Why Diigo Could be Your New Best Friend

by Sandy Millin

Do you ever use bookmarks in your web browser, but can only access them from one computer? Or get annoyed because you can’t remember how to find a great activity you saw on a site which would be perfect for this afternoon’s lesson? If the answer to either of those questions is ‘yes’, diigo could be the answer.

Diigo is an abbreviation for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff.” (which I found out while writing this!) and has completely changed the way I use the internet. It is a way of saving web pages and notes online so that they are accessible from any device. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up for a free diigo account at diigo.com.
  1. Download ‘diigolet’, which should work with any browser. This is what I have on Safari on my iPad. If you have Chrome, you can use their extension instead (as seen in the examples below). If you prefer Firefox, there is a diigo toolbar. You can find them all by following this link: http://bit.ly/ihjdiigolet
  1. Find the page you want to bookmark. Click on the diigo icon to show the options:

  1. Click on ‘Save’ so that this window appears:

  1. Add as many tags as you can think of. The more you add, the easier it will be to find the page again later. You can also add a description of the page, or include a quote which you want to refer to later. The ‘Annotate’ option in the menu in step 2 also lets you add highlighting in different colours to the page, which is particularly useful for research.
  1. Click the blue ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the window. A red ribbon appears on the diigo logo to show that it has saved successfully.

  1. Your bookmark should now appear in your diigo list, looking something like this:

Once you’ve got a few bookmarks, it’s very easy to search them. If they’re public, you can also search other people’s bookmarks. Here are mine for you to have a go: http://diigo.com/user/sandymillin

To search, choose a tag from the list on the left, view all tags, or type into the search box. As you can see, after five years of using diigo I have a lot of bookmarks! Although it might seem overwhelming at first, you can use the plus button next to tags to make them cumulative and narrow down the list of sites you’re looking at. For example, by clicking ‘reading’, then ‘activities’, then ‘ielts’, I’ve gone from over 6000 bookmarks, to just six relevant ones:

You can also share bookmarks with other people using direct links, so https://www.diigo.com/user/sandymillin/delta takes you to all of my bookmarks with the ‘delta’ tag. I’ve used this function with students by tagging a set of videos I wanted them to watch, then sharing the link. It’s much faster than giving them five different links!

Of course, diigo isn’t the only site you can use for online bookmarking. Other options are Evernote and Delicious. I like diigo because of how easy it is to use, and particularly to share links with other people, and all of the functionality I need it for is currently free. If you change your mind about which site you want to use or want to have a back-up, it’s easy enough to download all of your bookmarks from diigo and upload them to one of the other sites.

I hope you can see how useful online bookmarking is as it makes your bookmarks accessible from any computer, tablet or phone, and can be used to enhance your own professional development or with your students in class. Good luck!

Author’s Bio: Sandy Millin has just started work as the Director of Studies at IH Bydgoszcz in Poland. She was previously the DoS at IH Sevastopol, a much smaller school. She is hoping that she asked the right questions of herself before she agreed to do take on this much bigger task! She will be blogging about her experience at http://sandymillin.wordpress.com. You can tell her what questions she missed by tweeting her @sandymillin.