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Setting up bookmarks in your browser: Bookmarking strategies

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When you start a new topic which delivers its content online you should survey the section of the module website that deals with it. As you step through each page you should bookmark it and file the bookmark in the dedicated folder that you’ve made on the bookmarks bar. Don’t forget that you can edit the title of each bookmark to reflect its contents, if necessary.

Exporting your bookmarks

You can export the bookmarks you've made to create an interactive word processing file for note taking. Each browser does this differently. Check the article Setting up bookmarks in your browser for information about where to find the export command in your favourite browser, and click on it. In the case of IE you get to choose which folder to export, which is convenient. The other browsers all assume you want to export everything. For this reason it’s convenient to have your topic bookmark folder on the extreme left of the bookmarks bar (you can always move it back to its normal position later).

You have to name the file that will be exported and choose where to store it. You should open the file in your word processor. To do this, right click (Cmd-click on a Mac) on the file’s icon and click and hold on Open with. Select your word processing program and release. Different word processors respond differently to these files.

All is well if the file opens looking like this:

Well formatted bookmarks

But you need to make a small edit if you open it in your word processor and it looks like this:

Well formatted bookmarks

You may get a question about the encoding to use. If so, simply accept the default. The problem arises because your word processor hasn’t recognised that the file is an html file. To help it overcome that you should edit the file by deleting NETSCAPE-Bookmark-file-1 and replacing it with html so that the first line reads <!DOCTYPE html>. Don’t delete any of the punctuation and don’t pay any attention to the stern warning not to edit the file – it doesn’t apply in these circumstances. Save the file and close it. If the word processor wants to change the format don’t let it – you want it to stay as a text file. Now reopen it. Most word processors will show it looking like the first example above.

If you exported from IE your file will consist of a list of the bookmarks in your topic folder, each as a live link. Any other browser will have exported every bookmark in your collection, including those in your Archive folder. But if you positioned the relevant folder as the first folder on the bookmarks bar it should be the first folder in your new bookmarks file. In those circumstances simply click in front of the title of the next folder, scroll to the bottom and Shift-click at the end of the list, thus highlighting all the unwanted material, and hit the delete key.

You now have a list of the pages of your topic website and any other pages you chose to file in the same folder. You can use them as links by Ctrl-clicking on them (Cmd-click on a Mac and Alt-Enter in Googledocs). You can edit their titles if you wish simply by clicking on the link and editing in the normal way, including changing the colour if you don’t like that ubiquitous blue (this won’t affect the destination to which the link takes you). And you can type your notes underneath them (click at the end of the line, hit Return and just type).

This file can grow as you work your way through the module material, particularly if you have it open at the same time you’re reading the web pages. As you respond to the text in the browser go to the word processor window and record your thoughts and questions (to switch between the applications efficiently use the Alt-Tab combination explained in Switching between open applications.

When it comes to revision you'll have all your notes neatly organised, headed by a link to the page that contains the original material. If you want to add links to other web pages, or even other note files, read the article How to make hyperlinks in your documents.

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