You may read several online articles/ blog posts a day. Sometimes you may forget what you read, and again another day, you will search for the same article again on Google search. Instead of reading and just leaving the articles, you keep track of what you read online. When you track reading, you will get many additional benefits rather than what you got from each article separately.
If you have a good database of what you read previously, you can analyze them and find what areas you have been reading a lot, and what subjects you actually wanted to read and interested in. 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.
Sometimes, 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 the 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 re-access them.
You can give a 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.
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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 to track reading. However, when you are 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 use bookmarking not only to track reading but also to access your online tools and frequently used web sites more easily.
You can access the Google Chrome Bookmark Manager through Menu > Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager. In the Bookmark Manager, you can create folders, drag and drop existing bookmarks between folders, rename the bookmarks, etc…
By login to your browser, 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 names, tags, and notes. Later you can use these fields to sort and filter the bookmarks list.
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 beneficial feature when your eyes and hands are busy.
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. So, you can use this track your reading on any device.
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 them 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 with 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, 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 user-friendly.
6. Google Forms
With Google Forms, you can create web forms that you can collect information online. You can design responsive forms that take your device’s shape, 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 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 stores 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
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 Script.
I have explained this in my previous post, “How to Create Data Entry Form with Google HTML Service and Submit Data to Google Sheets“.
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. The mix.com is not only for track reading; you can also find interesting content under your interest categories.
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.
On 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 a “404 Not Found” error; this may be because 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.
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 the 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 have 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 to track reading that is simple and can be accessed from any device, I recommend using Pocket.