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Durham University

University Library

Organising the Web

There are many ways to try and save and manage the useful sites and information you will find around the internet. Increasingly, services previously defined around an exclusive use-case (e.g. social networking, social bookmarking, blogging) are becoming more difficult to distinguish from each other, with multiple platforms offering similar tools. We have tried to highlight below a few services you may find useful.

Social Bookmarking

'Social bookmarking' services were orginially defined services with the purpose of allowing users to collect and organise content they found on the web. They offered users the ability to:

  • Save useful websites in an online account, which they can easily return to anytime, anywhere.
  • Allow you to group saved websites into 'groups' or 'folders' based on the subject content or intended use.
  • Allow you to 'tag' individual pages with a keyword describing what immediate description you would attach to the content (e.g. #biochemistry, #darkmatter, #thesiswriting, #openaccess).

This type of functionality is now commonly seen in many web browsers, or in services such as Reddit, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - but often with a primary driver of social networking or profile raising.

Some services do still exist which retain that primary focus of helping to organise documents or pages found on the web, such as BibSonomy, Diigo or Pearltrees:

Also note that reference management software such as Mendeley and Zotero now offer some of the same functionality.

Way Back Machine

Archiving the web

Websites are constantly changing, being updated or disappearing entirely. It can be useful to make a note of when you accessed a web page and what infromation you retrieved in case it subsequently changes or cannot be found (and many referencing styles account for this, expecting an "accessed" date within the citation).

There are also some useful services which you can use which may have stored a 'snapshot' of a web page, as it was on a particular date, which you can reference or return to.

Your Academic Liaison Librarian

James Bisset

Senior Manager
Library Research Services

0191 334 1589

DU Library Blog

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