Spring is in the Air, so let’s get our digital life organised!
The temperature, at least, here in Verona, is getting milder by the minute and a few flowers are peeping out courageously into the world to see what awaits them. Thoughts turn to Easter and chocolate but also to spring cleaning and de-cluttering so it seemed to be a good moment to talk about organising our digital lives.
Digital Spring Cleaning
We all have different preferences when it comes to bookmarking our favourite sites and mine, I have to admit, range from the extremely ordered sites I use for teaching, to the haphazard, totally disorganised bookmarking in the favourite tab of my browser. So, who am I, you may be asking, to write about bookmarking? Well, yes, I get the point, but, in any case, here are a four useful sites that can be used for this purpose. I personally use Symbaloo, and have done for years, as the home page of my browsers but I also use Evernote to save Internet links, make notes and a whole range of other things. Somewhere in the middle come Protopages and Papaly, which I’m experimenting with, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you and then we can all get organised together. 🙂
Everyone approaches their digital categorization in different ways. There are those who organise bookmarks directly in the tabs on their browsers, which is one way, but there are also other options which give you the option of creating your own personal digital dashboard. These sites provide for bookmarking, quick access to the sites you use the most and easy sharing with others as well. Here are four useful ones:
Let’s start with bookmarking, or making pages of sites that you use frequently and need easy access to. For the visually inclined Symbaloo is a fantastic site for bookmarking your favourite online destinations and it can also be made into the homepage of your browser. The format is familiar because the tiles (see the image above) look like the app tiles that are instantly recognisable on smartphones. Each webmix, or page, can be a different topic or area of your life with ‘tiles’ that you use to bookmark the sites you are interested in. Your webmixes can be private or you can share them with others, if you want to make a webmix for a particular subject, for instance. You can also explore other public webmixes on any topic you are interested in, such as academic writing or Halloween, for instance, depending on your interests.
Papaly, defined as a social bookmarking tool, creates lists, which are called boards. They can also be private or shared in a similar way to Symbaloo and you can also import your bookmarks from all the most popular browsers. You can also access your social media accounts from tabs at the top of the page. So, if you prefer lists to pages, perhaps this is a good choice for you.
Protopage is another site that creates a visually appealing board where you can pin the sites you want to bookmark. These boards were designed with the initial idea of accessing new sites, when you first create a protopage you will be directed to a board with different tabs on it. The first tab is the ‘Home’ tab with default links to new sites but you can personalise by creating new tabs, each of which can be used for bookmarking or even for adding sticky notes. Your protopage can be private, public or can be shared by means of a password.
If you want a site to use, which is also an app on your smartphone, and where you can bookmark but also make notes, share them with friends and colleagues and add media, Evernote may be the answer for you. It is a freemium site and the free version is comprehensive of a range of options, such as organizing your links into notebooks, and tagging notes, which makes for easy searching later on. Popular in professional contexts for making notes at meetings and sharing them as well as creating a series of notes which can be made into a slideshow and projected, Evernote is an extremely rich resource.