Sunday, February 21, 2010

Timesaving Firefox plugins

I love having 100 things going on at once, and I've noticed this busy week that Firefox deserves an "assist" (or best supporting actor nomination!) in accomplishing my GeneaBlogger Games tasks this week because I've had to juggle a lot of random and completely unrelated stuff this week! Unfortunately for my computer, this means I frequently have 20+ tabs open at once in my Internet browser. Here are some things that have really helped me.

First, I've organized and synchronized my bookmarks using Xmarks. This way I can go from netbook to laptop to desktop to library computer without losing a bookmark. I've organized them into folders including folders for various clients and projects currently underway so that I can bookmark frequently referenced FHLC entries. For instance right now I have a folder called "Joe" and within that folder I have bookmarked the FHLC pages containing the film numbers for the wills, deeds, and other records I am planning to use so that I don't have to look them up again and again as I progress through the research and so that I don't have to keep the tabs open from day to day. I just synchronize them and then I don't have to worry what computer I happen to be using that day.

I also recently found another Firefox plugin which does essentially the same thing, except I don't think it synchronizes to a server for use on multiple computers. It's called ScrapBook, and it will allow me to save a collection of tabs into a single session so that I can recall that session and "reclaim" all the tabs I had open for that particular project. Nice.

I also tried Read It Later, although I have a folder called "Read this later" in my Xmarks. Like Xmarks, Read It Later lets you save a url to a list synchronized on their server so you can retrieve it from your iphone, whatever, to read later. Nice, but I decided to stick with my "Read this later" folder in Xmarks so everything would be in the same place.

While I'm on the subject, I have two more plugins that I've been using a lot this week, as I plow through my GeneaBlogger Games goals. The first is called Screenshot Pimp. It allows me to capture an entire website as a .png. This is handy for grabbing the entire screen of an database search result, database transcription, etc. if I don't pdf it. It's an image, so it's not text-searchable, but it will capture the full screen including title, breadcrumbs, transcriptions etc. in one click & save for storage as reference. Very handy.

Example screenshot using Screenshot Pimp for Firefox on an census view. Notice breadcrumb, citation, and transcription for reference!

And, lastly, I love TableTools. It allows me to copy and paste html tables as tab or comma delimited text to paste into Excel for sorting. That way I can port over the results of a search and crunch the data better in Excel by sorting, adding cross references and comments, etc. Linked to the .png of the reference generated with Screenshot Pimp, I can start something, get interrupted, and still pick up right where I left off without losing my train of thought.

And these days, that means a lot!


Tracy said...

Love the name of your blog! I am looking forward to reading more from you in the future.

A rootdigger said...

wow, where do find all those handy dandy " things ".they sound neat.
thanks for sharing that. I think I will learn a lot from you.

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