Notefish is a multipurpose tool that allows you to organize online information. You do have to register to use this service, but it’s free.
The technology (or what are my powers?)
Downloading the Notefish toolbar button places it on your browser, ready for use.
You can start a new page from the Notefish home page after signing in.
You can also simply click on the Notefish button and a menu will pop up asking if you want to create a new page or add to an existing page.
Highlight a section of a page you’re interested in by selecting it and right click. Select the “Notefish: copy” option if you already have a landing page created for your information.
You’ll see a note on your Notefish page that includes the name of the web page you were on and the url, as well as your highlighted text. You can click on the note to return to the web page. Your notes will appear in the order you added them time-wise.
Time to organize
The real power of Notefish is what you can do next. You can:
- drag your notes around to organize them spatially
- click on a note and change its heading color to organize notes on similar topics by color
- you can create named sections on your page to place your notes in different sections
- you can edit your note to add your own comments to a text field
Once you’ve organized your notes, new information will be added to the bottom of the page in what’s essentially a slush pile section until you move your new notes to appropriate sections.
Finally, you can also share your pages with others (don’t forget to add tags to make them easier to find).
There are many bookmarking and annotating tools out there (Diigo, being my personal favorite) and for me, the power of Notefish is not in bookmarking per sé, but in the ability to collect my information on a page and visualize the relationships between various notes.
However, there’s a limit to the amount of information you’ll want to put on any one page, and as you create multiple pages on a single topic, you might want to add a higher level of organization to them. Right now, there isn’t a way to create folders of pages on Notefish, so you might consider using another tool to add this higher level of organization. For example, you can save your Notefish page(s) to a Zoho Notebook as shown in the image below.
The collaboration features of Zoho notebook let you extend the range of Notefish since people you’ve shared your notebook with can add pages of their own, using blank pages of a Zoho Notebook to collect lengthier comments from your team, as well as images and other media.
As a tool for students, Notefish is extremely easy to use and the act of organizing compels some thought about the information being collected. As I suggested when using Diigo, students should get into the habit of taking a “So what? Now what?” approach to annotating Web pages to become more reflective readers. Notefish can quickly allow you to see patterns in online research you’re doing, facilitating this process.