Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review


I-SIG reviews bookmark organizers
by Bob Gowan

If your web surfing involves only a few sites that you visit on a regular basis, then it is likely that you will soon learn the URLs and just type them in. The type-ahead feature of recent versions of the main web browsers makes this even easier - just type the first few letters and the rest is auto-completed for you. In this scenario, you probably will have few bookmarks, and you won't have any problem organizing them.

But what if you have several hundred bookmarks, including many with long and complicated URLs; most of which are used regularly, but not that frequently? Or what if you use several workstations, at home, at the office, at other worksites or cybercafes, or a laptop on the road? And what happens when you use, whether by necessity or choice, more than one browser? What if you and your colleagues or friends want to share bookmarks? In any of these situations, you will have a difficult time in keeping track of favorite websites with the bookmark (or favorites) lists maintained by your browser.

Fortunately there is an increasing number of solutions - some of which have been discussed at Internet SIG meetings over the past year or so. I will mention several of them in this article. Perhaps one or more of them may fulfill some of our readers' particular needs.

I've observed that quite a few people try to keep all their bookmarks in a single list - often unsorted - and as it gets to be too long, they simply delete a few of the less important ones. With my kind of luck, those are certain to be the ones I will be looking for the next time I use the computer. The first step needed here is the creation of some Folders, and then a little time to move the bookmarks into them. As more bookmarks accumulate in any give folder, additional sub-folders should be created, and the bookmarks sorted and moved into these. Sub-folders can be as many levels deep as you need to keep the lists at a length with which you are comfortable working.

When it comes to converting bookmarks to use in another browser, the newer versions of the two main browsers will import each others bookmarks, and there are some useful utilities to do the conversion and further organization.

One of the earliest bookmark conversion tools was PC Magazine's SyncURLs, which first appeared in January 6, 1998. This useful program was one of the first featured on the I-SIGs web pages (check out our Software Archives page for the link to download SynURLs). It allows you to synchronize Netscape bookmarks and Internet Explorer favourites, by importing both into a single "Bookmark Library", rearranging them within SynURLs and then exporting the common set of folders and bookmarks back out to your browsers. You can also move these Libraries to another computer so that you will always have access to all your bookmarks.

Bookmark Wizard, a freeware program by Moon Software (
http://www.moonsoftware.com) combines your bookmarks in a single HTML page with all your links grouped and sorted in ascending order. With it's simple wizard-like interface, you can specify the colours to be used for links and for the page background, title, caption etc. The page template can be modified by more advanced users to make a fully customized links page. I saved the bookmark page generated by Bookmark Wizard on my desktop, so I always have easy access to my bookmarks. Similarly, you can use it as the startup page, or the home page, for your browser, or as a "links" page on your web site. To share your bookmarks with others, or to move them to another computer, all you have to do is copy the HTML page.

For a few more features, then you may want to consider LinkSync, from Blue Squirrel Software (
http://www.bluesquirrel.com/products/ls/ linksync.html). This inexpensive accessory product does not just merge your Netscape bookmarks and Internet Explorer favourites; it also tracks any changes (additions, deletions, moves, cuts, copies, pastes or renaming) you make to links in one browser, and applies them to the other. Both browsers can be kept current at the same time. Using LinkSyn, you can alternate frequently between browsers without having to worry about where your recently saved bookmarks are located.

In a future article, I will discuss several services for sharing bookmarks on the Internet. Until then, readers may want to check out Blink, Backflip, Hotlinks and other similar sites.

I encourage readers to try out any or all of the solutions and services described and provide some feedback (on these or others) at the next I-SIG, which will immediately follow the main presentation at the March 2001 OPCUG meeting. Other topics posted on our Internet SIG message area, and those raised at the meeting, are likely, as usual, to make this another interesting meeting.

If you have not yet joined the I-SIG Listserve, you can do so by sending the message "subscribe Internet-SIG" (without quotes, in message body) to
listserve@opcug.ca. You can easily cancel your subscription by sending message "unsubscribe Internet-SIG" (without quotes, in message body) to listserve@opcug.ca. If you change your e-mail address change, first unsubscribe from the listserve using your old e-mail account, and then subscribe using your new e-mail address.


Bottom Line:

Bookmark Wizard
Freeware
from Moon Software
Web site:
http://www.moonsoftware.com

LinkSync
Proprietary Software: (price n/a)
from Blue Squirrel Software
Web site:
http://www.bluesquirrel.com/products/ls/ linksync.html


Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.