By CNET staff
(October 20, 2006)
It's easy to suffer from information overload when the world's data is at your fingertips. What you need are tools that help you home in on the most relevant facts and organize them. We've rounded up (in random order) some great services that help you go straight to expert sources and keep track of your research. These digital tools can keep you on track--whether you're working on a middle-school science fair, wrapping up a graduate degree, or pursuing a hobby.
4. Diigo betaHow helpful is it to bookmark a Web site if you need only one sentence from that 3,000-word article? Diigo is a free bookmarking service that lets you do what we wish Yahoo's Del.icio.us would: highlight text and comment on Web pages. Diigo caches each site so that you can search within text, not just the topic tags. And you won't have to leave the Del.icio.us community, since Diigo lets you save bookmarks simultaneously in both places.
2. WikipediaYou might shun this online, open-source encyclopedia if you've ever been burned by prank entries or fudged facts. But because anyone can edit Wikipedia, it's a richer resource than Britannica for subjects off the beaten path, such as the > 1960s underground press > or > rivethead subculture > . Though it's not the only source you should reference in term papers, at least Wikipedia gets you started. >
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Many free RSS services let you subscribe to oodles of news sources that so you don't have to hopscotch from site to site to get the scoop. But the $29 FeedDemon 2 is the best RSS reader for steamrolling through thousands of feeds. Need headlines from the science section of the world's major newspapers? Check. Want the latest research from insider blogs about solar power? Check. FeedDemon is faster and more customizable than browser-based freebies, and it also lets you access feeds online.
The “About This Page” info– if it works correctly (it’s a beta, I totally understand when things don’t work quite as expected…..especially when aggregating information from multiple APIs) the About This Page is a useful, central repository of data on a selected page. This feature could be incredibly useful to companies that want to see what people are saying about them, blogs that want to know what their readers think of their stories, and anyone curious about how their information is being perceived by readers.
Like the other social annotation services, the “Blog this” option is excellent, as it immediately does a cut and paste + login + compose + automatic reference citation.
The interface is also very straight-forward and easy to use. When you log in at diigo, there are no points of confusion, and you can easily access your bookmarks and annotated content wherever you are. I could have really used something like this in college.