26 votes

How do you organize your bookmarks?

For me, I have a huge collection of bookmarks in Firefox that are super unorganized. I have some semblance of folder system but...it's quite messy. I'm sure many people have a similar problem. Share your ideas on how you keep your bookmarks organized, what's your system?

34 comments

  1. [6]
    ThatFanficGuy Link
    I have a grip on the hierarchy of my bookmarks. I use a Chromium fork, which means I don't have access to the same system of bookmarks that Firefox has – one of the features I liked about the...

    I have a grip on the hierarchy of my bookmarks. I use a Chromium fork, which means I don't have access to the same system of bookmarks that Firefox has – one of the features I liked about the browser.

    My bookmarks structure goes like this:

    Bookmarks bar

    hosts sites I frequent or have a keen interest in

    • • 📄 Sidebar [daily web dev links]

    • • 📄 Are.na [user-generated storage for all sorts of interesting things]

    • • 📄 Artstation [art that sometimes strikes]

    • • 💾 x-ray [JS snippet to clearly display elements' position and sizing on any page]

    • • 📁 localhost [quick links to apps that use localhost as web interface]

    • • 📁 sort out [inbox folder, GTD-style]

    Other bookmarks

    by itself, hosts a number of links of no other allegiance

    • • 📁 Purchases [things I'd like to buy eventually]

    • • 📁 Web [links directly pertaining to using the Web: search engines, email hosts etc.]

    • • 📁 Tools [useful items]

    • • 📁 Theory [web items that reflect the nature of reality – the theory]

    • • 📁 Later Use [things that I may need a link to in future conversations]

    • • 📁 Reading [categorized as "the read/watch/listen later"]

    • • 📁 Dev

    • • • 📁 Dev > Tools

    • • • 📁 Dev > Libraries

    • • • 📁 Dev > Languages

    • • • 📁 Dev > Theory

    • • 📁 Design

    • • • 📁 Design > Theory

    • • • 📁 Design > Projects

    • • • 📁 Design > Tools

    • • • 📁 Design > Libraries

    • • • 📁 Design > Inspiration

    • • 📁 Writing

    • • • 📁 Writing > Reference

    • • • 📁 Writing > Theory

    • • • 📁 Writing > Tools

    • • 📁 Projects

    • • • 📁 [everything patterned after Projects > <project_name>]

    • • 📁 Languages

    • • • 📁 Languages > Conlangs

    • • 📁 Health & Nutrition

    • • • 📁 Health & Nutrition > Reference

    • • • 📁 Health & Nutrition > Science

    • • • 📁 Health & Nutrition > Fitness

    • • • 📁 Health & Nutrition > Nutrition

    • • • • 📁 Health & Nutrition > Nutrition > Recipes

    • • 📄 Life Hacking [an insight into his own life-hacking from Alex Vermeer]

    • • 📄 Fold N Fly [paper plane designs]

    • • 📄 DaftPad [lets you play Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by DaftPunk on a virtual keyboard]

    • • 📄 Brain Pickings [insights from wise persons of history]

    • • 📄 Zen Pencils [insightful words made into comics]

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      robotsneedhugs Link Parent
      Would you be willing to share any of your bookmarks? Things like "Purchases" and "sort out" might be too personal, but I'm intrigued about what you have filed under sections like "Tools,"...

      Would you be willing to share any of your bookmarks? Things like "Purchases" and "sort out" might be too personal, but I'm intrigued about what you have filed under sections like "Tools," "Theory," and others.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
        Sure. I'm wondering about the best way to do it. Any ideas?

        Sure. I'm wondering about the best way to do it. Any ideas?

        1 vote
        1. robotsneedhugs Link Parent
          I think you can export your bookmarks as an html file. You could then edit that file to delete the ones you don't want to share, and upload it to a personal website, dropbox, gist, pastebin, etc....

          I think you can export your bookmarks as an html file. You could then edit that file to delete the ones you don't want to share, and upload it to a personal website, dropbox, gist, pastebin, etc.

          Note: I'm not a Chrome user so it's possible they don't let you export to html anymore, but I know they used to.

          1 vote
  2. Algernon_Asimov Link
    People reading this topic might also be interested in this previous discussion: How do you store your bookmarks?

