The internet is big. And it has lots of cool stuff. Too much at times.
For the longest time, when I found a site I found interesting, that I might use again, that I wanted to read on a regular basis, I bookmarked it. Plain and simple. Functionality that has been around since NCSA Mosaic (yes, I used that on the old AIX birds systems at W&M). Bookmarks scale moderately, but not past a certain point. I certainly crossed that line when I had over 1000 of them.
The first change I made several years ago centered around sites that I wanted to read regularly. With the advent of RSS feeds and the centralized service provided by Newsgator, I moved all of the blog and news sites I read out of my browser and into my RSS readers (NetNewsWire for Mac and iPhone and FeedDemon for Windows). This system works wonderfully. I get notified when I have new articles to read, they are shared across all my computing devices, and the software is well written and intuitive.
But it wasn’t enough.
I still had over a 1000 bookmarks. In looking at them, I saw that they fell into two categories:
- Websites I need to access on a regular basis (i.e. banks, reference sites, etc)
- Websites I don’t want to forget or ones I think may be useful “later”
The first group of sites are perfect for bookmarks. Their number scales linearly with my life and seems to be relatively bound. There are only so many websites I will visit on a regular basis, just as there are a limited number of stores I will visit regularly in real life.
The second group is more of an extended history function. Like that restaurant that I went to 6 years ago in New Orleans that I want to remember if anyone says they are visiting the city or I go there again at some point. Hardly a regular piece of information, but I don’t want to forget. Of the 1000 plus websites I had bookmarked, probably 95% of them fell into this category. They completely obliterated the 5% I needed to use regularly no matter how well I organized the structure.
I needed a new solution.
I have settled on using Delicious to keep track of those “might be useful later” websites. It will allow me to be a digital packrat when it comes to websites, but keep the clutter out of my day to day operations. I hope the tagging and searching features will allow me to retrieve that stored knowledge in the future; only time will tell. I have imported all of those 1000 bookmarks into the site and will in the next day or two purge them from my browser. I can’t wait.
If you are curious, nosy, or just bored, you can browse through all of them on my Delicious page here. Enjoy.