Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Lesson From the Evolution of My Bookmarks

One of the questions that readers ask me on a fairly regular basis is, "how do you keep track of everything?" The answer to that has remained largely the same for the last decade. My process is that when I find something interesting I bookmark it, review it, and, if I like it, I write about it here on Free Technology for Teachers. Once I write about something I tend to remember it better than if I just looked at it and tested it for a little while. The one part of the process that has changed over the years is just where my bookmarks get saved.

Delicious (or
Delicious was the first online bookmarking tool that I used. It was the leader in the field of social bookmarking for quite a while. Unfortunately, it started to suffer from feature bloat which prompted me to move on to Google Notebook. In the years after I stopped using it Delicious was bought and sold a few times before ceasing to operate. Mashable has a good little history of the evolution of one of the original Web 2.0 darlings.

Google Notebook
Google Notebook offered a simple way to save bookmarks into my Google Account. I cannot remember all of the features of Google Notebook today, but I do recall at various times using the collaboration option and the option to take notes while saving each bookmark. Google stopped development of Google Notebook in 2009 and shuttered the service completely in 2011.

When Google announced that end of development of Google Notebook I moved my bookmarks over to Evernote. Evernote was smart in making it easy to import Google Notebooks into Evernote. At the time Evernote didn't place any limitations on the number of devices you could use with a free account. It was also at this time that I played with using Diigo for my personal bookmarks but kept going back to Evernote because their mobile apps were better than Diigo's. That said, I did use Diigo with student groups because the collaboration component was easier for students to use.

Google Keep
When Evernote started to restrict their free plan to use on only a couple of devices at a time, I moved my bookmarking activity to Google Keep. Google Keep didn't have as many options for organization of notes as Evernote did, but for my purposes Google Keep did everything that I needed it to.

In January of this year I decided that I needed to get to know Microsoft's products a bit better so I started using OneNote for bookmarking. I'm now doing almost all of my bookmarking in OneNote and occasionally using Google Keep to bookmark or record quick notes.

Everything Changes
The lesson to take away from the evolution of my bookmarks is that everything in tech changes. While each change seemed like a big hassle at the time, after a week or two I was over it. Those bookmarks that I had in Delicious more than a decade ago aren't worth anything to me today nor are those that I had in Evernote four years ago. So the next time that a favorite ed tech service changes or shuts down, go ahead and groan for a bit but remember that an alternative will probably present itself in short order.