Bookmarklets and the Moment

19 February, 2005

Last night, Chris and I stayed up through the night talking about various issues arising from my recent post on tagging relationships. We covered a bunch of topics relating to the growing folksonomic zeitgeist, including ways of tagging music, how to leverage existing taxonomies to ring greater utility out of emerging folksonomies, and whether my idea of tagging the relationship between two links is (1) possible, (2) useful, (3) actually in anyway different from tagging individual pages.

Chris captured the excitement of the moment well in his post today:

i feel like i'm witnessing the front edge of the envelope of a phase change in thought and communication. almost like a revolution, in the way that the intellectual forbearers of the Declaration of Independence must have felt, sitting in thier salons, thinking of the way things could, or should, be.

While tagging itself is a big part of this feeling of zeitgeist, I think it's important not to overlook the other new technologies that are integrating the tag-web fluidly into our user experience. Specifically, I'm thinking of one recent deleopment without which, I think, tagging would not be fully possible: bookmarklets.

If you've never used one, bookmarklets are basically tiny applications that run from within a web browser. They often do things with or to the content of the current web page. The first example I came across was del.icio.us's, which lets you tag your current page and then return to it. But they can do other things as well, starting with just user input from JavaScript-generated popup menus. For example the Technorati Tags bookmarklet simply takes my keywords and generates the html I use to include the Technorati Tags at the bottom of each post here.

Both of these are examples where, without the bookmarklet, I don't think I would use the services, that's how much more convient they make things. Del.icio.us especially is almost inconceivable without using bookmarklets for posting. The del.icio.us bookmarklets (they offer several options) are what make me feel like del.icio.us is "always on"; it's what makes tagging interesting pages occur to me so easily when I find them (especailly with the fact that, in Safari, you can trigger bookmarks with numerical hotkeys -- using del.icio.us has become akin to hitting cmd+s to save).

I thought I'd start a list of cool bookmarklets (and bookmarkleting resources) here that could then be added to in the comments and the trackbacks:

M Feeds
generates podcast-friendly RSS feeds from any page that posts media files
Technorati Tags
generates html for including Technorati Tags in blog posts from your keywords
Library Lookup
looks up a book in your local library's catalog
Jesse's Bookmarlets Site
is a useful refence of bookmarlets with utility for web developers and others who are sticklers for web standards
NYT Link Generator
generates permalinks to NYT stories
Make bookmarklets from any search
is a bookmarklet that will run your specified web search on any highlighted text
Image Drag
lets you drag images around to rearrange webpages. Super cool, but doesn't work in Safari or IE (works great in Firefox)
Bookmarklets.com
is a compendium of different bookmarklets
Favelets.com
is another compendium. This one has some interesting bookmarklets for translating webpages with Babelfish
Javascript Builder
is a tool for generating the javascript to make your own bookmarklets

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