Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Some nice tools to manage information overload for you and your students.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let's face it, we are living in a time of "information overload".  There are a lot of ways you can manage archiving these resources for later. In the early days, it was the simple bookmark within a browser. If that simple bookmark serves your need, then use that feature, but there are many other ways that may be better for today's needs.  I will cover just a few of these to open your eyes to these services, and then concentrate on one called Instapaper.

Send articles to your Kindle.  Did you know that you can email things to your Kindle and have them appear just like a book.  I do not have a Kindle, but do use the Kindle apps on my iPad and Android devices.  I was excited about this prospect, until I found out that you must have a Kindle device (and not just the apps) to have an email address to send articles and attachments to.  So after spending some time and hoping to do this... I soon dropped this avenue for my uses.  If you do have a Kindle, and this works for you...start emailing articles to your Kindle...and check out this Chrome extension and web service:

This service is like bookmarking on steroids, so use it instead of bookmarks. You can bookmark web sites, highlight content on the page, add sticky notes on the page and more.  I use this service, and love it for what it is.  For saving clutter-free web reading articles, use the Instapaper or Evernote. But for bookmarking and tagging websites, this service is great.  Make sure you add the Diigo Chrome extension:

This is an amazing service that offers a lot more features than just web information archiving.  If you are not using Evernote, you need to look at this full featured service.  It does many things well, including web article archiving for reading or archiving for future use. There are many features offered with the free service, including a fair amount of upload each month.  This company is here to stay, and definitely worth a look. Even if you do not use Evernote for this feature, make sure you check out the Chrome extension called "Clearly"  This apps make it a pleasure to read an article from a web page.

Read articles later. Three similar services: 
Unlike Evernote, Instapaper does one thing, and that is to save website articles for easily reading at a later time. No more flashing adds, hard to read articles, or trying to find them again, just the simple article archived for later reading. They have some great tools and offer a free web site where you can view your articles you have "clipped", or you can purchase an app for your iPad/iPhone. But for me, the best feature is that it supports Flipboard. (So do Pocket and Readability, apps you will see in a moment.)  (Flipboard is one of the best apps ever for the iPad.) (They also support Google Reader, which is a popular news reader.) Get the Google Chrome extension or add the Read Later bookmarklet and start saving those pages to read later. Apps and services are here:

Pocket (Formerly Read It Later) Similar to Instapaper, but it's Free!  They have some great apps for this service:

Readability Another service Similar to Instapaper, and it's Free as well!  Their app list and services are impressive:  Their Chrome extension is amazing.  It allows you to save your article to your Kindle, or download it as an ebook (ePub format) as well.

Which of the three do I select???  Well, a while ago, Instapaper was the only choice, but right now I think Either Pocket or Readability may be the best choice.  They seem to have a large user base, are free and offer a ton of apps and service add-ins.  I recommend Readability because I use it and love all of it's great features.


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