Sharing What I Find

Instructional Design and Technology in Education

procrastination or resource management?

I’ve become a big fan of “toread+“. I have it in my toolbar in my Firefox 3 browser.

When I’m researching a topic I usually start with a search in a search engine and begin to gather websites that contain interesting and relevant content. I open links as I find them in new tabs in my browser. At some point I get overwhelmed by the number of tabs or I find a sufficient amount of information that I’m looking for and then I start to sift through it. Most often I find myself spending way too much time on it and decide to move on to another task before completing my research. I don’t really want to muddle up my bookmarks with links to these open tabs since I probably won’t need them more than once or twice. I could move them to my delicious.com social bookmarking account but once, again, they aren’t necessarily topics that I want to keep and the links may not have relevance to others who are following my newly added delicious feeds. I may not have had time to determine if they are really good resources and want to be reminded to look back at them. I also don’t want to spend too much time finding these links again as I probably want to get back to the topic within a day or two.

This is where” toread+” comes in. Like I mentioned before, I have it showing as a link on my toolbar so while I’m on a web page that I want to be reminded of I can click the link and I can send myself an email that has the web address listed in it. I also have the capability to add a short comment about the link so I can customize the email’s subject line.

This also works well for me when I’m in a meeting/conference/class/presentation and someone mentions a web address that I want to get back to when I have more time to spend on it. I can send myself an email reminder and then determine how important it is to me to keep at a later time. I normally don’t keep one of these emails in my inbox more than a day or so. I find time to determine the webpage’s importance and then move on and delete it or give it permanent home in one of my other social tools.

For me, using email to manage things like this has been working well. I know that some people prefer not to fill up their inbox with a lot of messages so this tool might not appeal to them. I’m able to keep a pretty clean inbox and archive (or trash) most of my incoming mail, move tasks to a todo list (I use todoist), send bookmarks to delicious, or categorize my messages.

For more information look at: http://toread.cc/howtouse.php

There’s also a tool called Read it Later – I haven’t tried it yet but I’m thinking about installing it and seeing if it has more features that work with my work style. In fact, I found several references to it yesterday and used my toread+ tool to send myself a couple of links as email reminders!

Author: Heidi Olson

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.

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