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Research Assistant

Robert J Becraft castlewrks

This is a synopsis of my suggestion for a future enhancement to the browser that would make it more useful for things I believe people typically do.

Research Assistant is a feature that allows pages to be permanently flagged in history or bookmarks with annotations. Based on the annotation/flags, the pages can be avoided or remembered depending on the user's interests.

For example: Doing genealogy research, I typically run a search for "Becraft" and come up with thousands of pages. A year ago, there were perhaps 60,000 pages with that keyword on them. Today, there is more than 120,000 pages. Now what happens is as I browse these pages, some of them contain good data that I capture, some of them are junk, and a whole lot of them are going to be pages I've never seen.

Different keyword sets result in different subsets of the 120,000 pages. Many of these sets result in the same pages. If I could mark the pages I've already seen in a couple of ways and have the browser give me feedback on the links to remind me of these markups, I could avoid repeatedly viewing the same pages over and over.

I'm not always working on Genealogy, so when I do medieval searches, sometimes the resulting pages may contain genealogical data, but I'm not interested in them from that perspective. So when I'm doing medieval research, I may want to see a page that I visited as a genealogy page and flagged. I may also flag it as a medieval visited page but want to keep both notations separate.

Project Realm

Research Assistant should provide a means of identifying the context the user wishes to apply to this session. This would allow for different notations to be made to pages that come up for similar searches based on different goals.

Realm: GenealogyRealm: Medieval
Page XPage A
Page YPage B
Page A

In this example, "Page A" appears in both realms and can have different notations applied to it based on the selected Realm.

The realm simply points to a different set of annotated bookmarks or history tabs that are annotated according to the tags in the section below.


indicates this page should be flagged to disable any links to it making it inaccessable. Flagging a page as never means I never want to go there again.
Page doesn't exist, treated the same as Never.
indicates this page was visited and it contains useful information. Keep it in my list. In addition, when it comes up on a page, flag it as "Used" so I can choose to not go there.
  1. Flagging a page as used also means that if an update occurs on the page, the link should indicate this.
sometimes, there isn't enough time to read all the data on a page. You just have to close the browser and do other things, but you want to remember this page has stuff on it and want to get back to it at a later time. Flagging the page in this fashion marks it for a future re-visit.
flags this page and makes it a visible link in the Project Realm bookmark folder.

Visible Icons

One method of revealing the annotations would be to append an icon at the beginning of every link on a page. The icons would give the user the appropriate information to determine what annotations were made for those links.

Another method is color-coding the links based on the annotation.

Bookmark/History Behavior

Annotated pages in the Bookmark or History lists will be displayed according to the Annotations applied to them and the current realm selected. Annotations of Never and Used will not appear, while Revist and GoodStuff will.

Page Invert

Using a Realm designation and pulling up a page on a search engine or website page with links, the user can do a "Page Invert" which takes the content and reduces it to a list of links that are displayed according to the Research Assistant annotations. Never links are removed from the displayed page, Used and Revist are shown, but not enabled. GoodStuff is shown, enabled, but flagged. All other links are shown as normal links.


Like Bookmarking, the annotation process takes place on the page to be Annotated. The bookmark tabs show the annotation selections to associate with this page. Once clicked, the selection is stored with the bookmark.

Annotating a page should result in a "history"-like response for the link when it is displayed on a page in the future. When a link that is in the history list is shown, it has a different color. The problem is that after a specified interval, these links are removed. Annotating a page with the Research Assistant would keep this annotation until the Project Realm is removed.


of Project Realms allows me to share my researched annotations with other people. Export creates a file that can be emailed, posted, or otherwise shared with others.
of Project Realms will take a previously exported Realm file and bring it into the Browser space for use. Some considerations if the Realm already exists, overlay it, allow a rename, etc.
Takes and merges selected annotations from someone else into my current Realm. For example, if my friend identify "Never" visit pages and wants to share them with me, I can merge only those into my Project Realm. Or if he has "GoodStuff" links, I can grab those instead. Merge basically asks what part of the Import annotations to bring into an open realm.