Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Your Kindle highlights and notes on your web-area - improved

(Originally posted 5/26/2009 10:33:00 AM)
Amazon just quietly started a new feature to display your highlighting and notes on a webpage that only you can see.  You can't edit them, just be able to see them.  You also can't share them.  I imagine most would want some privacy on the notes they write or even for what they choose to highlight.
UPDATE - 6/16/09 - 3:18 AM BIG improvement: Amazon has added a feature I particularly wanted because I was not interested in seeing the small amounts of highlighting or notes at one time, with all that paging to go through.
  They've added "See all your highlights and notes on one page" at the bottom of the page-reports. Excellent!

UPDATE - 5/26/09 - 1:50pm PDT I just noticed that you can SORT the data by column-title. Very nice addition.
See the Conditions of Use, which include keeping your password private, to protect confidentiality.

My guess is that once they get people used to the idea and feeling safe about it, they may offer sharing.  Obviously they'd have to put safeguards in there, so that people don't accidentally see what your private notes to yourself are or your areas of interest :-)

I just tried it, selecting a book for which I highlighted 70 sections but am only 44% through. It's really useful to be so easily reminded of what was important for me in the book so far, being able to see them far more easily than in looking at the summaries and links on the Kindle.

Also, it'd be easy to download them or printscreen them in some way but the section labelled "License and Site Access" stipulates that you will not download, extract, or modify it "except with the express written consent of Amazon" ... probably because the highlighted content belongs to the author and publisher and they'd obviously not want it used easily.  They also say you can't reproduce them, but it doesn't specifically mention printing.  After stating the conditions, they say this: "To obtain our express written permission, you may contact us at: amazonkindle-license@amazon.com ."

Interestingly, the use of the site is officially restricted to those 13 years of age or older. ?

And I don't understand this section:
Visitors may post reviews, comments, photos, and other content; send communications; and submit suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, or other information, so long as the content is not..."
That must apply to some other section of that webpage feature.  But we'll find out.  It looks as if they plan to open it up so that you can share your information, to remain on the webpage, later on a personally-controlled basis, but I don't really have an idea what this section is for, though it's likely to create more interest in the book if they do open it up for voluntary sharing later.

I was alerted to this by a TechCrunch article by Erick Schonfeld. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. The restrictions are very interesting considering you already have a complete, editable copy of the notes and highlights in the Kindle's myclippings.txt file.

    I wrote a word macro to help users actually sort the .txt file to help with the use of it. You can find the macro over at http://theprofessornotes.com

  2. The Professor,
    There's a limitation set on how much can go into your My Clippings file. It's unlimited insofar as how much can go into the book's secondary file used for highlighting and notes logging -- but at a certain point, the My Clippings file will stop accepting copies of those. (There are of course the usual utilities that can extract text from even the book's secondary file, but few would know about them or how to use them.)

    Apparently publishers can set limits on the copying of notations to the My Clippings file, from what people have been able to tell so far, as some associated book files have an entry that indicates no limits, while others have different percentages.

    That sounds like an interesting macro. Will explore. Thanks.

    1. Dear Andrys,

      Do you know any utility that can extract all the highlights and notes from the secondary file?

      Thx a lot!

    2. Gauthinours,
      Yes, I read of one. At the Kindle forums. And then I think i posted about it too.

      Here's how to google something that might be on a specific site (which I just did).
      Search terms:
      site:amazon.com mbp clipping limit extract utility

      That brought up a lot of results. I saw a lead-paragraph that seemed to address what you want and it led to a specific forum thread and also a posting by me in that thread, and in that posting I gave a link that is made available on Wikipedia. Am not sure the publishers would approve as they set the limits, so I've not made a blog entry for it. But here's the utility linked to in that posting. See if it's what you want.

      Let us know how that works for you.

  3. what is a highlighter in the kindle?

  4. Hello Andrys,

    I happen to chance upon your article on the improvement of Kindle highlights and notes on the web and found it insightful. It is indeed very helpful to be able to highlight the sections you want in a certain book.

    Amazon has made some changes and although they may benefit a number of Kindle users, they can become inconvenient at times since access has to be done online.

    I want to share with you and your readers an iOS app which will be released on November 2013. It's called Snippefy http://www.snippefy.com and it allows users to read and share their Kindle highlights and notes all in one place making it more accessible.

    I just wanted to share this with you and I hope you'll find it useful.

    Thank you.



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