Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: How do you save the tidbits of good information you find online?
11 points by nhayden on Feb 28, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments
Do you bookmark them, copy and paste the URL into Evernote and the relevant text? I find myself just emailing URLs and notes to myself and feel like there's got to be an easier way.

I use five things:

For reading a single thing later, I use Instapaper: http://www.instapaper.com/

For bookmarking links (and sometimes making notes) I use Pinboard: https://pinboard.in/u:wpietri

For following RSS feeds, I use NewsBlur: http://newsblur.com/

If it's relevant to an upcoming task, I'll paste it into a note on my task tracker: http://kanbanflow.com/

And then when I'm working on a specific thing, I sometimes keep a journal in Evernote and paste in notes and links.

Other than that, I've stopped tracking things. My natural inclination is to hoard information. I've mostly stopped doing that, trusting that if I really need to know something I'll be able to find it again.

I have three broad workflows, depending on the type of material.

(1) Insights and Ideas. The reason these are valuable to me is the thoughts they provoke in my head. I try to make most insights I come across "mine" by writing them and the ideas they prompt in a memo to myself or even simply on an index card. Of course, I always record the source, even if I don't record an exact quote, to avoid plagiarism if I use these notes in something published. I also have a computer file of quotes on various subjects. These are usually either humorous or wise rather than topical.

This process is much more time consuming than slurping them into an electronic storage system, but for me, the cost associated with this technique is a feature. The "friction" involved in pondering and writing about ideas forces me to be discriminating and not waste my time thinking about or storing ideas that aren't valuable to me. Perhaps other people don't need this discipline, but it has made me more productive than when I have used tools optimized for rapid storage.

(2) Code. Functions or programs that demonstrate techniques or features go into a well-named file in a directory reserved for each language or product I work with.

(3) Facts and formulas. I don't record many of these, preferring instead to have (or have access to) good references material, but when I do, I either print the source, or write them myself on an index card and store them in a paper file per subject.

For anywhere with its own url, I right-click and "Copy for Netsso", then paste into my Netsso. Any browser. This includes webpages, (with highlighted text also), images, links, any files, individual documents, etc Later Netsso brings me there securely from any computer, or Android, with a simple click on the link. It also saves my credentials, where required. That is, it remembers my passwords into any web network. And logs them in for me. I can also click/make a Note in Netsso, for example to remind myself why the link is worth remembering. Or to send to someone. I have thousands of links in Netsso, and I easily divide them into different "desktops", where they can be dragged around and positioned into sub-categories, and decorate them with icons, different backgrounds, etc, for ease of quick retrieval. I can click to download them all to any computer, for backup. I can also import other bookmarks, in seconds. They are always stored encrypted by my exclusive master password I can also share, securely, with any other Netsso member, via right-click menu Sharing is faster than email. Also I can search, many times faster than searching the same term in Google, and much more reliable because I made the link myself.(Most Google searching is for places that the searcher has been to before ..)

Mac: 1. for stuff I want to read later, or good/longer articles I want to read again later, I use Instapaper. 2. for general stuff I might want to read or find later, or for non-text stuff, I use Pocket. 3. For smaller snippets of useful stuff I'm likely to need repeatedly (code, solutions to common problems, etc), I use NVAlt with multimarkdown tagging and whatnot. 4. For stuff that I really want to keep and loop up or reference later, I use DEVONThink. I looked into other 'heavier' systems, but I settled on DT because it stores everything in a non-proprietary system, and because it's 'related items' and auto-classification AI is quite handy.

iPad: 1. For one-line stuff (url's, names, whatever) I use Wunderlist so I can process it later on my mac. 2. for interesting articles, I currently copy the URL and open Instapaper, which then offers to add the url on the clipboard. 3. For snippets of text, paragraphs, whatnot, I use PasteBot. Usually copy/pasting this text will give me the link at a later time. I then process everything in there once a month or so.

I use evernote (wish there was a better alternative) for notes I create but I use http://diigo.com extensively for online content that I consume.

Why I like diigo -

1. Available everywhere - they have good, working extensions for popular browsers, native apps for mobile

2. You can highlight and annotate parts of web pages and if you visit that page again while logged in to diigo through the extension, it will show you your highlights/annotations

3. Tagging & bookmarking (I switched from delicious while it was in future:uncertain state)

4. You can create groups and add links to groups (e.g. I use this feature to share links and my comments with my wife on topic we are concentrating on/discussing)

5. Share feature. Very easy to share a link and a quick note to anyone with email address

6. It has other _social_ features (share on twitter/facebook, etc.) but I don't use those

I am not affiliated with diigo in any way. Just a happy user.

Here's what I'm currently trying out:

Pinboard for links, including articles I might want to read later. I have archiving on so that I don't lose any useful references. (This is by far my biggest store, and I'm still working out my tagging taxonomy.)

Evernote for notes relating to projects in progress, including any notes I'm taking while learning a new technology. (Project-related to-read links usually go here, not Pinboard.)

nvALT (Notational Velocity fork) through the Simplenote API for more permanent notes: lists of things, useful command line tricks, music to check out, etc. (Google Docs used to be my place for this, but nvALT is WAY easier to use.)

Wunderlist for specific to-dos related to my current projects.

I use Pocket (https://getpocket.com/). Super low impedance to save things, and I can do it no matter where I am consuming content -- iOS, android, browser extensions, bookmarklet, etc.

Pocket is amazing. I organize all my content with tags, so you are essentially building yourself a sweet library with (un)read articles on variety of topics, so when confronted with a problem, you might know exactly where to look.

If a page is particularly useful, I usually save the html of it, using Firefox's save as web page (complete), or similar. Then I have my own folder hierarchy on disk where I keep them organized. This way I can access the information even if I am offline, or the site has a problem, or they change their site organization so the link goes bad, etc.

This approach only works for web documents, not for web apps. I don't really use web apps much, but if you do, you could consider using bookmarks or something.

My issue is this makes it somewhat of a pain to retrieve just the specific text, such as an individual comment on HN, that I liked. It also means I would have to put this all on a service like Dropbox so I can access it anywhere, and I don't really want to link my Dropbox to my work computer.

Bookmark it in firefox using various folder/categories. But after using "Hacker News" there is so many good websites daily/hourly that I'm starting to look for alternative too ^_^ Maybe use twitter :-) I'm actually thinking on creating links section on my blog and just add all the best websites that I find relative or interesting.


For the longest time, I had issues finding a good workflow with Evernote. I purchased and read Bradley Chambers' e-book on Evernote and have been using Evernote comfortably for several months now.


Usually I just bookmark. If I really like something I just paste that into OneNote. When pasting from a website it automatically adds the address to it. Though it does require a bit of discipline and effort to keep everything organized which is not ideal.

Evernote Web Clipper (Chrome Extension) and Evernote account.

I can clip individual images, the whole page, a selection of text, or just a screenshot.

Springpad. It saves stuff automatically in categories. Like a book link on Amazon is saved as a book, not a Web page

So far the suggestions here are better than my "Sublime Text document"

notepad text document here, that opens whenever I login

Pearl trees is a rather nice extension if you use chrome.

Their website is super super vague about what it actually lets you do, I sent them an email saying as much. I'll check it out later though. Thanks!

Most browsers will have an extension for saving tabs.

sometimes I save them to instapaper, via their javascript bookmarklet. This is not ideal however.

What would you like to be different about it?

Personally, it looks like saves entire web pages which isn't exactly what I'm looking for (though you seem to recognize that).

Its hard to search and categorize pages I've saved. Everynote might be closer to what you are looking for but I am unfamiliar with it

Put it in a mindmap - I use FreeMind

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact