Bookmarking, sharing, and annotating web pages found during a productive web search is particularly troublesome for me, and I am sure this is true for many others, especially MBA students. Why? Because search technologies make it so easy to find large quantities of material that may prove useful to a project or search objective. In collaborative work environments, such as MBA programs, search is only one part of the workflow. Making notes and sharing findings is another critical aspect. With this need in mind, I am always looking for tools and techniques to help me manage what I find. One of the tools I discovered and frequently use is Diigo, a browser add-on tool and cloud-based information management service. Having used Diigo for more than two years, I can recommend this tool to MBA students and MBA faculty members.
What is Diigo?
Diigo, pronounced as Dee’go is an abbreviation for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups, and Other stuff.” Diigo is a free individual and collaborative research tool that facilitates knowledge sharing and communication with others. More specifically, Diigo is a:
- Personal Research Tool – In addition to bookmarking, you can highlight or attach sticky notes to portions of webpages. Superimposed on the original page, the highlights and sticky notes are viewable when you return to the page(s)—as if you highlighted or wrote on an article.
- Personal Digest of Webpages – The Diigo application creates a personal digest of webpages by saving the highlighted paragraphs, sticky notes, and the original URL on Diigo servers. Your digest is available for searching, sorting, and sharing from any PC and most mobile devices.
- Collaborative Research Platform – With your digest stored on Diigo servers, you can easily share your findings with others, complete with your highlights and sticky notes. In turn, they can add web pages to the digest complete with their highlights and sticky notes. In addition, they can annotate pages you and others add to the digest.
- Social Content Site – Diigo users tag and annotate pages online, making it a collection of special topic digests, the content of which is available to other users interested in the same topic or topics. When you find a page bookmarked by other Diigo users, the sidebar displays information about other similar pages and sites they have bookmarked. The result is a social browsing experience that connects you to a community of Diigo users with similar interest, which can provide you access to related content.
- Knowledge-Sharing Community – Bookmarking, tagging, and annotating webpages is a means of conveying one’s interest to others. Therefore, Diigo provides a way to connect with others who share these same interests. When you find people with similar interests, you can invite them to join your group, send them a message, and ask to join their group, or add them to your watch list.
How can MBA students use Diigo?
MBA students search the web for content on a regular basis. Typically, they share the content they find by embedding a URL in an email message describing its relevance to the team or study group. Opening the URL gets you to the webpage, but it does not point you to the specific section, paragraph, or quote the sender referenced. In this example, Diigo can eliminate the single email, single reference; and more importantly, it can provide direct access to the specific point of interest on the web page plus any comments added by the sender.
The following is a simple illustration of how MBA students can use Diigo. Suppose a team of MBA students has an assignment to prepare a presentation on the Balanced Scorecard. Furthermore, they must include examples of company scorecards. The steps for using Diigo could include:
- Create a Diigo Group – One team member creates a public Diigo Group called, “Balanced Scorecard MBA Project” and then invites the other team members to join the group.
- Search for Examples – Team members search for company examples; and when these are found, they save the webpages to the Balanced Scorecard group. Team members have immediate access to any saved webpage.
- Review Examples – During the search process or later, team members can annotate, highlight, or comment on the company webpages directly. Team members have immediate access to saved annotations, highlights, and comments.
- Select Examples – Diigo facilitates selecting and referencing company scorecards because all team members have access to examples with annotations, highlights, and comments.
To provide you with a user’s experience on how information is stored and shared in Diigo, I created a group for the assignment above called Balanced Scorecard MBA Project. The site is public and available by clicking on the following URL: http://groups.diigo.com/group/balanced-scorecard-_-mba-project. If you request permission to join the group, I will grant you access so that you can add articles and experiment with Diigo.
What else should you know about Diigo?
Working with Evernote, Delicious, Zotero, Pinboard, and other similar applications, users will likely find some overlap in functionality. However, my experience is that there is not complete overlap. A web search discloses numerous articles for readers wanting a direct comparison of various applications to Diigo.
Diigo works with IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari and an introductory video is available at http://www.vimeo.com/12687333.
NOTE: During the week of October 22, 2012, someone hijacked the Diigo site, causing the redirection of all traffic to other, unrelated sites. It was impressive how quickly Diigo executed a recovery plan. Notification via Twitter kept users informed and told them to employ Diigo.net rather than Diigo.com to access their Diigo information. As a result, there was minimal restriction of services and capabilities, and there was no compromise of personal information. Within a few days, Diigo.com was operational again.
Do you have other applications to recommend? Please share your thoughts with other MyeEMBA readers by adding a comment below.
Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of MyeEMBA.com
[Image by Diigo/Images available in the Diigo Press Kit]