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Blake Burch

organization Using Evernote as a bookmark manager

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This summer, I've made it a goal of mine to clean out and organize my stuff both physical and digital. As I came across my bookmarks, I was a little bit disheartened.

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Visibly, I had tried to organize sites that I found, but over time, that organization slowly slipped away. Was it worth trying to visit every site and restructure my folder system, only to watch it slip again?

I've decided against continuing to use Chrome's built in bookmark manager. It was becoming a mess and I felt like I would work better with visual bookmarks. After all, I use this for my "new tab" page. Why not try and find something similar that could hold a ton of different sites?

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From what I've deduced, here's the pros and cons of using Evernote for bookmark management.

Pros:

  • Same amount of clicks to add a bookmark. One click to press the clipper, one click to confirm.
  • I can tag my bookmarks instead of trying to go through a convoluted folder system.
  • I can add personal notes about the website and my use of it.
  • I can see all of my bookmarks in a thumbnail view.
  • When I search for a bookmark, it searches through all of the text on the home page.
  • When I view a bookmark within EN, I can click any links on the home page.
  • Bookmarks sync to EN Android (it's actually puzzling why Chrome doesn't do this for the stock Android browser)
  • If I wanted to, I could create completely offline versions of a website. There are easier ways to do this, but it's an interesting possibility nonetheless.

Cons:

  • Thumbnails aren't consistently visible on Android.
  • I have to use yet another program. I long for integration.
  • Not all sites clip to EN correctly.
  • I can't default a view for a particular notebook. Every time I go to my Bookmarks notebook, I have to manually select Thumbnail view.

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I can't say I've officially decided to use Evernote to keep track of all of my bookmarks (I'm still in an unsure testing phase as you can see above). Has anyone else tried to do this and pulled it off effectively? Does anyone recommend something that maybe I haven't come across?

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Ouch, that looks like far too much work for me. I store all my bookmarks in the cloudbased XMarks.com site.

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Hi Blake. I like your idea of putting screenshots of the sites together with the links. It makes it visually attractive and takes advantage of Evernote features like Cardview.

I've worked with two methods.

(1) I clip pages I like, name them YYMMDD clipping + title, and drag the note into an "index" note containing all of my links (see this page for more about these "index" notes http://www.princeton...ganization.html). The good thing about it is that I get the page into Evernote (for searching) with all of my links easily accessible in one place on any device. The bad thing is that it takes a couple of clicks to get to the site: one in the index note that takes me to the clipped page, and a second one on the url in that page.

(2) I keep my booknotes in Chrome and export them every once in a while as an html file (you'll find the option in your bookmark manager). I've come to rely more on this method, because it takes much less effort. The problem is that I end up replacing my bookmarks with the new note each time, so there is no opportunity to put in my own comments.

Neither of my methods give the kind of visuality that Blake has achieved. However, I know myself, and I am not the kind of person who would actually keep up with a system that requires much time or effort, so I might just have to sacrifice form for function.

[EDIT:]

P.S. A little-known fact is that when you click on a link while using the iPhone you are taken to the site, but you are within Evernote, so you have the ability to "Clip to Evernote." This is a feature unavailable in Safari (but, available in iCab Mobile, which I prefer to use on the iPad). You have the option to open in Safari if you want to move over to that browsing experience, but by staying within Evernote, you can quickly run through a site clipping pages at a fast clip (hahaha - pun intended).

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@jbenson - I saw your recommendation of Xmarks in another thread, but I don't think it would work out for me. It's still based off of a folder hierarchy system. My problem is that I'll compulsively add websites to my bookmarks. Sometimes I won't have the time to organize it and other times I'm not in the same frame of mind that I was when I created the hierarchical structure. Looking back now, I have two sections for programming and no good reason for that! I guess I just couldn't find it initially, so I stuck it somewhere else.

From my trials, it shouldn't add any work. The Web Clipper clips all of the page design/text and auto-suggests tags accordingly. I think it'll actually take less time in the long run because I don't have to think about where I place the bookmark.

@GrumpyMonkey Text links would probably be a whole lot easier, but my issue is forgetting the purpose or reason behind bookmarking a page. I guarantee that I visit less than 25% of them. It's like my safehaven for "websites I thought would come in handy but never did". Having only the URL and title (a la the current system) requires me to revisit the website to figure out why I saved it.

