Create a Timeline

j.m. raymond By j.m. raymond, 8th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Usability

I spend a great deal of time on the web; part of it is my job as tech manager for an ISP, but a good portion is trying to stay up to date on a myriad of topics.

A Quandry

If your bookmarks, or favorites folders are anything like most people's, they are a mishmash collection of sites, interesting articles and places you visited once, intending to get back to frequently and somehow, never managed to.

At least that's how mine look. I use Firefox as my browser. The bookmarks allow for quite a bit of organization, and for tagging them, with keywords, very similar to a blog post or creating a page here on wikinut.

On occasion, I will sift through those bookmarks looking for a topic that piqued my interest enough to save the page in the first place and then go look for follow up information. The trouble has always been a lack of context for those articles and pages -- lacking on my end. By that, I mean, I have the bookmark, but no idea when, or sometimes even why I saved it in the first place.

As of yesterday, I now have a new system in place for organizing all those bits and pieces of my life that I discover on the web.

Organization

The first step in getting your web world into some semblance of order is to determine the categories of items you bookmark. These categories should become your folders.There are a number of options for this part, but the format I settled on was this:
1) Daily
This folder contains all the sites I visit on a daily basis; all of the writing sites I participate in, my blogs -- all 5 of them -- my banking sites and a couple of news sites to peruse with the first cup of coffee every morning.

2) Reading List
This is a list of sites or articles that I do not have the time to read when I discover them. By placing them here, I can quickly jump through a few of them when I have a few minutes of free time.

3) Timeline
This folder contains a folder with the name of the year, 2010 currently. In January, it will have an additional folder of 2011. The year folder is further sub-directoried into months. As I read a piece, I bookmark it in the folder of whatever month it is. I spend a few moments making sure that each new bookmark is at the top of the list for that month, giving me kind of a bottom up history of where I've been, what I've learned from or laughed at.

4) Monthly
For the most part, this folder contains all the bookmarks that I am loathe to click on. That's right, the site to pay the water bill, the cable bill, the phone bill and all the other monthly bills, hence the name.

5) Journeys
Quite often, I find myself researching a particular topic for an article, or following a news story and all of its tributaries, or a client project where I need access to several pieces of information readily available. The Journeys folder is divided into folders by topic name, or client name. All pertinent information, including a page of search results goes in the respective folders.

6) Keepers
This folder is cosmopolitan in its make up. It is a hybrid of the Timeline and the Journeys folder. Topics of interest to me are arranged alphabetically. Internal listings are arranged with the oldest entries at the bottom of the list, and newer bookmarks on the topic at the top. Not everything that makes the Timeline or Journeys folders ends up in the Keepers, but for those that do, I can find almost any page reference quickly and easily.

Optimization

There is little point to making a site a favorite, or bookmarking it, depending on what browser you are using, if you cannot retrieve it when you need it or want to share it. A list of favorites with no organization is difficult to navigate, at best, and at worst is an unusable waste of space on your hard drive.

After you have your folders set up -- you can use whatever "filing system" makes the most sense to you -- move your bookmarks into the proper folders, and take care to move any new selections into the proper folders. If a particular page will fit in two or more of the categories (folders) you have set up, don't be afraid to store it in both places. This will make it easier to retrieve the next time you're looking for it and don't remember quite how you stored it in the first place.

The Timeline folder, if you choose to use it, can be a great way to snapshot some of your journey on the web. If you keep it maintained for several years, it could serve as a type of online journal, a peek into a former you. Years from now, it could show how much you've changed, based on the topics read, or how passionate you have been about a particular topic. As an author, it could prove to be your own invaluable source of ideas and information.

Tags

Bookmarks, Browser Tips, History

Meet the author

author avatar j.m. raymond
Satire, humor and fiction are my primary interests, although occasionally, I make forays into the worlds of technology and small business management.
You can also find me on twitter: @rentedfingers , my website at micha...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Melissa Dawn
21st Sep 2010 (#)

Great article michael with great easy to follow tips. My dreaded favourites, hate to think of the shape they are in lol.

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author avatar j.m. raymond
24th Sep 2010 (#)

Thank you, Mel. This one kinda wandered on me a bit. May have to revisit it and bust it up into a couple of pieces, soon as I figure out what I want it to be when it grows up.

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