Workflow for Preview of Cached Pages

Problem: I have many links to web pages throughout my history lectures, and many change addresses or disappear over time. Logically, I have begun caching pages using Furl. Furl will save a cached (saved) version of a page, and then I can link to that. As I was looking at the lecture pages to find the downed links, it occurred to me that would be easier with a preview pop-up window, like Snap. That would also make it easier for students to see where the link goes.

So I got a Snap account, and they kindly agreed upon request to get rid of the ad links. At first, I had trouble. The Snap window clicked through to the right page, but the Snap preview window showed only the Furl log-in page, which is useless. Then after a few tries, the right page would come up. At first I thought it was Snap screwing up. So I tried Snap alternatives Thumbshots and iwebtool’s Thumbnails, but no joy. So I wrote to the Furl folks, but getting no response and taking this recommendation, I tried Diigo instead.

I have not previously been impressed with Diigo. In fact, I originally planned for it to appear on my list of disappointments in my next post. But it created archived pages faster and more conveniently than Furl, with its own pop-up window for tagging.

In the meantime, Katie at Snap.com responded to my plea. Turns out I was rushing the system (as usual). She told me that it wasn’t that I had to click so many times for the right page to show, but that the first user seeing it the first time (me) causes the page image to capture properly. It should display any cached page correctly from then on, so all I need to do is check my links when I’m done. A bit clumsy, but doable.

So here’s the workflow. First, I add the tiny javascript from Snap to the body of each lecture webpage. That enables all the Snap windows to pop up on any external link. I find the page it links to (easier if it’s there, otherwise I have to search or find a new one). Then I bookmark that page in my Diigo toolbar, tagging it with the course and lecture number. Then I use the Diigo toolbar menu -> This URL -> Cached version. That brings up the cached version of the page, which starts with a Diigo address. I copy the URL into my weblecture page.

Now I can see all the downed links using Snap, students can see a preview and then go to a cached page that never disappears. I like it!

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