Friday, December 5, 2008

Firefox Addons for Researching and Organizing

I've found a few Firefox addons that have proven useful.
Sifrei Kodesh: If you know Hebrew, this is a very helpful addon. Aaron Sarna, the author describes it:

Combining the power of Firefox, Google and the Mechon Mamre text library, this extension allows you to search the Hebrew texts of Tana"ch, Mishna, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi, Tosefta and Mishna Torah. You can search as broadly as all of these sources or as specifically as a single book of Tana"ch, a single tractate of Mishna or a single set of Halachot of the Mishnah Torah. The extension includes an onscreen Hebrew keyboard to assist those who do not know the Hebrew keyboard layout and/or do not have Hebrew input support on their machines. (You can use this keyboard to copy and paste Hebrew text into other things also).

This is still in development. There are many more features to come, including morphological search, search term highlighting and find in page. Let me know if you have any other suggestions.
The site describes a bit more, but (for now) it doesn't have the latest version that works under Firefox 3. Get the latest version HERE. After you install it, it wasn't immediately clear to me how to get to it. It is available through the Tools menu, but what I did is right click somewhere on the menu bar of Firefox, select Customize, find the Sifrei Kodesh icon, and drag it to a toolbar.
SimplyBox: This is a handy tool for clipping and organizing. There is a nice video on the site, but basically you draw around whatever part of the screen you want to save. You can then either email it directly through SimplyBox or organize it into 'boxes' that you create. It requires a free account. Instead of the toolbar taking up room, I choose simply to keep it as an icon in my status bar of Firefox and click for it whenever I need it.
Juice: "Juice is an intelligent discovery engine that integrates seamlessly with your browser.
Highlight and move a chunk of text, and Juice directly delivers a set of rich, relevant content to you." Still in beta, but it works fine. The interesting thing here is that you search on a "chunk of text," not just a word or two. It does natural language processing to try to figure out what the text is about and returns results based on it. You can leave it closed, and I set it to open when I drag a block of text over to the side, and then it opens the sidebar. You can choose Google, Yahoo, or LiveSearch as the engine, and results can be bookmarked and
organized. Give it a try on some biblical text! Here I pulled up Mark 4.30-32 from the oremus Bible Browser, highlighted the text, dragged to the side, and the juice sidebar opened. It provides a variety of web results (web, images, news, videos, blogs), and you can see from the images it found that it picked up "mustard" and "Jesus teaching" as key elements.
UPDATE: I have just uninstalled Juice after a couple days. I'll check it again later, but for now, it brought my browser to a crawl. Memory usage jumped from Firefox's usual max of ~250Kb footprint to over 1Mb. Uninstalled Juice and things are back to speed.
UPDATE: In light of a question asked in the comments, the oremus Bible Browser is a standalone, online service. I like it because it offers the NRSV. BUT, the way I usually access it is through my Firefox search box. Check this post, and grab the OpenSearchFox plugin. It adds an "Add OpenSearch plugin" to your menu. Click on any search box on the oremus or any other page, and it automatically adds it to your list of search options.

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