You know how it is. You stumble across an interesting site with something new…a particularly cool design, something weirdly offbeat, some facts and figures of interest, a database you might want to come back to and explore one day. Only half conscious of what’s happening, you mouse over to Add to Favorites, and before you know it, your bookmark list is half the size of the Manhattan Yellow Pages.
And good luck ever finding that database again.
If you’re a professional internet researcher, then multiply that scenario by at least an order of magnitude. I currently have 4,557 bookmarked sites in my personal collection…and this after a recent purging of dead links! Not quite the Manhattan phone book, but still, a hefty and unwieldy collection.
I long ago realized that the Internet Explorer method of storing links in Favorites folders just wasn’t going to cut it. Sure, I could have my Maps folder of links, and my Census folder, and my Cities folder. But what happens when I find a site that takes city census data and maps it on the fly? Which category should it get stored in? And — a year later, when I want to use the map tool — how the heck am I supposed to remember where I put it?
Looking around for a better way of doing things, I came across a free-trial of software called Powermarks. I almost abandoned it, at first, because it seemed an awkward and unfamiliar way of managing bookmarks. But some instinct told me to stick with it, and I eventually wound up doing something that (for me) is pretty rare…I bought the danged software!
Now, five years later, I can’t imagine working and researching without it.
Powermarks is simple to set-up, and actually is quite simple to use, my initial reservations notwithstanding. It puts some small icons in your tool bar or task bar (quick…which is which?), and you use these to quickly add a bookmark, and to efficiently manage your entire collection.
It’s a keyword-based system. As you store a new site, Powermarks generates likely keywords based on the URL and tags and such, though I only occasionally keep these. Usually, I just add my own keywords from scratch.
So, for example, my Powermarks entry for the above-mentioned Census site has keywords for census, maps, cities, states, zip, and 3-digit.
And years later, when I’m thinking: Where was that site that could map out 3-digit zip codes?, I can search on zip or 3-digit or map, and Powermarks will find it for me in an instant.
And cooler than cool, I can sychronize bookmark lists over the web, so that the PC in my attic, and the laptop in the kitchen and my computer in the office all have the same set of bookmarks listed.
It’s such a useful tool, that I haven’t even explored any of the new online bookmark management tools that are popping up all over the Net
It would be interesting to hear about anyone’s experience with them, if they think they’ve found a top-notch solution to the bookmarking madness.
pafalafaga David Sarokin