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Genealogy, Technology

Technology Tuesday – Pearltrees

I was searching for a Chrome extension to make notes, specifically of genealogy-related websites that I’d come across that week. Every Friday I read other bloggers accounts of the stuff they’ve found, but can’t be bothered to track back through my bookmarks to record mine. I’ve got Tomboy of course, but I was thinking more of something in my browser that would somehow let me click a button and record that site for quick retrieval at the end of the week.

Didn’t find exactly what I had in mind, but I did find Pearltrees – “a place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web”. I signed for a free account, and installed the “pearler”, an extension that adds a button to your toolbar allowing you to “pearl” or collect web pages. You can organise into trees, which are collections of pearls, and into sub-trees too if necessary.

The interface is simple, and uses click-and-drag to organise. You can search other users pearltrees, and work in teams if you wish.

This shows my main pearltree page – the items with a pale-blue avatar are pearltrees, which contain the pearls shown. Clicking “related interests” at the top left lets me search for items related to the pearl or pearltree which is focussed on at the moment, in this case my “Genealogy” pearltree.

This is a close-up of part of one of my pearltrees – you can easily see which site is linked to each pearl.

This panel appears with each pearltree, and shows how many pearls it contains, if anyone has commented on it or “picked” it (added it to their pearltree), and allows you to share. I haven’t tried using the team function yet, but this lets you work in collaboration with others researching the same topics.

The FAQS page gives information about privacy, and on downloading your pearls and trees – you own the data, and if you decide pearltrees isn’t for you, you can download in RDF. These files can be opened by Firefox and XML browsers on Mac, Linux and Windows.

I like using it, it’s easy to learn to use, and fun. I find those qualities make me do things that I ought to do, but don’t bother with if there’s anything even slightly “hard work” about it. This is supposed to be a fun hobby for me, after all!

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