MindRetrieve Blog

MindRetrieve - an open source desktop search tool for your personal web

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Why don't we all have 10,000 bookmarks?

Is that because there is not so much worthy materials from the web? At least not for me. If there are tools to support it I am confident that I would a bookmark of 10,000 items within 10 years.

One obvious issue is that web browser's bookmark UI is not scalable. The primary UI is a pull down menu with items organized under hierarchical folders. Access become dramatically more difficult when a menu is longer than a screenful or when items are organized in a second level folder or below. I painstakingly organized my bookmark list to keep frequently used items accessible and avoid having some went out of the radar screen. It was never fully successful. It also mean I bookmark a lot less than I want to.

A search based access is an improvement. Organize by a flat keyword list (tags a la deli.cio.us) also improve upon the strict hierarchical taxonomy.

When you really have 10,000 bookmarks, another issue comes up. People don't seems to have the ability to pay attention to such a large amount of items. I purge bookmark regularly after I think I got a good grip on the information and that it cannot provide me extra value. This is usually a mistake. I seldom want to purge something completely from my consciousness. What I was trying to do is to keep the bookmark list tidy to prepare for new information. The tools force me to erase the memory completely.

An alternative is keep recent items handy while pushing old items into an archive. Gmail introduced such organization technique. It recommends you to use 'archive' instead of 'delete' so to get an item out of sight but still accessible via search in the long term archive. This process is very promising but unconventional. How much success does Google has?


  • At 8:04 AM, Blogger Wai Yip Tung said…

    Post on behalf of ( Jos Yule )
    on 2005-Apr-01 18:11

    This is an interesting question, how to scale our tools to allow us to access ever increasing amounts of "stuff". Zoe (http://guests.evectors.it/zoe/) is a search tool for email, similar to MindRetrieve. I use del.icio.us for my bookmarks now, because i find a rigid hierarchy unwieldy for my bookmarks. Wiki's also share this "flat namespace", which seems to work for lots of different kinds of data categorizations. A combo of search and "tagging" seems to be the most effective tools, so far, for dealing with large data sets like bookmarks and photos. Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) uses "tags" to categorize photos, with quite a bit of success.

  • At 8:04 AM, Blogger Wai Yip Tung said…

    2005-Apr-05 00:14

    Thanks for the heads up! I would definitely take a deeper look into Zoe. Not only is it relevant to this project but it also teaches me a lot about how to distribute a Mac application.


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