Are there any bookmarklets worth using?

I’m not an avid promoter of bookmarklet use, but reading a Download Squad post about Bookmarklet Directory got me thinking again about the many I have used and immediately discarded as well as the few I have retained. These have become so useful to me that sometimes I forget they’re not built into my browser. Here are my favourites.

Readability

Readability page

Predictably, I suppose, given my age, I have become a great friend of Readability, a simple tool that strips out the tinsel and tassles that tend to clutter web pages. In place of tiny, squint-inducing text, this customizable bookmarklet provides nothing but a soothingly readable page in a large font. No jiggling and jouncing Flash trash to divert your attention. Try it instead of just increasing the browser font size. Readability is easily customized, and I have found it to be quite reliable.

bit.ly

bitly sidebar

The bit.ly bookmarlet is ideal for tweeters. Quickly and elegantly it automatically shortens a web page address and creates a brief text-plus-link draft of a Twitter post ready for editing. This is a keeper. The bookmarklet is available on bit.ly’s main page. Enter your Twitter account information and you’re ready to go. The more elaborate Sidebar Bookmarklet slides out to shorten your long link, then shows Traffic, Conversations, and History. It’s easy to share your bit.ly link on Twitter, Gmail, Email, and Facebook.

Delicious Talk

delicious-talk

I’m a compulsive Delicious user. A morning browse of my Network gives me more stimulation than swilling a Tim’s double double. When I find a web page that’s bookmarkable, clicking on the Delicious Talk bookmarklet quickly shows me who else has added that page to Delicious. In this way I have discovered many other Delicious users who share my interests.

Proxy Bookmarklet

I use a few other bookmarklets, the most notable being my library’s proxy bookmarklet, which adds proxy server data to an e-journal’s web address for easy access to full text. I guess bookmarklets like this are in common use, but I don’t hear much about them. I can say that showing this tool to some of the profs in my faculty has been the cause of great excitement, especially to one who insists on searching PubMed from within EndNote. Although I can’t persuade him of the benefits of searching PubMed itself, at least now he can access the full text of articles he finds. That was a house call well worth making.

Of course there are thousands of useful bookmarklets out there. Digital Inspiration has a nice round-up, some of which I’m not familiar with and will need to try myself. Perhaps I’ll be persuaded to add a few more to my toolbar. Now if I could just figure out how to call up bookmarklets with a keyboard shortcut …

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