Put the info where you need it

The right format

  • If it’s a shell command — make a script out of it or use a snippet manager (like Pet) that will make that command easily accessible
  • If it’s a note template — make an actual template file rather than extracting the structure out of a complete document every time, and make sure that a note can be made out of that template quickly
  • If it’s a lot of information of similar structure — make it into a dataset in a machine-readable format so that its data nature can be quickly brought to light
  • If it’s a password, key, passphrase or any other kind of digital security credential — you want that stored in a safe place anyway; a password manager would be a decent pick, I myself prefer KeePass

The right place

Ideally, you should also have one source for one kind of information depending on where you may need it, not where it is. Because the more sources of bookmarks you have, the harder it gets to combine them and look them up.

If it’s knowledge about an open project — it’s best to get it contributed somewhere where all of project users can find it, which usually means the project’s own knowledge base. Posting that knowledge elsewhere is not a problem and can be useful (for redundancy or additional related details that would otherwise be off-topic), but posting it in the place most likely to be accessed by its potential users is most likely to bring about the most benefit overall.

Detractors

And various services and pieces of software keep suggesting their own quickly accessible but limited versions:

  • Browsers have their own bookmark store that’s intended for bookmarking primarily web links.
    • It can be decent, with tags and extra notes in plain text (not rich text, but at least it’s something), and often comes with synchronization across machines and even platforms, though hardwired into the browser vendor’s services.
    • Probably the only use case of it for me is for completeing addresses in the address bar. But unnecessary addresses there prove to be more of a distraction. Say, a “reading list” of links is best stored in a different place, alongside books you’d like to read. And the browser isn’t the best place for referencing books, unless of course you use a web-based reader app (and these do exist).
  • Most content hubs like social networks come with bookmarking schemes of their own, but usually dead-simple and with no information other than reference to a piece of content itself. Plus, such a service usually reserves the right to analyze your interests based on your bookmarks. Also, sometimes it’s implicit, like watch history on YouTube or “liked posts” list in your favorite social network.
    • Proved more trouble than worth. Hard to import and export, do not support any notes, sorting usually isn’t there, grouping sometimes is.
  • Online store wishlists and carts are actually a decent bookmarking scheme, albeit with dangers of its own: it kinda paints a marketing target on you, and from my experience, marketing doesn’t always know when to stop and becomes annoying. Also, do your research when purchasing, other retailers may have a better and/or more ethical deal.
    • AliExpress is a good example of annoying marketing: adding an item to the cart (?) apparently puts you on the seller’s mailing list by default, with no way to prevent that other than unsubscribing from the “promotional messages” on the “contact seller” screen after the fact. Storing a link to the item, on the other hand, does not have that effect.
    • Again, data is minimal: just a reference to a specific item. The UI usually shows the price, but only the current one, and even itlf it were to record pricing history, it couldn’t be trusted because there the platform has an interest in nudging you towards a purchase.
    • For a grocery store, if there’s an ERP system like Grocy in use, the best place to store the items is probably going to be that, since you’re likely to browse the shopping list there anyway.

Knowledge pragmatism

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