June 19, 2019

Planting new varietals in my digital garden

or, how I'm using Screenotate to grab snippets of the web for my personal wiki

Back in February of this year I realized that this blog could be more than a blog - that by virtue of being a static site I can maintain a local files+folders structure and use that to publish my own personal wiki to the web.

More on all of that in the original post here: building a digital garden.

Then a few weeks ago I came across Screenotate. It’s a dead simple mac app that saves all your screenshots as web-pages on your computer with URL of the page saved, meta-data and OCR-text of the screenshot. See it in action here:

This set off a lightbulb in my head. What if I can use screenotate to save new kinds of files - HTML snapshots of pages. Image+meta-data+text. Perfect. Archive-friendly and shareable screenshots that take two seconds to save into my personal wiki. Perfect.

And so that’s what I did.

For an example - take a look at this Pedagogy wiki I just started building:


And for the lazy, here’s a direct link to a screenshot HTML file saved by Screenotate.

It’s become my default mode for capturing snippets and shoving them into my wiki. Nice.

To extend the wiki-as-garden metaphor I feel like I’ve begun planting a new kind of varietal (page) into my garden (wiki). Thanks Omar!

Note: I’m embedding the Screenotate files as iframes at the moment which… is probably not the best idea. Large images also don’t work very well in a small iframe window. I tried using the CSS scale property to show a thumbnail property but run into the limits of my CSS skills. Anyway - what I’m saying is it’s a work in progress and likely not perfectly coded…

Update #1 Oct 2019 - if you like this post check out this post on building custom research and clipping tools. V cool

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This post was written by Tom Critchlow - blogger and independent consultant. Subscribe to join my occassional newsletter: