Thursday, February 22, 2007

Personal Information Aggregation

When the internet first came out the problem was finding what you wanted. Then search started to evolved, as more and more content came online in the form of web pages. Browser bookmarks became the tool of choice. Then at some point information overload started to occur and people wanted to find tools to find and filter. Search got better, RSS came on the scene, and a plethora of tools to help you sift through the growing information haystack came on the scene and continue to do so today. Tagging tools, feed readers, personalized home pages, widgets, etc etc. We are now at a point where we even need filters for our filters, or ways to collect and better assimilate out of our various filter points. I can't tell you how many times I am in a conversation, and I remember a an interesting topic I read recently, but cannot pinpoint where it was that I saw it - was it in my rss reader, as i scanned the backlog quickly, and if it was - what blog was it from... did i flag it, tag it and post to delicious? Was it an amazon review, or just something that somebody emailed to me?

At one point I had this idea for a personal web based data warehouse - a place in which you could store content, pointers and references, that could be categorized, tagged and it would work seamlessly across files on my hardrive as well as the web and accessible from any point, and it would 'learn' my interests and start looking for other items that match what interests me. It would also allow me to connect ideas to formulate new ideas.

To my knowledge this doesn't exist, but I have recently come across Google Notebook from Google Labs. I am finding it to be very useful at least for information aggregation. It gives me a tool to capture snippets from blog posts, websites or anything online and it brings the URL with it. You can create different notebooks which can be shared out, and within notebooks create different tabs, and its online, accessible any location and searchable with Google's powerful search engine. Yes its not perfect but its free and will likely evolve with more features. I quickly created a notebook for work related topics which I shared with a colleague. I also created a personal notebook with tabs including 'items I want to blog about', 'items that I find, but want to read later', etc. If you are looking for something new to try to help manage your information overload check it out, and let me know if you have found other useful information aggregation tools. (be aware - it doesn't work with the new IE 7)

1 comment:

Justin Beller said...

Thanks for the tip Kevin. This is similar to an application I found a few years ago called Onfolio, but Google Notebook integrates into the browser much better.

The trick is to find something that will help aggregate offline content. I still find a lot of great content and articles in books and magazines. Spiral bound notebooks, pens and pencils are great, but they just aren't as fun or as cool as the tech toys we've become so accustom to.