    People reading this topic might also be interested in this previous discussion: How do you store your bookmarks?

    7 votes
  3. [2]
    Wes Link
    I used to have mountains of them. I would tame them by running tools that checked for dead links or redirects and update accordingly. Eventually I realized it was mostly stuff that I've never,...

    I used to have mountains of them. I would tame them by running tools that checked for dead links or redirects and update accordingly. Eventually I realized it was mostly stuff that I've never, ever gone back to.

    If I was saving something "for later" (eg. videos, webgames, articles), I eventually just dealt with it. Half of it was defunct by that point anyway. I stopped using bookmarks for that sort of content, and try to avoid accumulation.

    Today I have 5% of what I used to, and it's all content that I frequently access. This made organization much simpler.

    For what it's worth, I took a similar approach to tab management. From a chronic tab-a-holic, I now keep just a few that I'm actively working on. Much simpler. No fear of closing my browser at the end of the day.

    6 votes
    1. PopeRigby Link Parent
      While I do agree with the idea of de-cluttering, for some reason, all the bookmarks don't bother me too much. I obviously like them to be somewhat organized, but I like having what I think of as...

      While I do agree with the idea of de-cluttering, for some reason, all the bookmarks don't bother me too much. I obviously like them to be somewhat organized, but I like having what I think of as my own little private library of all the stuff that I find interesting.

  4. [3]
    clepins Link
    I dislike classifying things in folders—what if one of my bookmarks would fit well in more than one folder!? The solution—you guessed it—is tags. Say "No more!" to looking into a relevant folder...

    I dislike classifying things in folders—what if one of my bookmarks would fit well in more than one folder!? The solution—you guessed it—is tags. Say "No more!" to looking into a relevant folder and not finding the bookmark you're looking for or to making multiple bookmarks of the same site for each separate folder.

    https://imgur.com/dlKFZMn

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      KapteinB Link Parent
      Those look a whole lot like folders to me. What's the difference?

      Those look a whole lot like folders to me. What's the difference?

      1 vote
      1. Tau_Zero Link Parent
        An item can only be in one folder. An item can have many tags.

        An item can only be in one folder. An item can have many tags.

        5 votes
  5. alyaza Link
    mine is pretty straightforward, honestly. folders for all the stuff that stacks up, everything gets filed in the closest approximation folder to it; leftovers get sent to "other bookmarks". i like...

    mine is pretty straightforward, honestly. folders for all the stuff that stacks up, everything gets filed in the closest approximation folder to it; leftovers get sent to "other bookmarks". i like to keep my bookmarks orderly and use them sparingly. there's really no point in them otherwise.

    3 votes
  6. cadadr Link
    I use the bookmarks toolbar for stuff that is worth checking again and pertain to something distinguished and important: a folder for bookmarklets, and many folders by topic like Ling[uistics],...

    I use the bookmarks toolbar for stuff that is worth checking again and pertain to something distinguished and important: a folder for bookmarklets, and many folders by topic like Ling[uistics], Deb[ian], Workout, Dev[elopment] (i.e. programming) etc. For the rest, like news and stuff, they are just dumped into wherever Ctrl+D puts them, I guess "Other bookmarks".

    On mobile I just bookmark them and they go into a "Mobile bookmarks" folder, which FF Sync syncs between devices.

    All that is on Firefox BTW. One setting I have is that the address bar only searches history and bookmarks, no online suggestions, so bookmarks are quite easy to search and navigate to w/o going to the bookmarks sidebar w/ Ctrl+B.

    3 votes
  7. aymm Link
    I use Pocket + Tags. Mainly so that they sync across all of my devices. A nice bonus is that I can assign multiple tags to a single item. URLs I think I might bookmark later, but haven't finished...

    I use Pocket + Tags. Mainly so that they sync across all of my devices. A nice bonus is that I can assign multiple tags to a single item. URLs I think I might bookmark later, but haven't finished reading yet are added to the list. Once I've decided to keep it as a bookmark I archive it.
    I barely use bookmarks for day to day browsing though - most of that happens via clickign links or auto complete in the URL bar

    3 votes
  8. ras Link
    I only have a few bookmarks stored in my browser, however, I do use Pinboard a lot. Pretty much anything I find interesting I throw in there, sometimes with tags, sometimes without. I pay for the...

