Ideas behind Bookmarklets no particular order

The popularity of the world wide web has produced a very large number of documents in digital form within a very short time. Digital documents differ from traditional documents; they can be manipulated far more easily. This means that readers can have a more active involvement with the document than was possible in the past. You can do something with a webpage after you've received it; adjust it for readability, make a note of an important point, or use the webpage as a springboard to another webpage.

Even the simplest aspect of the web - the hyperlink - suggests a greater degree of choice than was present in traditional media. We may have to invent new ways to read in order to take advantage of these choices.

Before the web, people used their computers for a limited range of tasks. It was natural then for software products to serve one or two purposes and they were designed with that in mind (having a fixed set of features to cover the requirements of the task.) But as the web becomes a central part of our lives the software must accomodate an increasing variety of temporary tasks. A web browser will succeed to the extent that it can be quickly and easily updated and configured to help us do things that we may do only one time, perhaps only for a few hours.

Bookmarks (or Favorites) are the easiest part of the web browser to edit. They are the part of the browsing experience that is most under the user's control. In many respects they could replace the role of the traditional computer desktop; bookmarks are like the icons you click on to make something happen.

The name "bookmark" suggests the legacy of the book; it's tempting to think of them as placeholders or markers of particular locations on the web. Instead we should think of them in a more active way; they are instructions to go someplace. They can also be instructions to do other things. Bookmarks are the verbs that go between the noun "me" and the noun "webpage".

An old dream of HTML was to allow customization of webpages by the reader. To some extent this can be accomplished by setting global preferences (you can choose a particular default background color, for instance.) But in general it doesn't make sense to have detailed preferences about page features until after you've seen the page; the feature only has meaning in context (perhaps a blue background color would look better behind the pictures on one page, but not the pictures on another.)

Other ideas: Multi-window surfing and User-defined hyperlinks.

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