There are a lot of different ways to keep track of information you find on the Web. You can copy it to the clipboard, then paste it into an empty document. There are services like EverNote that allow you to save your information to the Web. There are even web browser extensions that integrate with Google Notebook or Zoho Notebook (although the former is closed to new users). The problem with some of these, no matter how nice the service, is that they require you to create an account. What is there for the person who just wants to store notes locally? A new extension for Google Chrome, called simply “Scrapbook” caught my eye the other day, and after trying it out, I have to say it’s very nice.
The Scrapbook extension, once installed, creates a new icon in your Google Chrome toolbar. To use Scrapbook, simply go to a website you wish to save locally, and click the new icon. Clicking this icon shows you a little pop-down menu with a couple options. There is the big “Scrap This Page” button, which will do exactly what it says. First, however, you’ll need to select a name for your “scrapped” page. By default, the name area is pre-filled with the name of the website, but you can change it to whatever you want. You’ll also want to create a folder in which to save your page. Folders are how Scrapbook organizes your clippings. If you’ll be saving clippings in different subject areas (technology, sports, wedding, etc.), then simply create a new folder. Then, when it comes time to save the page, just choose the appropriate folder/category.
Once a page has been scrapped, it is accessible via the “My Scrapbook” option. Click there to reveal all your different folders. Hovering over a folder shows all the pages saved within. Click one to view it.
If that was all the Scrapbook extension did, it would still be nice. But in a lot of ways, it wouldn’t be any different from an extension such as Read It Later, which allows for quick saving of links (to be read later, hence the extension’s name), but also offers offline saving, so you can load up a bunch of interesting articles, and still have access to them even when you don’t have Internet access.
But Scrapbook offers more. First is the option to notate your scrapped pages. When you go back to view a page later, you’ll notice a few options at the bottom of the page. The first four are different types of highlighting (which you can see in the big screenshot). This allows you to emphasize different sections of a page, and have them visually separate from each other. You can also attach a note, in the style of a sticky note, to the page. You can add text to this note as well as move it around the page. It will hover over the page, no matter where you place it. If you decide you want to remove the note, simply click the big “X” in the upper-left corner. Similarly, if you decide you don’t want text you’d previously highlighted to be highlighted, clicking the little broom icon in the lower toolbar will allow you to get rid of what you want.
After a while, it’s likely that you’ll end up with a lot of saved pages, pages you may find you no longer need. In that case, go to the Scrapbook Options page. There you’ll see a list of all saved pages. You can search through your scrapbooked items as well as delete whichever you no longer need.
Scrapbook is an excellent extension. It doesn’t offer the ability to synchronize your saved pages from one computer to another, but that’s okay in my mind; it seems aimed at single-computer users. I love the ability to put notations on a page (it helps remind me of exactly why I wanted to save the page in the first place!), and the scrapbook management page, though fairly spartan, is still pretty useful. I’ve tried a lot of different page saving utilities, and in all honesty, this is one of the best.