    I only have a few bookmarks stored in my browser, however, I do use Pinboard a lot. Pretty much anything I find interesting I throw in there, sometimes with tags, sometimes without. I pay for the archiving of links so that they don't die on me.

    3 votes
  9. AugustusFerdinand Link
    The toolbar is used for common sites, typically completely without names, just the favicons. Now the folders... that's a whole other ballgame of nested upon nested folders and bookmarks from over...

    The toolbar is used for common sites, typically completely without names, just the favicons.

    Now the folders... that's a whole other ballgame of nested upon nested folders and bookmarks from over a decade that I'm frankly afraid to look at now and the last time I did easily half of the 100 or so sites I visited were gone. There are hundreds if not 1k+ bookmarks in there...

    2 votes
  10. ThatFanficGuy Link
    I'd also like to make a separate comment with some experience I have with sorting stuff, and some ideas I have for improving it. The way I see it, people who say that folders are restrictive are...

    I'd also like to make a separate comment with some experience I have with sorting stuff, and some ideas I have for improving it.

    The way I see it, people who say that folders are restrictive are often right. Few things can be neatly tucked up into a folder of their own, and that requires clarity for what the thing you're sorting means to you.

    I store a whole load of stuff on my drive. Digital books, music, quotes, images of things that inspire me, videos off the Internet that brought me joy... Some of them don't require categorization at all – like the videos: they are (and will remain) few, and each stands out on its own, giving me no reason to store them separately. I know why I want to have each one, and finding them will never be a problem.

    Some things can be categorized quite neatly, because they only have one thing I need – their essence – which bodes well for hierarchical structures. For example, the images on my drive all either have a strict designation – "Industrial Design", "Art & Inspiration", "Aesthetic" etc. – or are stored in the main "Images" folder. If there need to be subfolders, those are usually equally-easy to maintain.

    Then, there are things that require insightful consideration: things that I might search for with a specific goal ("Give me all the separate JavaScript Array functions I have", "Show me all the images featuring cities or architecture" etc.). What do you do? Do you store the multiple copies of the same image in different folders? Do you minimize its potential by storing it in a single category?

    Tags are the go-to idea, but they're damn near impossible to implement natively on Windows, which is what a whole lot of people are using. They either require maintaining a strict naming policy – not impossible, but time-consuming, and time is everything – or a set of tools to add a separate layer to the file system, which would disappear the moment your system crashes or gets reinstalled. On Windows, only a handful of file types may have tags attached to them; as far as I'm aware, those are images alone. (Music files allow one to attach information about the style and the mood of the song, but that seems to require per-file, rather cumbersome editing from within the file system itself.)

    There's no reason to not give one the ability to add tags to all kinds of files or folders. If it could be done for music files, I see no reason why the same functionality couldn't be extended to other classes of data. It's why I like the vision of an operating system Desktop Neo gives. It has all sorts of good ideas about organizing one's workspace, and tagging is one of them. I'd switch to a system that has all those qualities, and the affordance to supercede Windows, as soon as the day-0 bugs are fixed and the people are generally happy about it.

    Hell, I almost switched to Firefox some time ago. Were I not so weary I'd switch back to a Chromium base for a browser, I'd start using the tagging system immediately. Why wouldn't you? I wish there was tagging built into Chromium – or even a different, perhaps-better system for categorizing the content I encounter (without using third-party services: they are, at best, unreliable).

    2 votes
  11. jwong Link
    Recently, as I’ve been trying to be more intentional about my web use, I’ve moved to markdown files. I have project or ideas saved in notes, and add short blurbs about what the link is or how it...

    Recently, as I’ve been trying to be more intentional about my web use, I’ve moved to markdown files.

    I have project or ideas saved in notes, and add short blurbs about what the link is or how it is relevant. I still end up not using them a lot of the time, but when I do, it’s in the context of a project. That helps me find more ground and have a reason to come back to the link instead of saving too many.

    I also have a “want” file that saves things I have an impulse to buy. I put a brief note on why, and then occasionally prune it when I add something new. It’s been a good way of reducing impulse purchases and making hobby purchases float to the top.

