In today’s article, we will mainly expand on my previous article Information Management, focusing on the information acquisition stage, inventorying and discussing tools for efficient information acquisition. As for finding and filtering quality information, it is an important topic of information literacy and needs to be analyzed in a separate article. In addition, since RSS has been discussed in many previous articles, we will not discuss it specifically.
Bookmark management tools
One of the most common needs for information access is web bookmark management. Some of the oldest tools are Pinboard, Raindrop. These tools are not only powerful, but also have the advantage of being integrated with other products.
The up-and-comers are GoodLinks: simple and good-looking, powerful, with a variety of automation features that work with tools such as shortcut commands. Pinbox is a modern cross-platform favorites tool, while Anybox offers a wide variety of input and output methods, integrated automation, Deeplinks, focused search, and many other powerful features. The more hands-on users provide available options. Today, multi-dimensional forms, led by Airtable and popularized by Notion, are a good alternative to bookmark management tools.
Bookmarking is only the first step in accessing information. Some users want to control data or manage their favorites more efficiently, while others want to read their favorites more easily. For both of these needs, it is necessary to rely on the web clipping and read later tools.
Web Clipping Tool
Is there a need for web clipping?
The question of whether you need web clipping is one that you should ask and reflect on from the beginning.
Pros: Saving web content to your own note taking software or file management tool helps you to improve your control over your data and make it easier for you to rework the content of your web clippings. In the long run, web clipping is a means to create users’ own knowledge base and database.
Disadvantages: Strictly speaking, it is a temptation. The ability to cut and collect easily makes a small group of users have the illusion of collecting and possessing, which also reduces the brain’s attention and thinking about some contents to some extent.
Evaluation: The lure of web clipping is not an original sin brought about by technology. The main reason for the collector’s fetish and squirrel syndrome is largely due to the fact that collecting is an easy and simple activity, while organizing content and thinking deeply requires more mental and physical effort from the subject. The point of reflecting on “the need for web scrapbooking” is that if one finds oneself just scraping like crazy, then one needs to consider optimizing the sources of information, reducing the number of scrapbooks, and reserving more space for one’s thinking. In addition, the temptation of web clipping can be partially solved by technology. Some good tools, most of which come with their own methodologies and offer a variety of workflow solutions, can help drive users to proactively optimize their own workflow.
Web clipping tool – Dedicated type
There are many note-taking software, editors and other efficiency tools that offer their own plug-ins for web clipping. This kind of dedicated web clipping tool is more friendly for the users of a certain product itself.
The following are incomplete statistics.
Evernote, OneNote, Joplin, Zoho Notebook, Neatify.
Notion, Obsidian, Roam Research, WorkFlowy.
flomo, Google Keep.
Eagle: web image one-click cut and hide.
Most of these plugins are officially provided by a product, and a few are provided by the community. In the case of the latter, there may be multiple versions. For example, Notion has both an official Notion Web Clipper and a community-supplied Save To Notion. The latter has the advantage of providing a rich set of configurable items and supporting a variety of custom clipping rules. For example, it allows users to preset templates and add specific attribute tags with one click.
Note: Most of the above plug-ins support full web clipping or selected content clipping, and a few support underline markup.
Web clipping tool – General purpose
This type of tool does not restrict the editor used by the user and provides a general-purpose web clipping solution. Most of the information management tools and read-it-later tools also provide web clipping functions, which will be discussed later.
The following is a list of purely web clipping tools.
Link clipping enhancement plug-ins
TabCopy: Copy single and multiple Tab/tab pages into preformatted links with one click.
Copy as Markdown: Converts the URLs of current or multiple Tab pages into directly usable Markdown format links.
One-Click Content Clipper
MarkDownload – Markdown Web Clipper: A browser plug-in that provides one-click clipping and downloading of web articles to Markdown formatted text.
Single file: A web clipper plugin that saves web pages as offline HTML files, including CSS, frames, fonts, etc.
MaoXian Web Clipper: A free, community-driven web clipping plugin.
Web Clipper: A web clipper plugin that supports multiple editors.
One-click batch download of web images: ImageAssistant, Fatkun, Image Cyborg
Read later service
The next workflow on top of the web clipping collection is usually processing information. Among them, reading is the most common scenario. A tool that combines the needs of web clipping and reading annotations is the read later service.
