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Software review: Shelfster

April 26th, 2010 No comments

Recently, I was invited to review a new web application: Shelfster that helps you manage notes and clippings on the web, similarly to Evernote, which app I wrote about back in September, 2008 and have been using since. I am an avid fan of Evernote, but Shelfster does deserve some attention.

Shelfster

Shelfster

After spending some time with Shelfster that it is meant to serve as a facility for a collection of notes, I conclude that it is meant to be competitor to Evernote. If you don’t have an online storage facility for your notes and web clippings, this might be a good option for you. Shelfster is in private beta as of now, but I have received 10 accounts to give away to my readers. See the end of this post for details on how to get one.

Shelfster is a free web-based application that allows you to collect notes from your computer, as well as the web and has some great sharing options and community building features.

To get you started there is a video on the home page giving you a brief introduction, there is a quick-guide, FAQ page, as well as you can contact them to ask them more questions. I have spent some time with it, created some notes, and wanted to give you a quick overview of the app, therefore I have outlined some pros and cons for you:

Likes

Easy on the eyes, clean interface
The interface is simple and easy to navigate. You even have a “Dashboard” to see latest community items, community tag cloud and add other panels. I found, however, that you cannot add your own latest items.
Large storage
The initial storage you’re getting with the free account is 80 MBs, which is the double the amount Evernote gives you.
Fast and sleek picture upload
This seems to beat a lot of other services out there.
Source URL
It’s important to know where you took that note from, and be able to go back and check for updates.
Image capture
This seemed to work when I selected the whole page on wsj.com, but not when pasting previously copied text.
Tagging/Searching
This is a well-known feature by now, we use tags on blog posts, in databases and they just make it easier to find something quickly or find matching items. You can tag multiple items at once. You can search by tags, filter your search and even save your search for later. You can share a bunch of tagged notes by providing the user and tag in the URL: http://shelfster.com/tag/user/review?user=ariley.
Sharing options
You can share your notes with community members, your friends by email or evenĀ  Facebook and Twitter (email sharing is not very sophisticated, Twitter and Facebook connection does not use API, rather you have to be logged in to post). or you can just make your notes private.
Community building features
You can search other people’s notes/tags, share notes with other members and and even follow and be followed so you can get/give the latest updates of your favorite topic automatically. It also allows you to filter tags, so you only get what you really want. You can also comment on other people’s notes.
Desktop tool for Windows only (Mac and iPhone coming)
This allows you to clip notes from applications, and web site and add them automatically to your Shelfster account. The tool does a decent job, however the window cannot be adjusted, which I personally find a drag.)
Messaging feature
Members can contact us within the community.

Dislikes

No desktop application for offline browsing
I don’t think this needs an explanation
No mobile application
No iPhone/iPad or Droid apps
No web capture from browser “add-ons” (Windows users can install desktop tool, which allows clipping)
Evernote does a really good job at this with the integrated clippers both on Windows and Mac. Also, when clipping, it captured a lot of code (you can see that in one of my public notes.)
No image capture from copied document
No document upload
You can only upload images form a web URL or your computer.
Sharing
When sharing a note, it does not create a PDF of your note and include it in the email, rather you get a link that you will have to go to to see the shared item.

All-in-all it is a very nice application that has room for improvement. Then again, it is in private beta and they are inviting people to test and review, so hopefully they will take things to heart.

If you’d like to get an account, follow these steps to be entered into a drawing:

  1. Follow me on twitter
  2. Send out the following tweet: “RT @agir for a chance to win a #shelfster account to collect and organize notes from the web and your computer”

The drawing will be held on May 4th, winners will be announced May 5th.