Tuesday, February 28, 2006

How Bookmarks should work

Bookmarks/Favorites lists have a habit of getting out of hand. The systems built into IE are next to useless when you have 1000+ favorites which is actually a small number when you think about it.

The new Google toolbar allows bookmarks to be easily shared between machines and kept in sync, it also supports labels rather than just folders. This is a big step forward but the interface for adding labels is clunky, it takes too many clicks to do it right and there is no way to customize the interface.

What I would like from a bookmark scheme is for clicking 'add' to bring up a simple, one click menu that allows any of my active labels to be applied. IE forces me to thread through nested layers of its folder tree. The Google interface suffers baddly from mouse/keyboard transitionitis. Even on a laptop with a trackpoint built in it is tedious to have to switch from one to the other.

None of the systems have a good interface for bulk editing. Being able to add a bookmark to faorites with a single click is useful but that only puts of the task of cataloging. There should be an interface that allows all the previously unfiled links to be cataloged in one go. Even on broadband having to wait for the server to respond to each and every change individually is tedious.

A deeper problem is that there is only one mechanism for 'favorites' and 'bookmarks'. These should really be two separate things. I want to be able to file away sites that I use regularly separately from pages that I have found and might want to revisit or use in citations later.

What I would like is a comprehensive citations system that allows me to add a paper to a citations db. It could then be catalogued acording to author, title, keywords, &ct. Citations could then be extracted as HTML or richtext markup as needed. The extraction process could be automated by tools, there could even be provision for exchanging citations collaboratively or doing group annotations Wikistyle.

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