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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shelfster - A New Tool for Organizing Research

Shelfster is a new research and writing tool that I learned about from Vicki Davis earlier this week before trying it out myself this afternoon. The purpose of Shelfster is to help you bookmark and annotate websites and documents that you find while researching a topic. You can organize your findings into Shelfster projects. Within each of your projects you can create documents by dragging and dropping links and texts into your documents from your list of saved links. Of course, you can also type in your documents and edit things that you dragged from your project library to your documents. Documents can be saved in your online account, downloaded, and printed.

Shelfster offers an iPad and iPhone app for bookmarking and annotating items to save in your projects. Shelfster also has browser bookmarklets and browser extensions for bookmarking and annotating materials in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera (sorry Safari fans, it seems Shelfster doesn't support that yet). You can also use Shelfster as a desktop app on Mac and Windows computers.

Applications for Education
Shelfster has the potential to be a good service to help students organize the useful content they find on the Internet. I'm not sure that I'd have students write an entire research paper within Shelfster yet, but it could definitely be a good place to construct an outline of a research paper. Shelfster says that integration with Google Docs is coming in the future. When that happens then I might have students use Shelfster for writing an entire research paper that could be easily shared for peer editing.

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