Renowned read-it-later services
Pocket, Instapaper. As a classic later reading service, in addition to the perfect function and better experience, there are many third-party tools support is also an important advantage. The disadvantage may be that the price of advanced version is a bit high for mainland users. In addition, Hypothesis and Diigo are also well received. Among them, Hypothesis is a free, open source, customizable web annotation tool.
Emerging read-it-later services
Matter: an emerging reading app for iOS, also offering a web version. Currently, Matter supports information collection, reading, annotating, syncing, and sharing. Among them, Matter supports web clipping collection, author subscription, social discovery, reading aloud, highlighting, commenting, and Readwise syncing with Notion. It supports infographic sharing and homepage display.
Open source read-it-later service
Omnivore. a free, open source, full platform, read later/highlight/annotate/speech aloud support, tag organization and advanced search, integrated with knowledge bases such as Readwise, Logseq, etc., modern design read later software.
Alternative read-it-later services
Reeder. itself is a long-established RSS reader, and Reeder supports large version buyouts. The current update to Reeder 5, which already supports web clipping, combined with Reeder’s own elegant reading experience, makes it a good tool for later reading.
Information management tools
The information management tool here refers to a one-stop service that combines various functions such as cut and collect, read later, read, annotate, review, and export. The information management tool has a complete workflow built in, which can more effectively solve the dilemma that users just cut and collect or create a read later list without taking the next step.
Reader & ReadWise
A bridge for information management. It is uniquely positioned, popular and loved by users.
Readwise: With its core function of providing reading highlighting and review of annotated content, Readwise offers a comprehensive annotation import path and a wide range of export options. Based on this feature, Readwise can be used to quickly add an easy-to-use review system to the workflow of users of multiple products.
Reader: All in One reader from Readwise. Reader supports reading web articles, PDF, eBooks, emails, Twitter, Youtube and many other types of content. Reader not only provides annotations, comments, tags, etc., but also provides AI-assisted reading – Ghostreader. Reader and Readwise work together to provide a very powerful information management solution.
Cubox: Multi-platform data synchronization.
Support one-click clipping, web snapshot, WeChat clipping, annotation, nested favorites & tag management and many other functions. In addition to using bookmark management, web clipping, read later services, and information management tools, users can also access and process information manually based on operations such as system sharing and clipboard clipping. Based on the system sharing function, there are many software programs that support fast saving of text and other contents. For example, select text and choose the share button to send it to the note taking software. Clipboard clipping is also worth considering as a quick way to collect information. The clipboard enhancement tool Paste, for example, supports clipboard history acquisition, editing, merging, searching, and other functions. For more editing needs, you can consider the clipboard enhancement + Markdown editor + action library in one Taio. Next, we discuss some special channels – social platforms, and some special types of content – Newsletters, videos, podcasts, etc. for information acquisition and processing.
AlleyRead: Newsletter navigation site to help users discover quality newsletters.
Email-newsletter-RSS project: a GitHub-based aggregation of Chinese newsletters.
Newsletter-list to discover interesting/free newsletters.
As for some newsletter discovery, you can go to social media platforms such as Instant, Twitter, or the homepage of a blogger of interest to find newsletter feeds provided by bloggers.
NewsLetter Message Management
How to efficiently manage and read NewsLetter subscription emails is a common need for NewsLetter users.
Here are some common solutions.
Use mailbox management: Some mailboxes provide aggregation and filtering features that make it easy for users to aggregate NewsLetter subscription emails from a particular feed. For example, use the filtering feature provided by Gmail.
Set up a dedicated mailbox: If you have a lot of emails, to avoid confusion with other emails, you can set up a mailbox dedicated to Newsletter subscriptions.
Subscribe to NewsLetter using your personal mailbox provided by some message management tools, such as ReadWise Reader/Cubox/Inoreader/Feedbin.
Users can manually forward NewsLetter to their personal mailboxes to add the content of NewsLetter emails to the reading and review lists of these information management tools. If HF uses NewsLetter, you can subscribe directly to NewsLetter using the personal email address provided to you by these information management tools.
RSS feeds: turn Newsletter emails into RSS feeds.
The free online service Kill the Newsletter! supports converting newsletters into RSS feeds.
