How do I return to already visited web pages? I never (or very occasionally) bookmark web pages. I have around 100 bookmarked pages which I haven’t used in a few years or even more. I also have 26 bookmarks in Bookmarks toolbar in Firefox which are always visible (favicons only and not the text) but I rarely use these as well. I often type the address in the location bar and Firefox would suggest me pages that I already visited. I often select a page just after typing in three letters. I also use a RSS reader to read news from web sites I’m interested in and I often open these sites from a reader. Occasionally (one or two times a year) I use browser’s history as well but I never order it by time and I always use keyword search. I do use "Recently closed tabs" as well if I want to return to a tab I know I recently closed. Another technique I use is simply Google. I rely on Google a lot. I tried to use other search engines as well but I really like the minimalistic approach (which is becoming more bloated with time)
Today I tried to find train prices between Birmingham Airport and the main train station in Birmingham. I knew I visited a web site last September (11 months ago) and I thought I could recall it from a list of pages returned by the search engine (sometimes they are even marked as visited). I typed "birmingham international airport train" and the firs result was a "Page not found" site. I had a good laugh. It’s surprising that Google keeps 404 pages in their index. Ok 404 pages are nicer than they used to be (provided by a web browser) and they contain images and links and they don’t look like 404 pages anymore …. But still. First result on a list a 404 page made me laugh :). Thx Google.
If anyone is interested there are many papers on how people use bookmarks and find information on the web:
- Abrams et. al.: How people use WWW bookmarks (ACM)
- Jones et. al.: Keeping found things found on the web (MS – pdf)
- Jones et. al.: Once found, what then? A study of “keeping” behaviors in the personal use of Web information (MS – PDF)
- Dix et. al.: At the right time: when to sort web history and bookmarks (LU – PDF)
PS: I received a comment from a friend that I could use Google History as well. But for now I will just use not yet another tool approach to it. I’ll not give myself up to THE big corporation 🙂