With billions of web pages around, keeping track of information that you discover on the web is extremely tough. Some of us rely on bookmarks but they are unmanageable and become useless over time when the underlying pages disappear because the website structure may have changed.
If your bookmark folder is also getting obese, switch to any of these web clipping tools – they help you capture and save anything from the Internet including text notes, images, complete web pages, documents, PDFs, etc.
So even if the source website is gone, you will never feel lost again.
Microsoft Onfolio – Onfolio is an outstanding note taking application that lets you collect information from web pages as well as all other Windows programs (like Excel, Outlook, Notepad, etc) so you have a central repository of all content captured from websites, emails, screenshots and documents.
You can also assign colored flags to captured content. The tool is integrated with Windows Live Writer and all popular blog services so you can quickly publish scrapped content onto your blog with proper attribution to the original source.
A limiting point is that Onfolio stores all the content to your local hard drive and so you may not have access to your web research on another computer. You can however export web clipping as compressed web pages (MHT) and share them via email attachments.
Onfolio can either run as a standalone desktop application or as a sidebar in Internet Explorer provided you have installed Windows Live Toolbar. Other commercial alternatives to Onfolio include Microsoft OneNote and EverNote.
Clipmarks – Working like a pair of scissors, Clipmarks is a very innovative web based software for clipping snippets from web pages, images and even YouTube videos – you place the mouse cursor over a portion you want to save, Clipmarks will then intelligently draw a logical boundary surrounding that snippet and a click will put a copy of that portion to your online Clipmarks account.
This is a perfect solution for grabbing specific portions of any web page that matter the most to you – it could be a video on YouTube, contact address of a friend, a quote on Wikipedia or anything else. And Clipmark will always include a link to the original source so you always know the origin of your clippings. For IE, Firefox and Flock.
ToRead and InstaPaper – You discover an interesting web page but do not have the time to read it. So you either save the URL of that page to your Browser bookmarks or store it in del.icio.us with the tags "follow" or "toread".
Now this methods involves some effort so you want to try toread or instapaper for keeping up with unread web pages – both services are dead simple but extremely useful. You neither have to type anything nor open any new windows.
With toread, a click will send a full copy of the current web page to your email address. In case of Instapaper, the address of the current web page is captured to your online instapaper account so you have a instant list of unread pages.
Google Notebook – If you want quick access to all your web research while on the move, Google Notebook is the only decent choice. This online web clipping tool from Google is available for IE, Firefox and they also have a version for mobile phones so you can take notes from your iPhone or BlackBerry.
One of the most useful features in Google Notebook is the integration with Google Web search. You can save any search result to online Google Notebook by clicking the Note This link that appears next to every search result on Google.com.
The sharing features in Google Notebook are also impressive. You can publish certain notebooks as public so anyone (including search engine bots) can read your web clips like a regular web page. Alternatively, you can invite friends or family members to work together on a particular notebook. Nice option if you want to do some collaborative research for a group project or an upcoming vacation.
Google Notebook are currently not supported on Apple Safari or Opera.
With any of these tools on your system, there’s little probability that you will ever loose touch with important stuff you ever discovered on the Internet.