Monday, June 9, 2008

iBreadCrumbs - A web DVR for research

I actually might use this. iBreadCrumbs is a free online service that allows you to track and 'record' your work as you research sites on the Internet. I find that I regularly accumulate a bunch of tabs with various web sites as I am accumulating resources for any given topic. When I have to stop in the middle of my work, I have a couple options.

  • I can use the "Bookmark All Tabs" (CTRL-SHFT-D) command and create a folder.
  • More often, I simply use the Google Browser Sync Firefox extension to remember what I've been doing. This is a great tool, because I can restore all my tabs immediately when I use another computer. (I.e., the work/school shift.)
iBreadCrumbs provides another way of saving my work, but it also adds the capability of annotating my web work and sharing it with others. I can add to it later, remove sites, etc. It also provides a way of exporting citations in MLA or APA format to be included in MSWord. (Though I'm using Zotero to accomplish this function.)

To use iBreadCrumbs, you need to use Firefox, and it installs a toolbar. You simply click on the "Start" button, and it will keep track of your site visits until you stop it. You then have the option of removing any sites you don't want and adding notes. You can then save your iBreadCrumb and choose whether to make it public, viewable only to invited friends, or private.

I can see using something like this with my students, and they would be able to add more sites and add their own comments.

Some quirks that show this is still a developing resource:
  • I can't see how to toggle off/on the toolbar without disabling the extension. I don't want it taking up screen space all the time.
  • To start recording, you push the Start button. To stop recording, you push the Start button. (Sounds just like Windows, doesn't it?)
  • I noted that you can choose a privacy level when first saving the iBreadCrumb, but I don't see how to change the privacy level later.
Want to see what the results look like? Here was a quick one I pulled together while working on some LXX stuff.

HT and thanks to Jane's.

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