ClipmarksThere has been quite a bit of talk about annotating the web lately, mainly because the recently released, Google Notebook (TechCrunch’s Review). It’s not a bad solution, although when it comes to annotating websites, I’d much rather use Clipmarks. Clipmarks not only allows you to clip text and images from websites, but creates a “page” of your set of clippings. Furthermore, rather then combining clippings from one website to a bookmark page, you can clip items from multiple sites at one time and create a single bookmark citing each source with its clippings! These pages can then optionally be shared with the Clipmarks community raising discussion and social activity, making for a much more beneficial and enjoyable experience. Let’s take a walk-through of the service to give you a better idea of its functionality.

Once you have signed up to Clipmarks, you will be asked to install a browser extension (available for Firefox, Flock, and Internet Explorer) that will allow you to easily clip text and images from any website. Once set, you will find four new icons that you can place in your browsers toolbar that allows you to clip, save, and print your clippings or navigate to the Clipmarks site. Clicking on the paper clip icon on the far left will enable clip mode on the website you are viewing. You will notice that as you move your cursor over objects on the website, a border will surround it. Find an object on the page that you want to save and click when the border is around it to clip the object. It will then show a green “clipped” box over the object and you can then select another object. Once you have clipped all the objects you want on the page, you can then save it by selecting the second Clipmarks icon in your toolbar.

Now, let’s take this a step further before I continue on saving your clippings. Say you are researching a specific topic and you have multiple sites open, each with a snippet of text or an image you want to take note of. With Clipmarks, you can simply open each source in a new tab in your browser, go into clip mode (first icon in toolbar), and clip multiple objects from each site. You will find all of your clippings still intact in each tab/site. Then, when saving your clippings, you will see that the Clipmark page will include all clippings grouped by source on one page. I have found this very useful, especially for when researching.


(Click to view a larger screenshot)

Once you have objects clipped on a website and want to save it as a clipmark page, click on the second icon in the toolbar. This will pop open a new window that shows a preview of your clip page and a form where you can add a title, assign tags, and describe your clip. You can also add a background color to your clip, assign it to a specific collection (category), or even mark it private if you don’t want to share it with the community. Once saved, you can then close the window and continue browsing or go to Clipmarks site where you can view all your clipmarks and other users clipmarks.


(Screenshot of Clipmarks Public section)

Access the Clipmarks site to view all of your saved clipmarks and other members clipmarks. At first glance it may seem a bit overwhelming, but once you understand how things are organized you will have no problem navigating and using the site. There are four main sections to Clipmarks: Mine, Public, Board, and Popular. The “Mine” section includes only your clipmarks, Public shows the latest clipmarks created by other members, Board is basically an overview page of your Clipmarks activity and activity of your favorite “clippers”, and lastly the Popular section is a listing of popular Clipmarks in a specific date range based on total “pops,” which is a Digg-like feature where users can “pop” a clipmark if they like it.


(Screenshot of Clipmarks Popular section)

For the most part, each section of Clipmarks is organized in the same manner. Each section consists of three columns. The left column acts as a type of sub navigation or filtering area that provides methods of searching, selecting tags, and viewing of sub-features of a section. The middle column is where each saved clipmark is listed, each clipmark acting as a big button which you can select to view at full in the right column. The above screenshot does not show everything in the right column, but the right column displays the clipmark, tags, and social options. You can bookmark a clipmark page to four different social bookmarking services, pop it to show you like it, and even comment to communicate with other users about the clipmark page.

Overall, I enjoy using Clipmarks. It’s fun and very helpful, especially when participating in the Clipmarks community. There are a few things that I feel can be improved on, but for the most part, I’m happy using it. I also found the Clipmarks community to be strong and that its members are very supportive about Clipmarks. They share suggestions in clips, appear to be very friendly, spread the word about the service as best as they can, and even help with ideas for Clipmarks using a seperate site built for just that, Ideas for Clipmarks. Really, I’m impressed with how respectful Clipmarks members are to the service and its founders.

Enough about the good characteristics. Here are some things that I feel needs improvement. First, when signing up and installing the extension, I was a little confused on what to do once installed because I found no difference in my browsers appearance. Soon after, I found that I had to actually customize my Firefox toolbar and add the Clipmark buttons manually. Maybe I had missed something or my Firefox installation threw it off, but if users have to do this manually, it should be documented in the help/install area. Secondly, one feature that Clipmark lacks that Google Notebook does not is the ability to modify saved clippings after it has been saved. There are times that I wanted to remove something from a clip, or maybe even add an additional snippet of text to one, but can’t. Third, you can filter and search by tags, but it appears that you can’t perform full-text searches on clips and when dealing with that much content, full-text searching would certainly improve its search capabilities. That about sums up what I feel needs improvement, but you can find more ideas of course at the Ideas for Clipmarks site.

