too, so it could very well be where I 'archive' them after I ticked them off #1.

3. Chrome bookmarks: I don't close the tabs of pages I haven't "finished with" so that they reopen automatically the following day. When they stay too long, they get moved to #1.

4. Scoop.It: The five topics only means that it is the first to go if I had to make a choice, much as I love it. I've used up the five topics - I didn't know about the limit when I started. Perhaps I might have done it differently had I known, but I don't feel like changing now. These are pages I share with others.

5. The other place where I can readily share my bookmarks is my Useful Resources page. Added 22/01/2012: I'd forgotten to mention that I follow so many blogs that it does get out of hand, so I created a blog to follow their feeds; when I have some spare time, or I'm looking for a person's blog and can't remember what it's called, I go to Take a look!

So, what are the tools you use for bookmarking? How do you organise the information bombarding us from all angles?


  1. Hi Chiew,
    Thanks for suggesting Read It Later which I installed right away. I understand it's just another way of bookmarking sites but a separate list for read-delete links will help me to organise my reading wish list better.
    I like that the app is integrated in Google Reader.


  2. Hi Baiba,
    Thanks for the comment. I like it - I keep it open all the time in Chrome so that the next time I reopen my Chrome, RiL also opens. It's quick and easy to add pages using the bookmarklet. The problem is the one facing all of us, I think: we just don't have time to read all that we would like to, and these pages do get accumulated fast! Haha. Anyway, we try.
    Stay organised! Thanks again.

  3. Thank you for your thorough analysis of pros and cons of each tool - I was getting a bit overwhelmed. I normally use GoogleReader because you can search it and it's pretty straightforward but have recently started dabbling with Diigo. During the last #ELCchat another app was suggested (I think it was Sandy Millin who mentioned it): Symbaloo. It's basically Favourites but organised in a very visually appealing chart that is stored on the web as opposed to the browser

  4. Hi Leo,
    Thanks for the comment. I find I tend to forget about Reader! I know people do use it, but I like to have things on my tabs so I see it.
    I'd tried Symbaloo too but it didn't make it to my books, I'm afraid.
    There's another one which I didn't mention here, Stich.It. You can see an example here: but the snag is you can't add to it. It's great if you want to send a link of several pages to people though.

  5. Having commented earlier on Symbaloo I am about to change my mind. Tried it this morning and I just don't find it user friendly. It's very visual alright if you use their presets but creating your own mix is just time consuming. Give me my Google Reader anytime!
    haven't got my head arount but will keep trying.

  6. Yea, I know what you mean about Symbaloo. It's basically a desktop, but that isn't good enough for me. Stich.It (without the 't' ;-)) is basically stringing a few pages together. Give it some urls and it bounds them so that you only have just the one url. From there, you move from page to page. Not very flexible at the moment - they're still improving on it - but good for some purposes.

  7. I was very happy using Google bookmarks and Delicious in Firefox but now that I´m using Google Chrome I wish GOOGLE could just find an elegant and simple way of integrating GOOGLE bookmarks into GOOGLE Chrome so they sync automatically on different computers. How difficult can that be??? Also miss the handy Delicious search function that Firefox had. Maybe I should just go back to Firefox if I hear myself like this...

  8. Thanks for your comment, Guido. I don't use Google bookmarks, so I can't tell you, but I'm sure there must be a way to link them to Chrome. I haven't looked into them but, using Chrome across computers, I see no need for Google bookmarks, or am I being naïve?

  9. will look into saving bookmarks in Chrome again but does it sync them across computers in your experience? If so, that´s the end of my troubles :-)

  10. Yes, Guido. If you have a Google Account, it can sync your Chrome.

  11. Thanks so much for taking up the challenge! I think you've shown exactly how our heads can spin when we have so many great resources to sort through. I hadn't heard of Read It Later, but love the name and idea. I have to admit I didn't know that Scoop It had a 5 max! I guess I would have found out for my next topic. But, if you tag the posts separately and keep them all in one generic ELT Scoop It, that should work (that's my plan anyway).

  12. thought I had checked that once but will look into that again NOW! Thanks Chiew!

  13. Tara, yea, I know; that's why I say it all the time so that new Scoopers will know the score. They don't publicise that part very much.

    Guido, the sync part is in options>Personal stuff

  14. Delicious used to be my favorite social networking site in many ways: unfortunately the site has degraded into unusability following its change of ownership. I'm using Diigo as a stop gap. It's more or less usable as an individual, but unfortunately it mires unregistered visitors to the site in frame hell, which makes it a poor way of sharing tagged bookmarks.
    I'm looking at, which claims a back to delicious user experience, but I haven't taken the one-time $9.62 plunge for a lifetime membership yet.
    Tagged lists of bookmarks are definitely the future:

  15. Thanks for the comment, Douglas. Evernote,, Read it Later, they all provide tags, and they're free, except, like I mentioned before only provides 5 "topics".

  16. Hi Chiew,

    I have only recently found that my bookmarks weren't cutting it any more. I have tried a few alternatives and most of them haven't been that impressive so thanks for your ideas.

    At the moment I am using Pearltrees. It is still early days but I have found it very useful and flexible so far. I have written a blog to answer the same challenge;


  17. Hi Stephen,
    Thanks for your comment. Yes, I did take a look at Pearltrees a while back, but I decided to stick to what I'm using right now.
    Thanks for the link - I don't know if anyone at ELTChat is keeping tabs on all who have taken up the challenge. Who knows, I may take another look at Pearltrees!

  18. I missed the #eltchat, though I'm hoping to catch it this week. I manage my bookmarks by first putting them in a list and then sorting them into folders. I don't keep all my bookmarks as I just use some of them in my blog posts. I just keep them on my laptop, though I suppose I should use social bookmarking.

  19. Hi Sharon, thanks for dropping by. I'd missed it too, but saw the challenge on a tweet. I used to, and still do actually, have my bookmarks in my browser, organised into folders, but they get to be rather cumbersome. I needed something to tell me, hey, you haven't read this yet, and you really ought to try and find the time to do so. Read it Later is meant to do that for me, but to be honest, the days just fly past so fast... ;)


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