I’m sure most of you have searched Google for a particular subject (e.g. Worship), found five million results, and given up trying to find a worthwhile post after five or six pages.
Or maybe you’ve tried to refine your search with multiple combinations of pluses, minuses, quotation marks, etc, and narrowed your search down to…one million results. Hmmm.
And then there’s that article you remember reading last year on the subject, but what website was it on? And who wrote it?
Don’t you wish you had your own personalized Google, one that was tailored just to your interests, that would spare you so much of this frustration?
Well, you can. It takes a bit of work and perseverance, but the results are worth it. Welcome to Diigo. Strange name, but excellent idea.
I started using this simple bookmarking system a couple of years ago and although it’s taken 5-10 minutes every day to keep it organized and updated, I’ve saved myself so much time and hassle in the long term.
Basically I use Diigo to bookmark, highlight, and tag every useful article I read on the Internet. You can get a little Diigo plug-in for most browsers; a Diigo icon sits on your navigation bar and when you read anything good on the Internet, you simply click to bookmark it, highlight any particularly helpful text in the article, and tag it with relevant words.
Now, when I want to search for articles on “Worship,” I go to my Diigo homepage and enter my search there. That brings up any articles I’ve tagged with “Worship,” gives a brief description of the article, and even shows me any text I highlighted when I originally read it. Soooo much quicker! And if you stick at it over time, eventually you’ve built up your own personalized Google, a search engine that is tailored to your own special interests. A few other neat features are:
1. You can follow other people. If you follow me (davidprts is my Diigo user name) you can have the posts I bookmark every day sent to you in a daily update, or simply look at my Diigo homepage to see what I’ve been up to. So, say you have to do a talk on “a Christian view of Technology” you can head on over to my Diigo search bank and find articles that I’ve bookmarked “Technology” over the last few years. You’ll have to figure out which ones I agree with and which I don’t!
2. You can start groups. I have Diigo groups for some of my PRTS classes and invite the students to join. That means that when I see a post that’s relevant to, say, my Ministry class, I bookmark it for that group and the students’ learning experience is enhanced by seeing the kind of posts I think will be helpful for that particular subject. Diigo helps me keep teaching outside class hours!
3. You can annotate pages. You can attach “post-it” notes to webpages and read notes that others have posted there too. Or you can get students interacting about an article or blog post using this feature.
4. You can make bookmarks private. Obviously there are some things I want to bookmark that I’m not that keen for everyone to know about. For example, if I’m bookmarking sites with cribs, push-chairs, and diapers, well someone might think… (for the avoidance of doubt and gossip, that was an attempt at a joke).
5. You can mark articles “Read later.” Instead of seeing a good article, deciding to come back to it later, and forgetting where you read it, you can save articles for reading later, something best done in batches.
My only complaint is that Diigo does not yet allow emailing of articles and posts. Evernote allows you to email from your iPhone or iPad with tags in the subject line and everything is filed away for you. With Diigo, if I’m reading my RSS feed on my iPad using Flipboard, I have to email good articles to Gmail, open them in my browser, then bookmark and tag. That’s a bit of a hassle (and I’m sure Diigo are working on this – please!), but it’s still worth it for the long-term benefit.