As a part of different projects I am working on, I am required to be online more than eight hours a day. As much as I love being connected to the Web, the amount of information I come across everyday is simply overwhelming. The tough part comes when I have to organize and save this information for later use. As anyone can guess, the bookmarks folder in my Firefox browser is very cluttered. Sometimes I need a link or some content only temporarily but because of forgetfulness (or laziness), those links remain bookmarked forever, which only leads to chaos. Similarly, sometimes I need to bookmark just a paragraph from a page. However, I still end up bookmarking the whole page. All of these things simply take my brain into overdrive. That was until I discovered Diigo, that is. Diigo has been a godsend for me. I can’t possibly imagine organizing the vast amount of content I accumulate everyday if it wasn’t for Diigo.
Diigo is essentially a site following the lead of Del.icio.us. Primarily, it let’s you bookmark a page or a part of it and save it online. However, there are certain other features too that set it apart from the others. Let’s take a step by step walk through it, shall we?
1. The Installation
To maximize the potential powers of Diigo, I’d strongly suggest you install the Diigo toolbar. To install the toolbar, you need to signup for a free Diigo account (www.diigo.com) and go to the My Tools section. You can then install the toolbar. This toolbar quickly lets you bookmark, annotate and highlight a particular page or any part of it. It also has a little “My Bookmarks” button that lets you access all of your bookmarks with just one click.
As you can see, the toolbar has a fairly simple interface. Clicking on the Diigo button on the far left will pop up a box that will let you carry out the desired function with remarkable ease. Alternatively, this can be done by right clicking anywhere on the page and selecting the Diigo option.
Another extremely useful feature of the Diigo toolbar is the Web button. The Web button groups together different Web sites according to similar contexts. For instance, it lets you search the Web using different search engines, along with providing standard search enhancements, like being able to search within the current site, as well as, on popular blogging sites like Feedster, Technorati, etc. Similarly, it also lets you search for movies, music, news or other local information using various sites grouped together for convenience. Since I have installed this toolbar, I have found no reason to keep on using the Google toolbar.
Clicking on the Customize button allows you to overhaul the Web button interface to the max. You can add new sites, remove existing ones or place them in the order that you like. This is extremely useful if you know your requirements and manage your choices well.
The options available for the toolbar are fairly self explanatory. One option in particular that delighted me was the simultaneous bookmark.
As you can see, Diigo not only bookmarks a page on its own site, but also on several other popular ones selected by you. For me personally, it’s awesome to be able to bookmark links simultaneously to my Del.icio.us account as well. Likewise, for saving the bookmark to the local bookmarks folder.
If you are one who doesn’t like installing toolbars or if you are working on a PC where you can’t install a toolbar, don’t worry! You can use the Diigolet, which provides you the highlight, bookmark and annotate functionalities without installing the toolbar. It’s meant to work as a shredded down version of the Diigo toolbar and it still lets you accomplish the basic functions.
This is the core functionality of Diigo and is thankfully smooth and easy to use. Let’s say you are already on the page in which you want to bookmark. All you have to do is right click and select the desired function from the Diigo submenu. You can either Bookmark it, forward it to someone or even place it on your blog.
Once you click on the bookmark or forward option, the above window should pop up. For effective organization, filling up the Tag and the Comments field is advised. Enter the tag you want to use to refer to the content and any extra comments you want. Next, select the privacy of the bookmark, whether you want to share it with the world or if it’s just for your eyes. Once you’re done, click Submit and Close. That’s all there is to it. If you want to mail it, select the Forward tab, add your comments, enter the e-mail address of the recipient and then click on Submit and Close. It’s really all a matter of a couple of clicks!
The third option in the Diigo submenu is “Blog This.” As the name suggests, this is an easy, one click way to publish the content from the Web page you are on to your personal blog. This function will redirect you to a page on the Diigo Web site. If you haven’t set up a blog under your Diigo account, it will prompt you to do so. Setting it up is a piece of cake. If you have a blog on some other Web site, you just need to enter your blog URL, blog provider and the associated username and password you use for it. Once you do that, you’re good to go.
By using the options, you can also add the QuickD button on the toolbar. QuickD lets you bookmark a page without filling up any pop up boxes. It automatically fills in all the information based on the actual content of the pages. This is strictly for the ultra busy Web surfers.
3. Part Selection
This extremely handy function comes into play when you want to select and bookmark only a part of a particular Web page. For example, you want to save the third paragraph from a five page article about the history of Scandinavia. To do so, make your selection by using the mouse. If you have checked the “Show drop down menu when some content is selected on a Web page” checkbox in the Diigo options, the Diigo menu should automatically pop down. The way the three options (Bookmark, Forward and Blog This) work is the same as discussed above. The only difference being that they apply only to the selected part of the Web page. When you bookmark or forward the selected portion, it will automatically be highlighted as well. When you roll the mouse over the highlighted part, you will be given an option to “Add sticky notes.” You can use this to add notes to yourself or to others.
Now, every time you visit this page and roll your mouse over this selected text, your sticky note should pop up with the extra information that you had entered. Useful, isn’t it?! The Diigo drop down menu also gives you an option to copy the selected text to the clipboard. If you make multiple text selections on a Web page, Diigo will efficiently organize them according to their original position in the source document. This is, of course, useful as everything is in sequence when you are viewing it later.
Like most other bookmark sites, Diigo lets you share your bookmarks with others. Similarly, you can go to the community Web page on the Diigo site to see what everyone else is bookmarking. You can add friends and share bookmarks among each other too. This can be very useful when you are working with someone on a project. There are plenty of innovative uses you can find with this free service. I use it to mail myself not only the content I need to read later, but also jobs and “to do” items from different Web pages. When I see an article that I think might interest a friend or a colleague, it takes barely a click to forward it to them. So, after reading through this long primer, are you ready to give it a spin? If yes, then click on the link below to get started!
You can check out Diigo for yourself here.
~ Yogesh Bakshi