Dealing With the Info Firehose, Part 2: Reading and Bookmarking Apps

March 30, 2015

Tech Tips: In Part I, Dr. Bhana gave advice about sorting through the barrage of clinical journal articles that rheumatologists face every month. Here, in Part II, he shows how to save and file your choices for easy access in the future.

Part 1 of this series dealt with medical journal curation apps to help ease the burden of keeping up with the hundreds of journal articles in a month that you need to go through.

In this section, we will review ways to save, curate, and search through relevant website links and articles about topics you would like to follow.

Even though there are dozens of bookmarking and reading applications, I will focus on two popular ones that are cross-platform across phones, tablets, and PC's: Instapaper and Pocket.

Although the screenshots are from the iPad versions, the concepts apply to the phone and web versions of these apps as well.

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I.  Instapaper

Instapaper is a powerful service that can bookmark and save website articles by stripping off the "chrome" to give a clean text newspaper-like reading experience. It originated as the brain child of the one-person developer Marco Arment back in the early days of the iPhone. Since then, Instapaper is managed by a team of software developers and is cross-platform.

You can find the Instapaper app on the Apple App store, the Google Play store, or at instapaper.com.

 

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After signing up for a free Instapaper account, you can start using it by sending an article to Instapaper via bookmarklet or share extension if you are using iOS. It's as easy as tapping or clicking the Instapaper save icon.

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Instapaper will strip the article down to its text, preserving formatting, but allowing for easy reading. The original article can still be viewed. There are options for sharing the link via text, email, or social media services.

Instapaper also has a neat accessibility feature, text-to-speech, in which a computer voice will read the article to you.

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Multiple viewing options are given including a dark mode for night time reading.

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Archived articles can be organized within a folder system.

Instapaper's own editors also curate interesting long-form reads, but these are not usually related to medical issues.

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As with many mobile applications, Instapaper is free to use, but offers a paid option for more robust features such as the ability to do universal full-text search through all the articles you have created.

Instapaper is a popular application, updates regularly, and continues to be easy to use.

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   II. Pocket

Originally called "Read it Later," Pocket is bookmarking application that shares many similarities with Instapaper. One unique powerful feature that sets it apart the easy ability to mark articles with multiple tags to allow for better curation, search, and retrieval.

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When on any website, the Pocket bookmarklet or browser extension can be used to save an article to Pocket. Pocket will also prompt you to add tags to an article.

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After activating the "save to Pocket" feature, you are given an option to tag that article with keywords of your choice for organizing. Pocket remembers your past keywords and will autofill as you type.

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Similar to Instapaper, a saved article in Pocket will be stripped of its exterior chrome and presented in a simple text format. The original article can still be viewed, and hyperlinks are usually preserved.

 

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Pocket has several built-in features to help manage your articles such as sharing functions, tag search, offline favoriting, and multimedia archiving.

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Also similar to Instapaper, Pocket offers a premium service that gives several power user features such as full text search and permanent offline archiving for web articles.

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