Thursday, November 29, 2007

Firefox Setup for Heavy Research

I use Firefox quite routinely for searching things. However, it can still be quite confusing when I do heavy research. I sometime felt lost when the amount of links and followup explode. A little more structurized approaceh and workflow could help here. After quite some time trying things out, I currently settle with the setup below.

The extensions used :
  • Advanced Bookmark Search and Locate in Bookmark Folders. I think without these folder in Firefox's bookmark is only half useful (or half useless, depends on your preference) since you cannot trace back search to folder hierarchy. I don't like storing things in Firefox Bookmark when I find this out. These extensions enable me to depend on it again.
  • Scrapbook. I rarely saved any page again, at least not conventionally. I can save and organize page just by dragging things around using this extension.
Mechanism used :
  • Something that need to be read is saved in Scrapbook while useful links are gathered in bookmark. It's not exclusive though, a link can be both go to scrapbook and bookmark.
  • Setup designated folders, both in Bookmark and Scrapbook. Some folders that used a lot in research : project, task and tmp folder. Project is for long term (more than a day) work while task is for immediate task that I do. Both actually almost one to one mapping from Project and Task in GTD. If a project or task need researching, I made folder with it's name in Bookmark and Scrapbook. However, I usually only add them when there's at least one link/page. The tmp is to dump everything else.
  • Drag links and pages in relevant folder to keep the tab to reasonable size. If a link/page can't be decided instantly to go into project or task folder, drag them to tmp to be followed up later.
  • Archive links and pages when done. Move them to a more "stable" folders for future reference.
I find this setup and mechanism makes my browsing more focus and help a lot in avoiding mindless wandering around. It also helps in preserving the resources I find along the process with more ease.

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