WomanPointingAtComputerWhen researching a topic online, I always seem to end up with dozens of tabs and windows open, each with different content. And since I'm the type that needs to let ideas incubate for a while before starting writing (no procrastination innuendos, please) I need a way to save the content so that it's accessible and usable later on.

Accessible is easy. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and other browsers all have the ability to save links to specific web pages as "favorites" or "bookmarks." These reside only on the computer from which you saved them, unless you sync them between computers.

I prefer to save my bookmarks online, where I can access them from any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.

My favorite bookmarking service is Diigo.com. It's way more than bookmarks. You can use tags (similar to keywords) instead of folders, making it easy to find the links later on. You can also select and highlight text on web pages. And when you return the highlighting is still there! Diigo allows you to keep your bookmarks private or make them public. There's also a public Diigo community, where people share links around specific topic areas.

Diigo is very handy for saving pages and retrieving them later. But when I'm ready to start organizing the content and writing my piece, I need a tool for taking snippets of pages and putting them in one place, so that I can see all the content at once and decide how to proceed. Copying and pasting to a  Word doc on my computer will do the job.

However, it's easier and faster to use a program like Webnotes.net or Evernote.com. Both these enable you to set up folders for individual writing projects. Evernote is more robust in its capability. You can use it offline or online, and can sync your projects across computers, smartphones and tablets. You can also add your own notes to the web clippings that you collect. In fact, you can actually compose your entire writing project within Evernote.

Speaking of composing, please note that for your final version, you cannot simply copy and paste text or images that someone else created. That would be a violation of copyright. However, ideas cannot be copyrighted. You are free to use any ideas and put them into your own words and your own unique context.