In a syndication world we are often overwhelmed with information. It is incredible that information once far away has been brought near, but we need to find some order for the chaos. There are a few ways that I’ve learned to manage my reading material to be digested in an organized manner.
Use Features in Your RSS Reader
A RSS reader is a great way to manage information in a way that brings information to you instead of having to go to it. The problem comes when you have many feeds to organize it. Fortunately, popular RSS readers have options for us to organize our feeds.
Google Reader (which I recently move to) has a “starring system” similar to the interface found in Gmail. By “starring” an article it is saved in a central location for your future review. This way, articles that would once get lost in the shuffle can now be easily retrieved. Bloglines has a “clip” feature which does the same thing as Google Reader with different verbiage.
Power Tip: The new beta version of Bloglines includes the ability to organize your saved items into folders, and I hope Google will add a similar feature. Be sure also to add labels to saved items in Google Reader for organization.
The Read It Later Extension
If you have Firefox a great way to manage articles you find it to use the Read It Later extension. In a very easy manner you can simply click the toolbar button, and it is added to a bookmark folder for easy retrieving. You can cycle through your saved articles, and when you’re done reading you can either remove it from your list or post it to your favorite bookmarking service.
Google Notebook is one of those applications that I had to sit on for a while before I really saw a use for it. With this application you can save snippets of text, code, or whatever you want to save for future reference. You can then order them by different notebooks and/or labels. Use their slick Firefox extension to use it effectively as a notebook and not have to visit the site.
Power Tip: When browsing with the extension, copy the text you want to save and “note it” through the content menu. It will take your note into a new entry for you automatically.
Social Bookmarking Tag
As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, you can use del.icio.us or any other social bookmarking utility to save articles/links for further review. Just create a tag/folder with a title such as “review” and set a time to actually go through those articles.
Managing My Personal List
It is all well and good to save everything, but you have to be diligent to go through what you have saved. I have dropped the social bookmarking tag mentioned above, but I use the other three. Here is how I use them to maximize their usefulness.
- Google Reader – I set aside a time to review the articles usually every 2 days. I then either bookmark them in del.icio.us for permanent reference or remove the star.
- Read It Later – This tool has become the bulk of what I save my articles in. This is reserved for either (a) articles someone has shared with me through e-mail, IM, etc.; but I also use this extension for articles that I want to write about. Because you can’t organize by folder I daily check the queue. Every Saturday I also spend time clearing out as much as possible.
- Google Notebook – I use this primarily for research, because I can order them by notebook and label if I choose. This is more for saving excerpts of texts instead of links. If it’s a link I’ll save it to the Read It Later extension.
How do you organize articles you want to read later?