Public Bookmarking


You're searching the internet to answer a question you have, and after some painstaking detective work you locate the answer. Where do you store the answer for future reference?

One approach is to use your browser’s bookmark list. This list however can get unwieldy. My bookmark file currently contains 1800 entries. I used to categorize them, but I haven't done this for years; now they simply accumulate at the bottom. However, a better option is available.

Often nowadays I don't randomly search the web for an answer, but start my search at an organized collection of knowledge, most often the Wikipedia. If what I'm looking for is not there, then a remarkably productive option for storing the answer for future reference, is to edit the corresponding Wikipedia article and add it there, preferably with a note pointing the definitive source. In this way one contributes back to the public knowledge repository, and keeps the answer handy for future reference.

This approach isn't limited to Wikipedia. Earlier today I was looking for the person behind the quote

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.
I though it was Brian Kernighan, but a search through the FreeBSD fortunes file (fortune -m "not worth knowing") came up with the quote without an attribution. Through a web search I found that Alan Perlis was the man behind the quote. In this case, I committed the change to the FreeBSD fortunes file, again with a pointer to the corresponding web site.

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Last modified: Monday, April 24, 2006 3:42 pm

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