Thursday, 22 January 2009

Processing Pages With Links

Great post by Ken Allan asking - What do you do with a Fan of Links? This is all about what to do when you encounter a page that links to many other possibly interesting pages. This relates to the strategies that I defined for how to process information in the posts Better Memory and Information Radar. However, this is a slightly different twist that I'm sure we all recognize:
  • I'm reading a page with lots of links
  • I know that some of the links are going to be good stuff
and either
  • I don't have time to go read all the pages linked, or
  • I don't want to lose the flow of the original post to go look at the other links.
But, if I don't visit the other pages, then they will not have made it into your virtual Google Memory (as described in Better Memory).

So, what do you do?

The suggestion by Tim on Ken's post is pretty much what I do, but I'm going to modify it slightly:
  • Ctrl+Click on interesting looking links. This opens it in a new tab but keeps focus on the current window (if you've set up your browser that way).
  • Continue to skim-dive-skim the article.
  • When I'm done with the page, I decide if I'm going to spend more time right now or at a later time going through this.
  • If I want to come back, I often will bookmark it with a particular tag that reminds me to look at it again.
  • If it's really important to come back, I set a reminder in my calendar - those are my task lists.
  • If I have more time, right then, I will continue to skim-dive-skim the pages that I've opened and process them.
The key here was to open those pages so that you've got them in your Google memory. They become full-text searchable.

One warning - as most of us are infovores / information addicts and we hold dearly to the myth of keeping up. So, don't be surprised if you quickly accumulate a fairly large list of "read later" tagged items. You will find that you need to really be careful about what you put on that list or you will never read it.

Other Posts in the Series

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