Highlight the Web

Dont use these on your screen.

Don't use these on the internet.

I’ve recently started using Diigo to manage my bookmarks online.  It’s a lot like Delicious, which I’ve blogged about before, but has more features.  Both sites are cloud-based applications that allow you to manage your bookmarks online instead of in the browser of one computer.  So, instead of bookmarking something at the office and then not having it at home, or vice versa, bookmarks are saved to one central location.  And when I add bookmarks to Diigo, they are automatically added to Delicious, which means neither list becomes out of date.

The way I discovered Diigo was because of one of the features I like: highlighting.  Using Diigo, you can highlight sections of a web document and then forward a link to that page with the highlights (and even comments!) included.  For example, I could share this blog post.  This can be particularly useful with ESL students.  A long article may be intimidating, but a couple of paragraphs might be more manageable.

A simpler approach is a site called citebite.com.  You don’t sign up for an account, but instead copy and paste a URL and the section of text you want highlighted.  The site then gives you a URL for the result.  I could highlight this paragraph in this blog post, for example.  Comments are not available, and only one passage can be highlighted, but Citebite is a good, simple solution.

Awesomehighlighter.com falls somewhere in the middle of the other two applications.  When you enter a URL, you see the page and can then click on text you want highlighted.  Comments, in the form of sticky notes are also available.  Awesome Highlighter then provides a URL to your result page.  So, for example, I could add notes and highlighted passages to this blog post.  Unfortunately, Awurl.com, which Awesome Highlighter uses to provide URLs to the results pages, is blocked on the Ohio State network because it is a proxy / anonymizer.  Even though this is a localized problem, you might want to check that it won’t be blocked where you are before using this tool extensively.

The comment feature in applications like Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, or other document editors has been used to facilitate collaboration between multiple authors and editors for a while now.  As we move closer and closer to the promises made by cloud computing, more and more of these tools are migrating to web-based applications that are becoming easier and easier to use.


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