What is it?
Yolink is a research tool that works as a filter with any search engine or webpage to allow users to refine results, save, and share. It is free, and requires only the installation of a browser plugin.
What can I do with it?
Display search results in context.
- “After performing the initial search, use the yo button to activate the yolink search. The results are displayed in the side panel of your browser. The key words are highlighted, color-coded, and shown in context. This eliminates the need to click on each link to find what you need.”
- “Yolink brings back actionable blocks of text from inside those web pages and behind those links within your browser.”
- You can also use yolink to search a document, pdf, or long webpage for multiple keywords.
Refine your search.
- “Analyze the yolink results in context to determine which results interest you. If necessary, add or delete terms from the yolink search box to further refine your results.”
Save and/or share your information.
Yolink provides several options to save and share including:
- Social bookmarking sites (Diigo, Delicious, etc.)
- Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Create new Google Docs or Spreadsheets or append an existing file
- Generate MLA style citations with EasyBib.
What I Like:
- that it allows me to preview the information hidden behind links. This could save a great deal of time loading webpages and navigating back and forth from search results to sites. Often one link will lead to another site of links to yet another site of links until I’ve confused as to which links I’ve visited.
- that I can see my keywords in context and click the text to access that exact location on the website. I don’t have to read the entire webpage to find the relevant section.
- that it talks to Google Docs with the click of a button. Since our students are already using Google Docs, it makes Yolink even more appealing.
- that it allows several ways to save/share your research. Recently I’ve been considering what tool to introduce to our students for tagging and saving sites. For those students using Google Reader we are using the tag feature in Google Reader. But we need more than that.
- that it shares with many of my favorite tools: Delicious, WordPress, and Evernote.
- that is doesn’t require an account username/password to use the browser plugin. Students can login to Yolink with their Google Apps username and password, but I can’t find why they would need to.
Resources for Teachers
Yolink also provides resources for teachers including a teacher’s guide with mini lessons to teach search strategies that include activities and examples.
Sweet Search Option
If you can’t install the Yolink browser plugin on the students’ stations, you can have them use Sweet Search, a search engine for students which has Yolink built-in. Sweet Search…
- …searches only the 35,000 Web sites that our staff of research experts and librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved…
- …constantly evaluates search results and “fine-tunes” them, by increasing the ranking of Web sites from organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, PBS and university Web sites.
- …excludes not only the spam sites… but also the marginal sites that read well and authoritatively, but lack academic or journalistic rigor.
I don’t think the high school students will use Sweet Search. They are too accustomed to using Google. So if teachers are interested, I’ll install the Yo button in Internet Explorer in our labs.