If you like Clipmarks and want to keep up with updates, you can make a visit to the Clipmarks Blog. Also, Joe Anderson has a nice overview of Clipmarks that’s worth taking a look at.

View Clipmarks – Clip the Web.


16 Comments on “Clipping the Web with Clipmarks”

  1. Joe Anderson says:

    Thanks for the link, Brian.

  2. ???? » 2006-05-18 Information Flow says:

    [...] Clipmarks ??? Google Notebook ????? web clip tool, ???? review. [...]

  3. David Lalley/Word Design says:

    A related/similar service from a perhaps unusual source (Japan) is at http://amb.vis.ne.jp/mozilla/scrapbook/index.php?lang=en

    It seems very well thought out.

  4. UZY.nl » Blog Archive » Catching up #2 says:

    [...] Uitgebreide review van Clipmarks, een (beter?) alternatief voor Google Notebook [...]

  5. inspirat says:

    I enjoy the service. It’s funny, but I started using it today, the very day I stumble upon the revision in this site!

  6. Razib Ahmed says:

    In my part of the world (South Asia), high speed still remains a thing of the future and so serious surfers like me have to use Opera. My internet speed is just 5-6 KBPS and I use 99% of the time Opera browser because it is the fastest. So, services like Google notebook and Clipmarks will remain a thing for the future. Best luck to those of you who are using Clipmarks.

  7. Deep Codes » Re: Clipmarks says:

    [...] Clipping the Web with Clipmarks [...]

  8. Self Evident says:

    great… yet another way to volunteer bits of your soul to google. When will google offer Faustian Deals?

  9. heyjude » Working the Web - using or abusing? says:

    [...] Read the full report here.  Lets see what happens! [...]

  10. jimbo says:

    Clipmarks is another parasitical type of website leeching off of content providers. Not only does clipmarks abuse fair use of content, they outright bastardize it into some frankinbit chopped up googlygook. Clipmarks doesn’t bother to offer any site structure to it’s users, rather there is a scrunched up set of frames which rely on javascript to operate. This isn’t web 2.0, its web -2.0.

  11. Webby’s World » Updates on Clipmarks says:

    [...] If you wish to read more about Clipmarks, you could read the reviews I wrote here and at Lifehacker, or alternatively read Brian Benzinger’s article. [...]

  12. knslyr says:

    jimbo, you need to step up your medication. If you have something constructive to add to the conversation, then by all means, please do… but leave your hyperbole at the door.

    Clipmarks is an excellent way to snapshot pieces of the web that may or may not be there a day, week or month from now. It is a system for individuals (not the Clipmarks development team) to reference customized and individualized collections of information. Think “really complicated bookmarking.”

    And note, Clipmarks isn’t providing the content. The users of clipmarks are the ones who decide what to clip… therefore what shows up in the progressive cliproll.

    If that’s “leeching off content providers,” then so is 90% of the blogosphere.

    jimbo, next time you decide to make wild claims, at least try to have accurate information.

    kthxbye

  13. RecordSage says:

    The review of this site is very accurate and as a user of the service for a while – I’d definitely recommend it to anyone wishing to have a much richer bookmarking experience, where one can not only bookmark sites, but also some of their content, be able to annotate them and even make them public for acquiring other people’s opinions on the subject.

    The social aspect of the site is done very well, with self-moderation built-in, where one can easily stop viewing any content and/or comments from some ridiculous user, who does show up occasionally… although there is no moderation or censorship of any kind at this point.

    Speaking of ridiculous users… well, let’s call it what it is – idiotic users, the example of one would be jimbo and his totally inept, inaccurate, inappropriate and absurd comment regarding this service. I’d highly recommend anyone with a brain to check it out and decide for yourself.

    And jimbo – take some self-help classes… based on your comments – you sorely need them.

  14. Rie says:

    I can’t seem to control the orange lines it always wants to clip areas I don’t want clipped, also where is the help forum? I can’t find that either, apart from that I think its great, if I could use it.

  15. Clipmarks Discussion « Clipmarks says:

    [...] A Clipmarks overview from awhile ago, and the Clipmarks official blog (here at wordpress.com, with Youtubulars working! Grr…). [...]

  16. Nik says:

    “Maybe I had missed something or my Firefox installation threw it off, but if users have to do this manually, it should be documented in the help/install area.”

    Had the same problem. Almost went crazy, but you saved the day!

    Many thanks, Brian!