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I've taken to using Pinboard (pinboard.in) for organizing bookmarks. LIke Evernote, it relies on tags. I have a bookmarklet for in Chrome on my Mac and, on my iPad, I use iCab Mobile as my browser which has a module for saving a URL to Pinboard. Both allow me to title, tag and, if desired, add notes. URLs can be marked private. The site has many, many more features, too.

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I have been using Evernote as my bookmark manager almost from day 1.

I tend to be text oriented so thumbnails have not been a personal issue.

I add a "favorite" tag to frequently visited sites with an associated "_Favorite" Saved Search.

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Ouch, that looks like far too much work for me. I store all my bookmarks in the cloudbased XMarks.com site.

I use that as well. It is a good service Recently though the latest update to Chrome created some issues. The Chrome sync functions are totally great, except it includes bookmarks as well. If both the Chrome and Xmarks services are set to sync your bookmarks, you get a huge mess as they each try to out sync each other. I now have about 23 copies of each of my main toolbar folders with varying sets of bookmarks in them. It is a complete mess that I am going to have to manually fix in Xmarks to get it back on track. I turned off the Chrome bookmark sync after the storm hit.

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I now have about 23 copies of each of my main toolbar folders with varying sets of bookmarks in them.

Did you try the Deduplicate tool which is in xmarks web application?

It helped me clean out my duplicates due to the same problem. I too have disabled Chrome sync

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Even my bookmarks in Xmarks is now a mess. Add to that I use Pocket(Previously ReadItLater).

So that's a double mess. XD

Keep filling in suggestions guys.

I'm waiting for the best one so that I can implement it :lol:

And thanks for starting the thread!

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I am searching for a good bookmarks manager too. But for me Evernote is more like an archive. If you have a bookmark for a site in Google Chrome and that site goes down you have nothing. If you store the whole page in Evernote you will have the information forever. But in some cases it doesn't make sense to archive a site in Evernote. For example random.org. I don't use this site very often but when I need it I can't remember the name. This page wouldn't work in Evernote so I will lose it anyway when servers go down and I have a copy of it in Evernote. But I could create notes with just URL's in it as "Bookmarks". Right now I'm considering to buy Pinboard.in.

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Ah the Brain.. like somebody mentioning an old forgotten love.. (Ooh and Basket Notepads was ahead of its time too..)

I migrated my bookmarks to evernote a month ago . After getting tired of having bookmarks in so many places and just needed this visual layout of bookmarking and to hold the bookmarks in the same place as other project related stuff goes. Works fine actually.

only thing I reallu miss is evernote not having a nested tree layout.

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Focus Evernote, please focus.

On this Thanksgiving week,

Large portions of Search and Speed (with a nice sized dollop of consistency)

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I think you are missing a very important bookmark management!

I use a separate bookmark manager and have accumulated some 1500 bookmarks over the years, and can easily find any of them, but my bookmarm manager also holds separate logins and passwords held agains 170 of these bookmarks?

Yep that right, 170 separate logins and passwords! Sure many are probably now redundant, as they were necessary for one-off on-line purchases but what I'm getting at is that anything you are going to manage bookmarks MUST also manage logins and passwords.

I use LinkStash which is encripted and has a single master password. The best feature about this application is that I can use quick keys ([control+shift+F1) and it will automaticaally fill in my site specific login and password for the particular web page. I use this every day to:

-log into remote client sites

-log into web sites

-save/retrieve software/hardware logins and passwords

I've evaluated Evernote's url capture facility (which sucks in IE9) and also Evernotes functionality to encript a highlighted section of text, but thats not really going to work to manage urls, logins and passwords.

Whats needed is to integrate LinkStash's features into Evernote, which I have raised with Evernote support.

Cheer

Grant

Any bookmark manager needs to hold logins and passwords.

, and in hte case of Linkstach, it has a single master password, so I only have to remember one!

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Well, just for the sake of completeness, nobody mentioned delicious.com. Wonder why. Did everyone just abandon this site after the sale and redesign? Okay, it's not as good any more as it used to be, but bookmark adding and tagging works great.

Which other site lets you create bookmark bundles?

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I'm wondering, if you collect bookmarks like some busy squirrels the nuts, maybe it's time to stop for a second and think whether you will really ever find or use that bookmark again. Maybe it's just one of those moments where one is too lazy to save whatever information morsel caught one's attention. It's so much easier to burry the whole site url somewhere instead.

