Shelf Web Content Capture System: A Proposal for a Digital Scholarship Collaborative Clearinghouse at the University of Oklahoma

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Shelf, a browser extension/add-on for Chrome and Firefox, describes itself as a “web clipper.” Think of it more like a team-based bookmark manager on crack — like Mario Party or Habitat for Humanity but as scrapbooking activities.

Shelf not only allows you to pocket and organize links to web pages like traditional bookmark managers, but allows you to scrape pages for individual content types: articles, images, videos, people, organizations, clippings (click-and-drag excerpts of any portion of a page), and highlighted text selections. They become your web “gems.” You can also annotate pages à la Hypothesis.

How about this example for images using this post as an example?


Any content captured can be described, commented, tagged, and awarded badges by team members for representing a best practice, innovation, key decision, trend, idea, or opportunity.

This couple-click content capture and curation takes place in a collaborative environment. What gems of the internet you hoard away can be yours alone, as with any bookmark manager, but you can also capture, annotate, tag, and comment as a member of overlapping and intersecting teams and organizations — something like an amorphous cross between a Russian nesting doll and a Venn Diagram. Making sense of the web becomes the light work of many hands.

A bunch of people picking and piling scraps and shreds of the web could quickly resemble a post-earthquake Dunder Mifflin paper products warehouse. In Shelf your captures are searchable or siftable through a series of filters by content type, source, date, tag, badge, or the user responsible.

Shelf is cloud connectable and fully sync-able with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft One Drive, and any previous bookmarks (and their folder system you’ve agonized over meticulously for years) from any bookmark manager can be imported to Shelf.

And it’s free and so is 5GB of storage (mind you, links to external content get very cozy in a server — my library has 340 objects accounting for . . . 22.6KB . . . so my free storage is 0.000452% full — I would have to capture over 75 million pages/articles/images/videos/snips to exhaust the free storage).


W H I C H   B R I N G S   M E   T O   T H E   P O I N T   . . .   J E E Z ,   S O R R Y 

All of this makes possible something I would love to see for the digital scholarship network of librarians, professors, and students at the University of Oklahoma: a crowd-sourced clearinghouse of digital scholarship tools, tutorials, methods, projects, conferences, calls for papers, institutions, and people assembled by all of us, any of us, with a couple clicks in the course of the web trawling we do every day anyway — transfiguring the web from a “Big Bob’s Self-Storage” facility into, well, a library.

[for goodness’ sake they have a knowledge management manifesto on their site]

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