We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today it’s Firefox archiving plugin WebMynd.
1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
I’m Patrick Buckley, one of three entrepreneurs from Cambridge and MIT who have a passion for helping people find the things they are looking for on the internet.
We make a Firefox browser plug-in called WebMynd. It creates your own personal internet archive that is searchable and visual. It is a way of extending your natural memory to include what you have seen online. You won’t ever lose track of a website again because it will be in your WebMynd.
2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
WebMynd is a great tool for anyone who does online research because it saves web pages as you see them, not just a link. The pages you see are indexed so you can use text search to find them again.
You don’t have to do any upfront tagging, bookmarking, organizing, cutting, pasting, or screen shots. This is especially useful for obscure webpages that may change, be taken down, or would be impossible to find again using Google (very obscure, behind paywalls or logins).
When you visit a website you get a personal copy of the page as it was when you saw it. Bookmarks fail in this regard because they only save a link to a page on the internet, link rot can ensue and the page may no longer exists the way you saw it. WebMynd saves an actual page and the content for you to see again.
3) Is this it, or is there more to come?
We have many more ideas on how to improve the experience and we are literally releasing new features weekly.
We are working on a sharing element so that people can create collections of pages with their friends or colleagues, a “Collective Mynd” that people contribute websites to and which could be great for group research.
Another feature for journalists which we are about to complete and which will work with FireFox 3.0 when it is released, is a system to surf your internet archive offline.
Any page you have seen before can be viewed without an internet connection, great for looking up old internet references when you are on a plane or away from the internet.
4) Why are you doing this?
Because bookmarking and tagging are no longer good enough systems for finding what you have seen.
5) What does it cost to use it and how will you make it pay?
In the future we may offer a premium pay for service but for now it is completely fee.