Automatically forward Newsletter emails from Gmail subscriptions to Blog and then subscribe to the Blog RSS feed using RSS software. See the portal for details.
Other: Matter allows users to sign in with Google Mail and syndicate NewsLetter emails subscribed to by Google Mail in one click, and convert them into articles to add to their reading list.
Common video sites usually provide subscription and push functions.
Inoreader, Feedbin and other RSS services support subscriptions to Youtube and other video site summaries. In addition, you can also use RSS feed discovery tools such as RSShub to discover video RSS feeds.
Two recording options exist for video notes: one is to take notes directly at the video site, and the other is to watch the video and take notes in the note-taking software.
Option 1: Taking notes on a video site
This type of solution relies heavily on browser plugins. These plug-ins are mostly foreign software, mainly supporting YouTube and some common platforms.
VideoMark video notes: directly take notes on YouTube, Coursera.
YiNote: support YouTube, provide timestamp function.
Beastnotes: In addition to supporting YouTube, also supports MOOC.
In addition, some video sites are starting to gradually support the note taking function.
Option 2: Watching videos in note-taking software
This type of solution mainly relies on some editors that support embedded videos. The advantage is that the editing is powerful and note-taking is more convenient. The disadvantage is that the timestamp function for video notes is mainly limited to YouTube and other video sites.
Downloading videos: Common solution paths are as follows.
The required tools and services are available by searching on relevant platforms or search engines.
Embedding videos: Some note taking software can automatically recognize links to video sites and convert them directly into content embeds. Some note taking software, requires the use of specific embedding syntax. For example, double-linked note taking software such as Obsidian.
Make good use of the split-screen feature: Split-screen allows users to watch a video and take notes at the same time. There are two solutions for split screen: one is to use the system split screen feature. At present, the mainstream desktop, tablet and other products, has supported the simultaneous opening of two windows, and then juxtaposed to achieve the split-screen function. In addition, some emerging editors, built-in split-screen function. For example, Roam Research, Logseq and other double-linked note taking software and Notion, FlowUs and other online collaborative documents all support opening on the right side of the page.
Use the timestamp feature: add notes at specific time points in the video. Click on the corresponding timestamp to jump to the specific video progress. The timestamp feature helps establish a two-way connection between the video node and the note content. Currently, Roam Research, Logseq, Obsidian and other note taking software provide timestamp services based on videos such as Youtube and Bilibili.
Tagging material: Use the system screenshot function, or some third-party screenshot software to get video content with a specific timestamp. Screenshot software CleanShot X and iShot are good, and screenshot beautification software Xnapper is also recommended. Some of the illustrations in this article were created using a combination of these tools. If you need to take too many screenshots, you can use some image management tools such as Eagle to help manage them. In addition, you can use some OCR tools to recognize the text in the screenshots and quickly generate notes.
Organizing notes: This is largely dependent on the editor the user is using.
As the title says, information acquisition is only the beginning of information management, followed by content organization, deep thinking and processing, and efficient output is the focus of information management workflow. Without a complete information management workflow, users will soon get tired and confused if they only collect information superficially, and only continuous positive feedback can continue to drive users to make continuous progress. If you have doubts about the way and path to get information, it is better to stop and carefully select a few pieces of content to read and write, which may be more useful than getting a lot of information. If this article, can provide you with a little help in optimizing the way you collect information, then the content has some value.
Note: This article is, to a large extent, a consolidation of previous fragmented notes on the topic of information acquisition. Among other things, the inventory introduces a number of tools in the introduction of information acquisition methods. It is important to emphasize that there is no perfect tool. Each product that can survive the competition in the market has more or less some characteristics of its own. Based on these features, these tools are scattered in different parts of the user’s multiple demand spectrum. In the process of feedback and in-depth use of the tools, users will gradually clarify their own workflow. Then, based on their own workflow, they can directly search for the corresponding tools.
With the explosion of ChatGPT, AI is completely reshaping information management and knowledge management workflow. For example, AI-based conversation learning, content summarization, and literature discovery. AI+ is coming of age. If you are interested in AI, in another article ChatGPT Usage Resource Aggregation, I have sorted out the usage scenarios of GPT, GPT Prompts prompts, various products based on GPT, and several AI navigation websites. I hope you can find an AI tool that meets your reading, writing, and other needs.