How to keep track of what you read online

You may read several online articles/ blog posts a day. Sometimes you may forget what you read and again another day you will end up finding the same article again on Google search. Instead of reading and just leaving the articles you keep track of what you read online. By tracking, you will get a bunch of additional benefits rather than what you got from those articles separately.

If you have a good database of what you read previously, you can analyze them and find what areas you have been read a lot, what subjects you actually wanted to read and interested in reading. Ultimately you can find some surprising facts about you but unknown to you before. On the other hand, by analyzing what you read you can find whether you are following your goals and objectives or not.

Some times, you may have to pause reading the article in the middle due to other reasons. In such a case you will completely forget the article or you may not be able to find it again. In such a case all your time you spent on that article may be a loss. However, if you used to keep track and have marked the status of what you read you can easily access them again.

You can give personal ranking to your article list and you can revisit your favorite article easily. Also, you can tag/ categorize the articles and access them later by tag/ category.

What are the methods that you can use to keep track of what you read online

Having said that, how do you keep track of what you read online. There are many ways that you can use for this purpose. However, when you selecting a method you should consider the following facts.

  • How easy to add/link articles to the list
  • Tagging/ categorizing the list
  • Adding remarks
  • Availability on multiple devices.
  • How easy to revisit the articles.
  • Marking the status of your reading
  • Filtering and analyzing the list
  • Rating the list based on your preference

Below is a list of methods that you can use to track your online reading. You can use the best method which meets your requirements and the way you want to retrieve your list.

1. Bookmarking in your web browser

This is the easiest method to save your web page/ blog post links. You can do it just by 1-2 clicks. The bookmarking options are included in all modern browsers. Other than mere bookmarking, you can move your links to different folders based on your categorization.

You can access the Google Chrome Bookmark Manager through Menu > Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager. In the Bookmark Manager, you can create folder, drag and drop existing bookmarks between folders and rename the bookmarks, etc…

You can synchronize your bookmark across multiple devices. Then you can access them at any time with any devices.

2. Google Bookmarks

Google Bookmarks is different from Google Chrome Bookmarks. You can access it through your Google Account. With Google Bookmarks you can save your link and add name, tags, and notes. Later And later you can use these fields to sort and filter the bookmarks list.

3. Pocket

Pocket is an application and web service developed by Mozilla Corporation for managing a reading list of articles and videos from the Internet. It is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Kobo eReaders, and web browsers.

Pockets offer several features that help you to retrieve the saved articles easily. Basically, with Pocket, you can tag saved articles and videos and later you can access them by tags. Once you save a link, it is available on all of your devices synchronized to your Pocket account. You can also share the articles with others.

By adding Pocket browser extensions, you can add your articles to the pocket account just by one click. In Firefox Pocket is a built-in feature. You can see the Pocket icon () at the RHS of your address bar.

Using the Pocket Mobile Apps, you can listen to the articles using the built-in text-to-speech option. This is a really helpful feature when your eyes and hands are busy.

You may also interested in “10 Tips to Be Productive While Commuting

4. Evernote

Basically, Evernote is a note-keeping app. You can create notebooks and save notes inside notebooks. For example, you can save the articles you read as notes. With Evernote, you can Find everything instantly on any device you have, no matter where you are.

Evernote has a lot more features than Pocket. The Evernote features include Web Clipper, Search Handwriting, Templates, Document Scanning, Multi-Device Note Sync, Notebooks and Tags, PDF and document Search, Integration with other Apps, and Centralize information with Spaces.

With Evernote Web Clipper, you can save web pages, articles, and PDFs. You can tag the articles and organize in notebooks. Later you can view them by tags or Notebooks, and even you can use their powerful search option to find your articles quickly.

By installing Evernote browser extensions you can save your articles by 1-2 clicks. And also using their mobiles and desktop Apps you can access your articles at any time from anywhere.

5. Google Sheets

Google Sheets is an online spreadsheets application available in Google Drive. It is completely free and you need to have Google Accounts to use it.

You can save details about your readings including, title, categories, tags, link, remarks, status, and ratings, etc… Later you can use these fields to filter and analyze the articles you have read.

You can access Google Sheets with any device. However, the mobile view is not that much userfriendly.

6. Google Forms

With Google Forms, you can create web forms that you can collect information online. You can design responsive forms that take the shape of your device, so that means it’s easy to add and edit information. The information you added is saved in Google Sheets on your Drive.

You can create a Google Forms to save the information about articles you have read online. Since the Google Forms are responsive, you can use it on any device easily.

Google Forms provides you a quick analysis with neat graphs and charts. And also you can use the Google Sheet which saves the form data to analyze and filter your data.

7. Create a Web App with Google Apps Script and Save the List on Google Sheets

The Google Forms is a general-purpose form builder. If you do not like the look and need a more customized solution, you can use the Google Apps Script to build your form. You can use the HTML app script service to build the interface and save the data in Google Sheets with Google Apps Scripts.

I have explained this in my previous post, “How to Create Data Entry Form with Google HTML Service and Submit Data to Google Sheets“.

8. MIX

The mix.com is a social bookmarking site where you collect and share contents you like. With Mix, you can easily create customized lists of posts you want to organize, bookmark, and recommend to others who share the same passions.

You can add your reading list to Mix and put them into the relevant collection. You can easily revisit your saved articles through these collections. Mix has both mobile apps and browser extensions, so you can access and add items to collections easily from anywhere and any device.

In mix.com you can make collection private. If you do not want others to see your collection, you can make them private.

How to get rid of 404 error

After sometimes when you try to revisit your links in the list, you may get “404 Not Found” error. This may be due to the reason that the website owner has decided to remove the post or has discontinued the website. In such a case, your saved URL is useless.

In order to keep that article forever, you can get the help of archive.org. The archive.org capture web pages as it appears now and saved in their servers.

In order to save pages on archive.org first copy the URL of the article, you want to save. Then paste it in the text box under “Save Page Now” and click Save Page button next to it. Then copy the archive.org URL related to your link and save that in your database.

What do you choose to keep track of what you read online?

In conclusion, all the methods I mentioned above has both pros and cons. If you want an in-depth analysis of your list Google Sheets or Google Forms is the best option for you. If you want a method that is simple and that can be accessed from any device, I recommend you to use Pocket.

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