Hi everybody! It's been a while -- I am over on my Twitter and Facebook and Google+ accounts instead. I crosspost to all three. If you plan to add me on the latter two, let me know who you are so I will accept the request. I have a long post to write for once, so even though I've been missing from LJ, this seems to be a good public place for it.
I already do the basics:
- Use Firefox Sync to keep my various computers, iPad, and iPhone all aligned with the same bookmarks.
- Organize the bookmarks into folders.
But after years of collecting things, it was still unmanageable. Whenever I was looking for a particular page for reference, I had to open a bunch of links experimentally to confirm which one I wanted -- and frequently those old pages would be dead, the information lost.
So I decided to take a new approach for bookmark management, starting over with a much cleaner slate as well as a new philosophy about reference materials.
Step 1: Save Reference Material
First I went through and saved all the reference material as web clips to Evernote. That also saves the URL automatically so if I want to check the original site for updates later, I can. I filed those away under my usual Evernote tags.
Step 2: Archive Ancient Link Lists
My old bookmarks were mostly already in topic folders. I copied each folder (from inside the control-shift-D Bookmarks organizer so it copied them properly as lists of linked page names) into a new topic-specific note in Evernote. That way if I ever want it again later, I can get to it.
Step 3: Protect the Links to Keep in Firefox
To complete the winnowing process, I identified all the most critical links -- as in, things I actually access frequently enough that I need them handy within the browser itself -- and moved them into a folder labeled "Keep" so they aren't purged in the next step. For example, I kept the quick links to our shopping list, Gmail, OPM operating status, other stuff I check daily like the live update folders from RSS, etc.
I arranged the keepers into topic folders as before, along with a "Later" folder which is where I temporarily store bookmarks for later viewing, processing into Evernote, or other actions. (I know there are other ways to handle "read this later" material, such as Instapaper, but this approach has been good enough for me.)
Step 4: Delete the Old Crap
Once I had archived all my old bookmarks and evacuated all the ones I planned to keep in Firefox, I deleted all the old folders except of course the one with my "Keep" bookmarks.
Step 5: Use Helpful Add-Ons for Firefox
Then I installed the MyBookmarks add-on which makes a formatted "home page" view of all your bookmarks. It doesn't look so great to start with, but if you go into your Add-Ons list in Firefox, there are customization options for it and you can even change the stylesheet.
Once that was done, I set "about:mybookmarks" as my Firefox homepage and used another add-in, My Homepage. It ensures that every time I open a new tab, the full-page view of MyBookmarks appears. (Why is this not a preferences setting in Firefox?)
The End Result
The implementation steps above can be tedious, but the end result is worth it. The homepage updates automatically and gives me that preview of my favorite links to pick from. As for maintenance, if I continue the same approach of stopping to think "Wait, this is really reference material. I'll send this to Evernote instead of just bookmarking it" then it should stay clean, too.
So what do you think? Suggestions? Experiences to share?