sean cassidy : How to Organize Your Brain with Bookmark Tags

in: programming
Odd as it may seem I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me. Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman

I keep track of my reading online with a useful method: I bookmark most interesting things I read, and then I tag them with every word I can think of. This scales much better than the alternative, which is trying to Google everything.

Let me share an example.

I was reading a blog post Eric Lippert wrote about lexical scoping when I remembered that this is one of the things that annoyed me about Chef recipes: resource names aren't lexically scoped in all cases.

Not wanting to forget this, I tagged it:

chef dynamic knife lexical opscode programming scoping static typing

So, now when I'm looking for articles about lexical scoping, or Chef, or programming in general, this article will come up.

How to do it

The method here is to sit and think for a few seconds about every single thing that comes to mind when you think of an article or discussion you read.

It's helpful to have a few category tags, like "programming", or "politics", but don't worry about strictly categorizing anything. If it's both politics and programming, put it in both!

You should put between 5 to 10 tags on each bookmark. You'll surely get some false positives when searching, but that's better than the alternative.

If you make the investment to do this, you'll need a browser that supports it, like Firefox. Chrome still doesn't support bookmark tags although there are extensions that do. Some people use del.icio.us or Xmarks to do the same thing. I don't like social bookmarks as much, so I use Firefox.

I find it useful to recall information this way. Maybe you will too.

Sean is the CTO and co-founder at DefenseStorm, a cloud cybersecurity startup.

Follow @sean_a_cassidy