Your online archive: Furl
Ever wondered to one of your favorite webpages? Sometimes you know you have seen the link somewhere or you searched it on the internet yet you seem to have stumbled upon a dead link. This is terrible especially if you have been planning to cite it or you wanted to go back to it for reference (to get whatever kind of information it has).
But wait! There is a way! *drumroll please*
Furl – which stands for File URL gives you the ability to archive webpages. Not only does Furl allow you to save URLs of your favorite sites or articles, it stores a copy for you and well, you alone. I have stumbled upon Furl some time last year, before it became absorbed by LookSmart (which is why it is now “Looksmart’s Furl”). Last year, I was worried about it becoming not free anymore when LookSmart acquired it but it still is. From then on, I have been archiving various pages: from articles about culture, book reviews, tutorials, etc. The interface is not very difficult to understand. It mainly asks you to categorize the article (and you could add your own categories), rate it, select a clipping and so on. It is similar to del.icio.us, if you think about the URL saving feature but with Furl you have various options on how you’d like to save it. Save it quickly (you don’t rate it, you don’t select a clipping from the article, etc.), you save it and add the basic details you want, or you could save it and add a lot of details (makes me think of cataloguing, actually). How do you furl the pages? Well, you have to add bookmarklets to your browser, and there’s also the Furl toolbar. These things are already in the basic howto’s in the Furl site
Copyright and Furl
This has been something that concerned a lot of Furl users and people who make their content available online. As Amy Gahran pointed out here, Furl has clarified that there’s no need to worry about that because a Furl user’s online archive cannot be viewed except by the Furl user himself/herself when logged on. Furl archives in the public view (meaning what everyone else could see) shows the pages’ titles and gives the links to the actual pages and not the archived copy. Furl users who are logged on to their accounts can choose which version of the articles they would like to view: the actual or the archived one. Sometimes the actual ones have already been moved somewhere else but the URL isn’t indicated or something like it so when those incidents happen, you still get to read it.
Furl and del.icio.us
Von Totanes and I have talked briefly about these services and he did mention to me that Mary Ellen Bates prefers Furl over del.icio.us. Personally, I use both services. I like the very simple interface of del.icio.us and the tag bundles and inbox groupings I have (of the users and tags I am subscribed to) and I like the archiving features of Furl. Both are very useful for sharing information you like, deem important, your wishlist, etc. Both have RSS and tags/categories. These services both provide ways for you to share them on your blogs too. In the end, it depends on how you actually use and need these services.