Stop Hunting Around for Lost Articles: Use Yahoo! MyWeb

Have you ever “lost” an article?

You know what I’m talking about — you started reading something great, bookmarked it, and then when you went looking for it two months later the only thing you can find is 404 Page Not Found? Or maybe you found it, but now the website wants you to fork over some cash in order to see it?

I hate emailing myself a link, or bookmarking it, only to learn later that the material is off-limits. The biggest culprit was the New York Times. Until recently, they would charge you for access to articles that were more than 10 days old. That meant that if I read a great editorial and the topic came up during a discussion with someone two weeks later, I couldn’t send him the link (how many students pay to read archived news?).

But there were other sites too – for instance, a couple of years ago, Poynter.org ran an amazing article series called Fifty Writing Tools. It was the best writing advice I’d ever received, and I bookmarked the index page so that I could come back to read it again and again. A few months ago, I went back to Poynter to find that half of the links were broken. I wish I could have saved those articles somewhere, and shared them with some of my friends who are aspiring journalists. (Incidentally, in writing this article I went back to Poynter and was absolutely delighted to find that the writing tips are back in the form of podcasts. Check them out at http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&aid=103943).

Digg and del.icio.us are fantastic social bookmarking sites, but they don’t allow you to save your own copies of a web page.

Yahoo! introduced a very handy resource for bookmarking pages a couple of years ago. It’s part of Yahoo! MyWeb, which is still in Beta – I guess they were taking a page from the book of Google, no pun intended. (Alright, maybe a little.)

Head over to http://myweb.yahoo.com, and once you’ve signed up, click on My Bookmarks. Since you’re just starting out, you don’t have any bookmarks. So let’s add one. On the MyWeb banner with the search box, find the link for Add Page. When you click it, a pop-up window will open up asking you for the url of the page and some other details. I took a screenshot of my own MyWeb Bookmarks page, with the window open.

Screenshot of MyWeb

As you can see, it is possible to set both public and private access levels. However, the option we are most interested in appears all the way at the bottom, in the form of a checkbox next to “Store a copy of this page.” Fill out the form, making sure that this option is checked.

When you submit the page, you’ll see something like the display in the background of my screenshot, in the main browser window. As you can see, I have saved four articles (more, actually), and for three of those articles I have added the note “For use in blog”. I got tired of linking to articles only to have them moved to paid archives (see earlier rant about New York Times). Those dates say 2008 but they are actually 2005 (I edited something small so it updated the date). If you click the titles, you will be taken to www.nytimes.com. However, if you click the little link that says “My saved copy” that I’ve circled in red, you’ll be taken to this page. Isn’t that cool?

Some convenient toolbars for your browser are available here. And if you want to use Yahoo! MyWeb for your social bookmarking, you can share saved pages with friends and colleagues under the My Contacts tab. You’ll have to add a contact first, but after that you can share easily. Try it out — my user is sadp182.

I use MyWeb occasionally to bookmark my favorite articles, to save a link when I’m putting it up on my blog, and for saving internet-based references when I’m doing research and need to be able to come back later. I hope you’ll find it useful as well!