Friday, July 9, 2010


Ever hear of "the cloud"?

Well, imagine being able to find and access a document you inadvertently left on your desk, that photo of your kid in the newspaper, or an exact quote from the NYT article you read online this morning. Now, imagine being able to access these items on whatever device is handy at that moment: your iPad, an android phone, that bulky laptop of yours. Wish you could do this and more?

Enter Diigo...

Diigo is a self-proclaimed, cloud-based information management system. Yes, I know, it's a mouthful.

To put it in simpler terms, Diigo is a place that helps you get to all your stuff (digitally speaking, of course). If you're anything like me, you spend plenty of time online. You're reading, researching, catching up on the latest news, reading for entertainment and doing just about everything online. At the end of the day, what do you have to show for it?

All I seem to have left after a day online is a laundry list of my browsing history, a few new bookmarks, several windows filled with various tabs I'm afraid to close and my physical notebook full of various notes and scribbles. Wouldn't it be great if there were something that would help me organize? This video actually claims that Diigo "aims to dramatically improve your online productivity". Who could say no?

First, research in the Diigo landscape is conducted online in a number of ways. We all spend time researching articles, finding factual information and analyzing the validity of such information. The key here is that Diigo offers the ability to help mark up, make notes, bookmark pages and actually archive your research for later use. You can highlight information in an article, add your own comments by leaving a sticky note or clip a photo for future reference. The great thing is that your notes stay on the page when you return. You can even archive these annotated web pages as a PDF file. No more worries that a web page or article will disappear from the it's original link.

Second, is the ability to share what you have found with others in the Diigo community. You can choose to share your findings publicly, with a specific group or keep things private. You can even post to a blog or twitter account through Diigo and send annotated, or marked-up, web content to your group. In the Diigo world, you can read an article and highlight some interesting information. Rather than emailing an article and waiting for someone to read the whole thing, the conversations can start around some highlights and notes shared directly with a friend. You can even build what Diigo calls a 'personal learning network' that invites friends and colleagues to access your information.

Finally, in a world where the word 'collaboration' seems to be bandied about quite a bit, Diigo might just have a leg up. In this world, you can create a collaborative workspace for your colleagues, students, friends or anyone interested. Once the group is created, everyone can share articles, make comments based on annotations and keep a body of research all in one place. The best part about this is that you can access this information on any number of devices, anywhere and anytime.

For those of you who may be a bit frustrated with the inability to utilize web2.0 applications on your devices due to a lack of flash compatibility, have no fear. Diigo is available (in various forms) for numerous browser applications, Android devices, iPhone and even the new iPad. Simply go to the tools section on the Diigo website.

Diigo is quick to point out that they have evolved from a simple bookmarking tool to a group-based collaborative research application with the ultimate goal of helping you collect and share everything that is digital. A pretty lofty goal, but Diigo is clearly positioning themselves to secure their own piece of "the cloud".

We're not all in "the cloud" just yet (or even know what this is), but we're all moving in that direction whether we like it or not. It's time to start figuring out what all this means. Maybe there is some real value for the classroom.

Oh yeah, did I mention this is all FREE?

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