Bookmark Bliss -- Linkman by Outertech
Collecting bookmarks is easy and fun, but using them
isn't. Unless you have Linkman.
Outertech's bookmark manager has made my work life so much easier, and my computer time
so much more valuable, that I've got to tell my comrades-in-research
about it. (No one is compensating me for this.)
researcher, and teacher of internet research technique, I keep a
permanent reference library on my computer.
makes for a lot of bookmarks. It was 35,000 and counting last
time I looked, plus a couple of thousand keywords that let me control
how broadly and deeply I search.
I'll describe how I set up my system if anyone else
suffering from bookmark overload wants to know. For now what matters is
that conceptually it worked perfectly -- I could always find what I was
looking for -- but Firefox couldn't handle it and was slowly choking to
death. Opening the "Organize Bookmarks" screen was a five-minute
operation, and I could refill my coffee in the time it took to move a
bookmark from one folder to another. Modifying keyword categories was a
weird combination of tedium and unpredictability. And Firefox was
crashing three or four times a day.
The last straw was the sqlite bug in FF 3.6.11, which
froze the program every time you entered a bookmark search term. FF 4
didn't help. Somebody finally posted a fix (it's
here if you're interested), but by then I had had it.
I tried out lots of bookmark
managers, but they didn't work for me. I needed something that could
handle a really huge cross-referenced database. It had to be
accessible from any browser, because the sqlite
fiasco had made me squeamish about being so dependent on Firefox. I
wanted flexible tagging and searching, and I didn't want
to sit around twiddling my thumbs for ten minutes every time I actually
use -- heaven forbid -- a bookmark.
Finally I found Linkman. There's a free Lite version
and a Pro. For lots of folks, Linkman Lite will do everything they want
and more. But Pro was the one for me, and here are just a few of the
Linkman manages thousands upon thousands of
bookmarks instantaneously, without breaking a sweat.
It has a beautiful visual system for prioritizing
and classifying, so you can instantly identify the most valuable
hits in a search array along five different axes of your own
It facilitates, and allows you to customize, many
other search criteria.
It doesn't stress browsers the way their own
bookmarking facilities seem to. My Firefox doesn't crash anymore.
What a relief.
You can get to your bookmarks from any browser
you happen to be using -- I've tried Chrome and IE -- and it's a
cinch to append new bookmarks no matter how you collected them.
There's no problem bookmarking page types that
other browsers sometimes have trouble with -- PDF documents, Flash
pages, and so on.
You can bookmark your own local files,
and tag them with keywords, and keep everything in the same database
as your Internet bookmarks. This may be my favorite thing so far. It
means you can search by subject (or whatever parameters you use for
your tagging) without having to remember whether you're looking for
something that's still on the net, or for something that you saved
as a PDF or a DOC file.
It also means that you can index, tag, search,
and launch local files without having to add a specialized program.
And so you can use a single array of keywords without worrying about
interprogram compatibility issues.
You have to tell Linkman that you've moved a file
(if you do) or it won't be able to launch it. But it will still be
able to identify it. So if you lose track of
something that you've tagged and indexed, you can still ascertain
its name. Then you can track it down with a quick file search, and
update the path in the Linkman database.
But -- and this is much more to the point -- file
location loses a lot of its importance when your files are tagged
and indexed. It's no longer the main way to find things. You can
dispense with all the dedicated folders and all the decisions about
what goes where, and just search all your files at once by keyword
tags of your own choice. Do I have to say that I love
And if you do get careless, you can do your
housecleaning proactively, by setting the Bookmark Validation tool
to check your local file links. It will flag any that you've
misplaced, so you can track 'em down and put them back where they
belong. This used to be a big issue for me. I have to move files
sometimes for collaboration reasons -- in and out of Dropbox, for
example -- and I tend not to remember that they're no longer where
they ought to be until I've spent too much time hunting for them and
cursing myself for not being systematic enough in my filenames. But
not anymore... Now I can identify my stray files and tidy them up
while I'm on the phone with friends. Hey, they're all playing
FreeCell anyway, so where's the harm?
Nobody says that you can't use the Bookmark
Validation tool for checking the currency of your Internet links,
too. That's what it's for, after all...
Linkman isn't cloud-based. From my point of view,
that's an advantage. But if you want multi-computer access, it works
beautifully with Dropbox. You can also install it on a thumb drive
(which I haven't yet tried).
Unlike a Firefox profile, the Linkman database is
a cinch to back up.
And the support is beyond wonderful. Outertech
responded immediately to every question. It got to the point where I
looked forward to problems (and all my problems had to do with
peculiarities of my system, not with flaws in Linkman) because I
learned so much in the process of solving them.
That's only the beginning of the pleasures of this
program. I've had it for four months and it's still surprising me with
new capacities I didn't know it had. It can be tweaked to a perfect fit,
too, and I love that.
Linkman is a deep, rich research tool, and its power
does come at the cost of a modest learning curve. So when I can get my
act together, I will list here some of the questions that came up for me
while I was setting up my system, along with the answers to them that I
got from Outertech. I hope that this page will ease the path of any
research-minded colleagues who are thinking of experimenting with
Linkman. Because it is really, really nice to be able to find a bookmark
when you want it.
TO: Editing for Psychoanalysis
TO: Eve Golden Research
Carl Spitzweg, The Bookworm, c. 1850. Public Domain (