Reading Lists: Beyond Bookmarks

If you like saving useful articles, papers, and pages from the web for to read later but want more than just the tagging features of bookmarking sites like Delicious or CiteULike, there are several easy-to-use products tailored to provide this service, including Instapaper and Read it Later.

Instapaper is a no-frills free web application program for organizing online articles as well as web pages. Just sign up and add a "Read Later" bookmarklet to your web browser. Whenever you find an article that you want to save, just click the button. The program saves a copy in your Instapaper account and can exclude the images and ads. Links are sorted into three categories: Unread, Recently Read, and Recently Skipped. You can access your articles from the web, via a smartphone browser or through the iPhone app that synchs to your account. The iPhone app allows you to read the article anywhere, with or without a Wi-Fi connection or a cell phone signal. Besides the free version, the developer offers Instapaper Pro, which has a tilt screen feature that lets you scroll text without touching the screen. Other features include the ability to mark your place in the text so you know where you left off and customizable fonts and text sizes.

Read it Later is an application that lets you build a reading list out of web links. It primarily is used as a Firefox add-on, but offers bookmarklets for many browsers, including Safari's mobile browser for the iPhone. The program installs icons that are used to add and retrieve items. Click the "Read Later" check mark icon (or right-click on any web page) to add a link to your reading list. The program also installs a book icon that allows you to cycle through your saved pages offline. Read It Later offers a free and a modestly priced Pro version with some added features.

Though rudimentary, Delicious can be used powerfully to manage links. This very EnhancED site uses it extensively. You can also integrate Delicious in your own content so students using it can keep track of your important links in their own Delicious account. You might have seen this link or button on a blog.
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