    2 votes
  12. deknalis Link
    Well, I have a few icons outside of bookmarks on the Bookmark bar (I also use Firefox). I have a "Favorites" for websites I visit daily or just often, with some overlap in a "Reading" folder,...

    Well, I have a few icons outside of bookmarks on the Bookmark bar (I also use Firefox). I have a "Favorites" for websites I visit daily or just often, with some overlap in a "Reading" folder, which I've been looking into consolidating for a while now, probably with some subfolders. I have a ton of subfolders already within a different folder called "Resources", separated mostly by topic, like, say, Climate Change or Film or Politics, with something like Politics then having more specific folders with that folder like specific politicians, Tax Reform, Education, etc. "Resources" is mostly for studies that I like to have on hand for discussions and reference. I have a "Recipes" folder for, well, recipes. And finally I'll usually have a folder of bookmarks for whatever rabbit hole I've jumped into, most recently a "Propaganda" folder for research into that topic, and those I'll either delete or put into the "Resources" folder when I'm done with them.

    2 votes
  13. krg Link
    For the most part, I don't keep bookmarks. I usually have a mental map to get to whatever destination website/resource I want. I've been thinking of organizing links and also knowledge of things...

    For the most part, I don't keep bookmarks. I usually have a mental map to get to whatever destination website/resource I want.

    I've been thinking of organizing links and also knowledge of things into something like TiddlyWiki, though.

    2 votes
  14. [3]
    MimicSquid Link
    I use my password manager for it. Everything else aside from Reddit and Tildes I get through my RSS feed.

    I use my password manager for it. Everything else aside from Reddit and Tildes I get through my RSS feed.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      PopeRigby Link Parent
      Interesting. How do you store all your bookmarks in your password manger? Which one do you use?

      Interesting. How do you store all your bookmarks in your password manger? Which one do you use?

      1. MimicSquid Link Parent
        I use LastPass, and the browser extension has a search bar. Since it needs to know what websites all my passwords are for, it's also a complete list of the websites I log in to.

        I use LastPass, and the browser extension has a search bar. Since it needs to know what websites all my passwords are for, it's also a complete list of the websites I log in to.

        1 vote
  15. mjb Link
    I have several topical folders in my Firefox bookmarks toolbar (e.g., Reference, SocialMedia, News, Personal, Business, To-Post, To-Read, To-View, etc.) for some oft-used or ephemeral links but I...

    I have several topical folders in my Firefox bookmarks toolbar (e.g., Reference, SocialMedia, News, Personal, Business, To-Post, To-Read, To-View, etc.) for some oft-used or ephemeral links but I use BibSonomy, an open social bookmark and publication sharing system, for managing a tag-classified archive of most of my links to particular material of interest. It is somewhat reminiscent of Delicious.com (when that site was popular before its demise and repeated failed attempts at being rebooted) but with added support for document citations. There is a nice browser add-on to easily save bookmarks or citations, with the option of posting either public or private entries.

    1 vote
  16. Artrax Link
    I actually use both tags and folders. tags for informations about the content of the website (think programming, Chinese cuisine, etc.) and folders for what kind of action/information they...

    I actually use both tags and folders. tags for informations about the content of the website (think programming, Chinese cuisine, etc.) and folders for what kind of action/information they represent, like "ToRead", "Knowledge Ressources" (for all those studies and papers that people want to see as proof during arguments).

    But I have to admit that this is only what it's supposed to look like lol

    1 vote
  17. Grand0rbiter Link
    I don't have many bookmarks so i just bookmark and i am done with it. Websites that i access every day i just keep open and save the session.

    I don't have many bookmarks so i just bookmark and i am done with it.

    Websites that i access every day i just keep open and save the session.

    1 vote
  18. teaearlgraycold Link
    I think I only ever make bookmarks. I never actually refer back to them. So it's all in a single stream.

    I think I only ever make bookmarks. I never actually refer back to them. So it's all in a single stream.

    1 vote
  19. Arshan Link
    I mostly just use them as a first search for info; I use * in the address bar to search bookmarks.

    I mostly just use them as a first search for info; I use * in the address bar to search bookmarks.

    1 vote
  20. [4]
    hook Link
    I’ve gone through several stages of this and so far nothing has stuck as ideal, but I think I’m inching towards it. Very much looking forward to other ideas here. Also, I apologise for the late...

