When your expertly curated resource list grows to a dozen links or more, you need to organize. Organizing isn’t difficult, but it’s a drag to have to do it repeatedly. Here’s what you need for easy access to your reference links that you only need to set up once:
Landing on a list of links can be daunting, but if you have some idea what you are looking for you can find it fast with search filtering. Search filtering is a search text box that automatically filters the displayed links as you are typing. Even with a lot of links, search filtering finds what you are looking for in seconds.
Filtering looks at the link text, but also at your description. Searching the link text finds resources based on what they are. Searching your description finds resources based on why they are helpful. Searching both gets you serious retrieval power.
Search filtering is probably the single most important tool for accessing your resource links, but it’s only helpful if you know what you are looking for. For easy access, you want more ways in.
When you are not sure what resources are available, or you want to quickly focus your view, selecting by categorical keyword is a fast and easy way to start. Categorical keywords are effective because they are tailored specifically for your resource links. Selecting by keyword provides pushbutton access to relevant resources, and it gives overview information about what kinds of resources are available.
To create category keywords, look over your current links and divide them into 4-6 general subject classifications. It’s ok if a resource link belongs to more than one category. It’s also ok if you have fewer than 4 categories, you can add more later if you need them. Your list should have several links for each category now, and the potential to hold more resource links in the future.
Categorical keywords are more powerful when they are not obvious search terms. If you are having difficulty categorizing, or if your links do not naturally categorize into a handful of higher level keywords, it’s better to skip categories and focus on type keywords instead.
Where categorical keywords classify links within the subjects they are related to, type keywords classify links based on how they present information. For example a list of new technology resources might have categorical keywords like “biotech”, “computing”, “energy” etc. and type keywords like “overview”, “reference”, “research” etc.
Type keywords are most useful when you are using your resource list for a few specific purposes, or when you want to support other people accessing your list for specific reasons. In those cases, providing a type keyword to use as a general filter can be extremely helpful for focusing in on relevant resources for the purpose at hand. Type keywords can also be used together with search filtering.
Be very sparing with type keywords. More than 4 gets hard to work with. If you are not absolutely sure a type keyword will be helpful, add it later instead. The best way to know when to add a type keyword is to pay attention to those times when you are searching and wish you had an additional type filter to help narrow the results. If you find you aren’t using a type keyword, delete it.
High level general media types (e.g. book, video, movie, music etc) are best kept conceptually separate from type keywords to avoid clutter.
Ok, enough about keywords. On to ratings and time.
Quick access to your favorite resource links is super convenient for accessing those resources you most recommend. Anyone who trusts your judgement enough to be looking through your resource links will find your top recommendations immensely valuable. Everyone loves an expertly curated top 10 list.
There are only two hassles with a favorites list: choosing and updating. While that’s pretty much everything, you can do this automatically sorting by rating and recency. Think of your favorites as your most recent, most highly rated resource links.
That’s not to say that rating things isn’t hard. Here’s a strategy:
- Start with your highest rating (5 stars or whatever)
- Consider these guiding questions:
- How relevant is this resource to your list?
- How important is it?
- What is the overall quality of the resource?
- What is the primacy or authority of the resource?
- What is your affinity? Did you create this resource or wish that you had?
- Adjust your rating down as needed.
You can also adjust your rating for anything later it it turns out not to be quite as great as you first thought, or if it turns out to be more helpful than you expected.
Frequently, the resource link you want is one that you recently added. This happens partly because that resource is still in your active memory, but it may also be especially relevant to your current situation professionally or socially. Viewing your list of resource links purely by time is important to support quick recall that works with your memory. Seeing your recent resource links also provides a sense of context for how your list is growing, and provides fresh info for anyone visiting your resource links page.
Showing your most recent resource links is straightforward, just remember to only go by creation time. Fixing a typo or changing a rating does not move a resource link to the top of the recency display.
Organizing your resource list automatically is essential to avoid getting bogged down in presentation maintenance. All these features and more are available for free at membic.org.
Hope that helps.