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Five useful Bookmarking tools

In the days of old, many people saved links to sites they liked to the Browser Bookmark. Only problem with that approach is that it was hard to search if you had lots of them and you had to remember the name of the site in order to find them, making it a pretty hit and miss experience.

As a scientist, I clip or save lots of interesting stuff on social media and websites every day, making an application a more logical solution, especially if you can tag them for easy searching.

So here’s a few ideas I’ve tried and tested over the years. It’s best to try them out because perceptions of the interface and user experience can vary from person to person.

1) Delicious

DeliciousI’ve had a Delicious account since the days the URL was the quirkily spelt It was a huge improvement from using browser bookmarks, because it allowed users to tag and share bookmarks easily. The interface was clean and functional. Then the owners sold out to Yahoo, who promptly ignored it for ages before deciding to kill it. At that point, many of us lost faith in the service. My Delicious bookmarks were imported into Evernote and Diigo.

Eventually, Delicious was resurrected and sold, but by then many avid fans had moved on. The revamp is confusing with Stacks, which never really worked for me. Many still swear by it, but for me, it’s an abandoned home of long lost links.

2) Diigo

DiigoDiigo was the first place I tried after switching from Delicious. Both work well with browser add-ons for clipping sites to the application. You can search and tag bookmarks, you can annotate webpages you’ve saved.

The import of Delicious links worked ok, but frankly the UI never really caught on for me, especially the awful iOS app, which is clunky to use. A lot of people love it though.

3) Evernote

evernoteEvernote is like the overstuffed junk box in the attic or the kids playroom – it can end up a mess of untidy links that require effort to organise and tidy. Sound familiar? It is platform agnostic though, and works on Mac, Windows, Android and iOS. Despite that, it can be clunky and has a more awkward Windows than slick Apple feel to it. There are free and premium models and it’s easy to clip and save stuff.

They have a lot of extras in the form of their Trunk service, although many have mixed feelings about the dumbing down of previously excellent tools such as Skitch, once they were integrated into Evernote.

You can also email PDFs, files, even photos you take to Evernote. If you’re a pack rat, this is a great tool.

The real challenge with Evernote comes in having to constantly spring clean and tidy all those links you clipped. I do this weekly or bi-weekly and clear out my Inbox folder, but it does get tedious after a while.

4) Pocket 

pocketPocket is a nifty little application (free) that I tried after getting frustrated with Instapaper. You clip items you want to read later and then browse them in Pocket. It has a lovely interface and renders photos and graphics well in an easy to read fashion. It’s not so easy to find things months later though if you save a lot of websites.

What I really craved, though, was the simplicity of the original Delicious with easier clipping from Twitter and my iPad. One day after getting totally frustrated with Diigo a few years ago, I stumbled on the perfect tool for my needs…

5) Pinboard

pinboardIn Pinboard I found my ideal bookmarking tool, which combines a simple elegant interface with the power of search and tags. It’s a paid service though – currently around $10 (it was $6 or $7 when I signed up a few years ago), which is a one-off fee, making it much cheaper than Evernote premium.

If I’m in Tweetbot and see a tweet with a link I like and want to save for later reference, I can click the share button and send it automagically to Pinboard like this:



In Pinboard, the links you’ve saved appear on the left hand side and the tags associated with your account on the right.  Clicking a tag brings up all the bookmarks associated with that tag.  Or use can use the Search widget at the top of the page.  Pretty easy and nifty to use and very fast!




One of the other things I really like about this tool is the number of iOS apps Pinboard works with as well as third party iOS apps for the iPad such as Pocket, Drafts and Tweetbot.  There are third party apps such as Pinner for the iPad which sync with the web app and are easy to navigate.



Of these bookmarking apps and services, my go-to tools are Pinboard for links and and Evernote as a repository for files. They keep me organised, have iOS apps for use on the go. They are both easy to use, incorporate tagging and have excellent search functionality for finding things and enhance my productivity daily.

What bookmarking services do you like?

Sally Church

Sally Church PhD is a scientist interested in improving cancer outcomes through research and more targeted, less toxic drugs.

She runs a small boutique consulting firm based in Miami, FL that provides strategic advice to Pharma and Biotech companies in strategic analyses, thought leader market research and business intelligence.

You can find out more about her insights into cancer R&D on her blog at