    I’ve gone through several stages of this and so far nothing has stuck as ideal, but I think I’m inching towards it. Very much looking forward to other ideas here. Also, I apologise for the late reply.

    To start off, I have to confess that while I love the internet and the web, I loathe having everything in the browser. The browser becoming the OS is what seems to be happening, and I hate that thought. I like to keep things locally, having backups, and control over my documents and data. Although I changed my e-mail provider(s) several times, I still have all my e-mail locally stored from 2003 until today.

    I also don’t like reading longer texts on an LCD, so I usually put longer texts into either Wallabag or Mozilla’s Pocket to read them later on my eInk reader (Kobo Aura). BTW, Wallabag and Pocket both have their pros and cons themselves. Pocket is more popular and better integrated into a lot of things (e.g. Firefox, Kobo, etc.), while Wallabag is fully FOSS (even the server) and offers some extra features that are in Pocket either subject to subscription or completely missing.

    Still, an enormous amount of information is (and should be!) on the web, so each of us needs to somehow keep track and make sense of it :)

    So, with that intro out of the way, here is how I tackle(d) this mess.

    Historic overview of methods I used so far

    Hierarchy of folders

    As many of us, I guess, I started with first putting bookmarks in the bookmark bar, but soon had to start organising them into folders … and subfolders … and subsubfolders …and subsubsubfolders … until the screen did not fit the whole tree of them any more when expanded.

    Pro:

    • can be neat and tidy
    • easy to sync between devices through e.g. Firefox Sync

    Con:

    • can become a huge mess, once it grows to a behemoth
    • takes several clicks to put a bookmark into the appropriate (sub)folder

    Tags + search bar

    Then I decided to keep it flat and use the Firefox search bar to find what I’m looking for.

    To achieve that, when I bookmarked something, I renamed it to something useful and added tags (e.g.: shop, tea; or python, sql, howto).

    This worked kinda OK, but a big downside is that there is a huge amount of clutter which is not easy to navigate and edit once you want to organise all the already existing bookmarks. The bookmark panel is somewhat helpful, but not a lot.

    Pro:

    • easy to search
    • easy to find a relevant bookmark when you are about to search for something through the combined URL/search bar
    • easy to sync between devices through e.g. Firefox Sync

    Con:

    • your search query must match the name, tag(s), or URL of bookmark
    • hard to find or navigate other than searching (for name tag, URL)

    OneTab

    Several years after that, I learnt about OneTab from an onboarding website of a company I applied to (but didn’t get the job). The main promise of it is to loads of open tabs into (simple) organised lists on a single page. And all that with a single click (well, two really).

    This worked wonders for (still does) for decluttering my tab list. Especially when grouped with Tree Style Tabs, which I very warmly recommend trying out. Even if it looks odd and unrully at first, it is very easy to get used to and helps organise tabs immensely. But back to OneTab…

    The good side of OneTab is that it really helps keep your tab bar clean and therefore reduces your computer’s resource usage. It is also super for keeping track of tabs that you may (or maybe not) need to open again later, as you can (re)open a whole group of “tabs” with a single click.

    As a practical example, let’s say I am travelling to Barcelona in two months. So I book flights and the hotel, and in the process also check out some touristy and other helpful info. Because I won’t be needing the touristy and travel stuff for quite some time before the trip, I don’t need all the tabs open. But as it’s a one-off trip, it’s also silly to bookmark it all. So I send them all to OneTab and name the group e.g. “Barcelona trip 2019”. If I stumble upon any new stuff that’s relevant, I simply send it to the same Named Group in OneTab. Once I need that info, I either open individual “tabs” or restore the whole group with one click and have it ready. An additional cool thing is that by default if you open a group or a single link “tab” from OneTab, it will remove it from the list. You can decide to keep the links in the list as well.

    In practices, I still used tagged bookmarks for links that I wanted to store long-term, while depending on OneTab for short- to mid-term storage.

