Diigo (a “personal knowledge management tool”) is a browser extension1They also offer mobile apps, but I rarely use. that allows one to collect all sorts of information from across the web in a central repository where it can be easily accessed, shared, annotated, searched, and remembered.
I don’t know that I aspire to be a polymath, it is more like I hunger to be one. I consume information in copious amounts and synthesize it together to help me understand the world (and share what I learn). But this presents a great challenge – how can I consume massive amounts of information while not losing what I have learned previously?
The answer is augmentation (along with an acceptance of my finite nature). In the past this might have included a physical filing cabinet, for me it consists of Diigo and a few other primarily digital means.
When one saves a site or article to Diigo, Diigo creates a record associated with that specific page. I then add one or more tags to categorize (create a taxonomy) this record among all my other records.
In addition, if the page includes content I consider to be of important, I highlight it and Diigo saves my highlights as well. It also allows me to add notes to the page. Recently I was reading an article about Thomas Oden and something he said connected with something William Barclay had said, so I added a note about the association.
Sometimes the pages can be summarized in a paragraph or two – in which case I attach a description to the page. I also use the description as a place to remind myself why I cared about this page.
Right now I have 25,361 items in my Diigo. An item is a record which is associated with a specific piece of content (usually a web page). Under many of these items are highlights and notes which help me remember the importance of the content.
I personally pay for their Professional level. It is around $60/yr. ($5/mo.), but I consider it well worth it.
There are some features/enhancements I’d like to see Diigo add in the near future, I’ve outlined my ideas below:
- Archive.org Integration – Right now Diigo can save a copy of a page if requested, which is great, but I’m wondering if it would make sense for Diigo to integrate with The Wayback Machine and cache every saved page.
- Implement Hierarchical Taxonomies – Right now tags are a flat taxonomy, that is, no tag is a parent or child to another tag.
- Separate DB of Trash Links – Right now I tag worthless pages as f-value, so if I come across them again in the future I don’t waste time rereading the material. It would be nice if Diigo maintain a per-user database of trash links and had a small visual reminder when we visited a useless site (e.g., a small trash can on the Diigo button).
- Acquire / Integrate Zlink’s Better Search Chrome Extension – This nifty little extension lacks transparency about how it handles data, where it is stored, and hasn’t been updated since late 2015, but it offers a number of highly useful features. My favorites are:
- The ability to vote up or down search results, also to delete search results (thus when one searches for the same term again, one sees customized search results).
- Customization of search pages with navigation to other sites – e.g., makes it very easy to repeat the same search using another search engine with one click.
- Expand API – The API currently supports only two methods – retrieve bookmarks and add bookmarks. It needs (at a minimum) the additional abilities of editing and deleting bookmarks.
- I’d also like to have a way to exclude certain tags / sites from the retrieved bookmarks.
- Ability to Save Chrome Extension Pages – For whatever reason, Diigo doesn’t seem capable of saving extension pages from Google Chrome’s store of extensions.