Something to try: when saving a bookmark, either put it into the "general nuts" pile, or add it to a topic pile of a subject that really concern you and your life and that you will definitely return to. That should probably be not more than around 20 nut piles. Everything else would be just plain nuts. Because as we squirrels know, you will never find those others again anyway.

Here is my IA nut pile (it's a note in Evernote tagged links and ia):

nutpile.jpg

Yea, all right, I make a screenshot of the logo and then paste it into a note and link it. Might sound like a lot of work, but then again, this way I remember the URL a lot better and if I go there more than around three times, I've already saved those 30 seconds of creating the image link, just because I

-know where it is

-find it instantly

-and a click takes me to the real site in a real browser

Now you

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Hello Petra. I really like your idea of screenshots of logos for your bookmark links. Would you mind giving a step by step of your process? How do you screenshot just the logo and then do you save it as a jpeg file and then copy and paste? When I tried it I wasn't able to paset it to an Evernote note. Thanks

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Petra, yes its a valid question as to whether its worth saving all those bookmarks, and as I said, alot of them are probably redundant. I could probable use evernotes to general bookmarking, but its the logins and passwords that are critcal and its the auto login feature that I am not willing ot give up with LinkStash.

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Hm, I use 1password for logins. Link archival software it usually not good at password archival and vice versa. If you use Evernote just for the links to the sites, and then let a good password software (1password, LastPass etc) with browser plugin do the login part, you get the best of both worlds.

Workflow for the link nut stash:

----------------------------------------

Step 1)

make screenshot of just the logo on a site. E.g. the free screen capture app in applications/utilities on the Mac lets me use a shortcut to switch to drawing mode to use my mouse to draw a free rectangle anywhere on the monitor to 'take a picture' of. The app then makes a new doc with that screen capture snippet which I could save as tiff if I wanted to, but I don't want to, because I don't need to, because

Step 2)

copy and paste from the screen capture app to Evernote puts the screen capture snippet right into the Evernote note (no need for making a JPG. At least on the Mac it pastes nicely in).

Step 3 (for Retina)

The new Mac Book Retina now makes these huge screenshots so there is a new step 3 to hammer the picture down to smaller size:

- cmd-n & cmd-v in Photoshop pastes it into a new doc. Then cmd-i, tab tab to change the resolution from 144 to 72

- then again select all, copy and paste, this time from Photoshop to Evernote, again, no need to save a JPG.

Step 4 (or Step 3 for non-Retina people)

In Evernote, select the image, cmd-k to add a link

Voila. Sis is all. Parfait.

2 Extras for the visual people:

- an empty space between each logo makes it neater. And of course it has a usability benefit: you can then squeeze your cursor in between them easier to select one for deleting or moving etc.

- needless to say that if you don't add line breaks, the logo stash reformats with changing the width of the note window. (A poor man's version of a fluid layout)

In moments of reoccurring insanity, I keep thinking about bringing all logos to the same width and height, but I do have a life to life, unfortunately, so had to drop that idea.

Probably takes about 20-30 sec for saving a link like this. With links one only needs temporarily, just copy pasting the URL is the more sensible option of course. No need to get all fancy and visual with those. This is crazy enough as it is.

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Ha, just evaluated 1Password.....nice glossy look, but totally useless! I had to revert to the user manual to figure out how to actually add a login and password, and it still didnt work! I'll stick to Linkstash thanks.

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Oh, come on, that's like saying I'm going to forever stick with my motorcycle because I couldn't figure out the car in a day.

I think 1Password and LastPass are the two top rivals in the password protection market segment, the first being geared towards the visual people, the other more 'normal' looking. They are not the leaders out of coincidence, but because the features are essential to the modern day site nomad. And actually they are not that difficult to master, seriously. If you know how to klick and type, you know how to add a passwords. It's icons on shelves and you click on them and assign username/pass. Come on, it doesn't get simpler than that. I think you just didn't give it enough time because you prefer to stick with what you know, fair enough. Whatever floats your bike, ah, boat.

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@Blake: I totally feel you. My Firefox bookmarks were getting out of control and have been trying to migrate to Evernote. I found this video SUPREMELY helpful.

The key is to use tags to organize everything, kind of like a Google label to keep things all neat. AAAND, timewise, it's a pretty quick substitute for bookmarking (open a new note, drag and drop link, and Evernote takes care of the rest).

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I was using Evernote as a sortof Bookmark Manager for a while as well but all of the apps - and the Evernote interface itself - are so slow it drove me crazy waiting just to bookmark a site. Now I use Springpad and/or Pocket (formerly ReadItLater) - both have very quick, intuitive, and flexible user interfaces and have a visual layout.

Springpad lets you organize your notes/bookmarks/etc into 'notebooks' - which you can customize the appearance of - and it lets you add descriptions, categories, tags, lets you choose an image, create a task list or a check list, comment on an item, create alarms/reminders, share notebooks/individual notes with selected people, share directly to social media or send to your phone, follow other people, choose your default viewing method, drag and drop the order and arrangement of notes and notebooks, search all text, add/remove notebooks within an individual item, upload images/files, embed videos, paste URLs, etc...If you add an item in one of the defined categories like for example, 'movies', Springpad gives you a suggestions list to choose from of 'Popular Movies'. You can even import bookmarks from Delicious, use email to add new items, create html backups of all items, sync with Google contacts and calendar, Facebook, and Twitter, and unlike Evernote, save space isn't limited. I use Springpad for bookmarking and Pocket for saving things I'm not done reading/not quite done with yet before I decide to bookmark them.

Pocket has a visual grid sortof newsfeed of everything you add to it and when you open an item in Pocket it gives you the entire site content, minus all the extra visual stuff on most websites, with the option to change the background color of the text area, the font, or the text size. If nothing else, it makes things easier to read - and load time is great for mobile devices. You can also add tags to items or select favorites, archive items, sort by item type, tag, or list view, make bulk edits, and mark things as read. Both Pocket and Springpad have simple, fast bookmarklet extensions AND mobile apps.

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@Petra, many thanks for your brilliant analogy to squirrels and nuts. You've called out some great "information diet" disciplines:

* focus on specific topics of long-term interest in your life

* build "trusted source" lists, with a visual element, and spend most of your time there

* mine out the morsels of information you find most valuable (like this!)

Cheers!

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hello..

it is surprising that no one mentioned diigo.com

i shifted from delicious to diigo when delicious was sold by yahoo.

i am very happy with diigo as saves bookmark by tags. there is a way by which we can even store notes like evernote.. but it's notes interface is not that good in iOS and android..and hence the use of evernote.

best thing about diigo is, it _can_ sync with google. let me elaborate.

if you have diigo plug in installed on say chrome or firefox. and you have some bookmark with say "football" mentioned in link or title.

when you google search for football, diigo will also search for football in your bookmarks and will display it along with other search results..

it's insanely useful.

 

i wanted to use single service for storing information like evernote..but evernote bookmark management is not as good IMO.

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hello..

it is surprising that no one mentioned diigo.com

i shifted from delicious to diigo when delicious was sold by yahoo.

 

I shifted from Delicious to diigo when Yahoo abandoned the product.  It has served me well enough.  The quick post via the Read Later button is nice.  However, recently the app hasn't been performing well on the iPad.  It locks up, or just closes frequently.  Also, the new Meta interface isn't as quick for a straight text search.

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All great suggestions, enjoyed reading them all.    For those of you that do store your bookmarks in Evernote, have any of you scripted anything to see:

 

  1. Find all yourbookmarks
  2. Ensure that the URL is still valid
  3. List the ones that aren't for update and/or deletion?

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I am new to Evernote (well new to using it regularly) and I was wondering whether I could use it for my bookmarks. I have started many times with different browsers or bookmarking systems and then not kept them up to date, or they have become unusable. Anything that involves to much hard work, even if that is thinking about which folder I keep the bookmark in or what tags to use quickly become a chore that I can do without.

 

I now use the OneTab extension for Chrome. I realise its not meant to be a bookmark manager, but it works for me. I keep bookmarks together grouped by client project I am working on. When I need to switch back to a different project I can just "restore all" the bookmarks to do with that project and they load into Chrome. It allows me to switch between projects and also I don't need to keep dozens of tabs open all at once, which is what I used to do rather than bookmark them.

 

I would imagine OneTab would become unusable if you try and store hundreds of bookmarks. But I find most bookmarks I just need whilst working on a specific project. I can then delete the project in one click along with all the bookmarks when finished. This keeps things tidy.

 

For anything I use regularly I pin to Chrome. For everything else I use Google!

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