    Pro:

    • great for decluttering your tabs
    • helps keep your browser’s resource usage low
    • great for creating (temporary) lists of tabs that you do not need now, but will in the future
    • can easily send a group of “tabs” with others via e-mail

    Con:

    • no tags, categories or other means of adding meta data – you can only name groups, and cannot even rename links
    • no searching other than through the “webpage” list of “tabs”
    • as the list of “tabs”/bookmarks grows, the harder it is to keep an overview
    • cannot sync between devices
    • (proprietary plug-in)

    Worldbrain’s Memex

    About two months ago, I stumbled upon Worldbrain’s Memex through a FOSDEM talk. It promises to fix bookmarking, searching, note-taking and web history for you … which is quite an impressive lot.

    So far, I have to say, I’m quite impressed. It is super easy to find stuff you visited, even if you forgot to bookmark it, as it indexes all the websites you visit (unless you put tell Memex to ignore that page or domain).

    For more order, you can assign tags to websites and/or store them into collections (i.e. groups or folders). What’s more, you can do that even later, if you forgot about it the first time. If you want to especially emphasise a specific website, you can also star it.

    An excellent feature missing in other bookmarking methods I’ve seen so far is that it lets you annotate websites – through highlights and comments and tags attached to those highlights. So, not only can you store comments and tags on the websites, but also on annotations within those websites.

    One concern I have is that they might have taken more than what they can chew, but since I started using it, I have seen so much progress that I’m (cautiously) optimistic about it.

    Pro:

    • supports both tags and collections (i.e. groups)
    • enables annotations/highlights and comments (as well as tags to both) to websites
    • indexes websites, so when you search for something it goes through both the website’s text, as well as your notes to that website and, of course, tags
    • starring websites you would like to find more easily
    • you can also set specific websites or domain names to be ignored
    • it offers quite an advanced search, including limiting by data ranges, stars, or domains
    • when you search for something (e.g. using DuckDuckGo or Google) it shows suggested websites that you already visited before
    • sharing of annotations and comments with others (as long as they also have Memex installed)
    • for annotations it uses the W3C Open Annotation spec
    • stores everything locally (with the exception of sharing annotations via a link, of course)

    Con:

    • it consumes more disk space due to running its own index
    • needs an external app for backing up data
    • so far no syncing of bookmarks between devices (but it is in the making)
    • so far it does not sync annotations between different devices (but both mobile apps for iOS/Android, and Pocket integration are in the making)

    Status quo and looking at the future

    I currently have still a few dozen bookmarks that I need to tag in Memex and delete from my Firefox bookmarks. And a further several dozen in OneTab.

    The most viewed websites, I have in the “Top Sites” in Firefox.

    Most of the “tabs” in OneTab, I have already migrated to Memex and I’m looking very much forward to trying to use it instead of OneTab. So far it seems a bit more work, as I need to 1) open all tabs into a tab tree (same as in OneTab), 2) open that tab tree in a separate window (extra step), and then 3) use the “Tag all tabs in window” or “Add all tabs in window” option from the extension button (similar as in OneTab), and finally 4) close the tabs by closing the window (extra step). What I usually do is to change a Tab Group from OneTab to a Collection in Memex and then take some extra time to add tags or notes, if appropriate.

    So, I’m quite confident Memex will be able to replace OneTab for me and most likely also (most) normal bookmarks. I may keep some bookmarks of things that I want to always keep track of, like my online bank’s URL, but I’m not sure yet.

    The annotations are a god-send as well, which will be very hard to get rid of, as I already got used to them.

    Now, if I could only send stuff to my eInk reader (or phone), annotate it there and have those annotations auto-magically show up in the browser and therefore stored locally on my laptop … :D

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      PopeRigby Link Parent
      Memex looks super promising! Although, I'll probably have to wait for sync before I use it. I use Firefox on my phone and desktop pretty equally and couldn't live without it being synced between....

      Memex looks super promising! Although, I'll probably have to wait for sync before I use it. I use Firefox on my phone and desktop pretty equally and couldn't live without it being synced between. So, is it an extension or is a separate program you install?

      1. [2]
        hook Link Parent
        It’s a browser extension. It needs a separate app only for making local backups, as the browser would otherwise prevent it from doing that.

        It’s a browser extension.

        It needs a separate app only for making local backups, as the browser would otherwise prevent it from doing that.

        1 vote
        1. PopeRigby Link Parent
          Cool. I'll make sure to check it out when sync is implemented.

          Cool. I'll make sure to check it out when sync is implemented.