Sunday, June 13, 2010

Q&A on the Kindle's My Clippings feature (repeated for new Kindle owners)

The private password-protected web page that we each get, showing our annotations for each book has been quite thoroughly updated already for the new features in software version 2.5x that is being slowly distributed by Amazon.
  They've added book-reading-status choices that we can customize and the choice to see 'popular highlights' (though I have no interest in the latter but your book club might).  The *basic* information on annotations for that webpage, before the additions, is below.  You can just see the additions when arriving at the page.  Most I've talked with don't know about this webpage, which we've had since May 2009,but soon we'll hear a lot more about it.   There is also important basic information in the Q&A that new, and even some long-time, Kindle owners, will probably find useful.

Q & A on My Clippings file and Highlighting and Notes  (repeat)

Mike M. wrote to ask some questions about the My Clippings file and suggested I could respond in the blog -- a very good idea, so here are his questions.

Q:  If I remove an Amazon book from my Kindle are my marks and bookmarks deleted from the "My Clippings File"?

No, they remain in that file.  The marks (notes, highlighting, and bookmarks) are copies of what you did for your books and are actually retained in the My Clippings file even when the book is no longer on the Kindle, as that is a detailed log of the marks that you make for all your books, in chronological order, for your use in editing or printing (from a computer).

 So, even when the book is inadvertently deleted, copies of the annotations and bookmarks are still on the Kindle in straight-text format for your use.
  (This is why, in the infamous '1984' incident here, the notes taken for homework actually were still on the kindle.)

  The actual marks that are used with your Kindle book are kept in a small associated file for each book, for reference by the Kindle when the book is opened.

  The My Clippings 'book' file is a pure-text file (unlike the book's associated marks-file, which has placement coding in it).  The My Clippings file is made so that the customer can edit or print, at any time, the clippings that were saved while reading.

  To do that, you attach the Kindle to your computer, via the USB cable that is part of your power cord, and use the file manager to copy that file to your computer.  You can then edit or print that copy as you would any text file.

Q:  If I delete a non-Amazon book from my Kindle are my marks and bookmarks deleted from the "My Clippings File"?

No, those also remain in the My Clippings file, which is a separate file kept for you so that you can work with it, apart from your book.  Each note or highlight that you make is automatically copied to that file for use in editing and printing.

 When editing a copy of the file, I recommend highlighting, copying and pasting the file's text to a WORD doc or any text-editing program you use that allows you to retain the bolding for the headings, which look like this:
      " Your highlight at location 1596 "
as that will make your actual notes easier to differentiate from the headers.

Q:  Once I load the "My Clippings" text file onto my computer:
  Is there an easy way to assemble all the clippings and marks from a single book into one location?

Unfortunately, there's no Kindle utility for that.  However, there is a WORD macro made by a Professor that will sort the file and display the notes BY book. From the professor's description:
Here’s what the macro does:

* Creates a table of highlights, notes and bookmarks.
* sorts the table by book and location in book
* removes a (now useless) column
* changes the font to a smaller one
* adjusts the column sizes
If you try it and like it, let him know.

Q:  Can I delete some of the information and copy the altered My Clippings file back on my kindle?

Yes, you can, and it's a good idea.  However, if you decide you prefer to start afresh and you remove the file from the Kindle, the Kindle will create a new one the next time you make an annotation or a bookmark.  Anyone doing that should definitely keep a backup-copy on the computer of what was done in the past in case it's ever needed.

Q:  If I delete the My Clippings file and start fresh, will I still be able to view marks previously made in a book by searching the "My Marks" from the book menu?

As long as your book remains on the Kindle, yes, you'll be able to do that because the actual marks referenced by the book you open are in the small marks-file that is associated with the book.

Web Kindle Tool for Books Purchased from Amazon
 The title link, above this line, goes to the full blog article on the Web Kindle Tool.
As a bonus -- although it's not a feature that Amazon advertises -- a private, password-protected annotations webpage is made at Amazon for each customer, if the customer has Annotations Backup enabled under Menu/Settings.  This feature backs up, to Amazon servers, annotations for books purchased from Amazon but not annotations for any of your other books or personal documents.

  You find that Kindle setting with Menu button/Settings/Menu button.

  If you delete an Amazon-purchased book (which then just retains it in your Archives at your Amazon page) and then decide you want to download it again, your annotations will also be archived along with the book and will be downloaded as well whenever you need to re-download that book.

  I've written a detailed explanation of how to use that very useful Amazon annotations webpage tool.   They've also added a feature to add notes to your highlights, which should show up on your Kindle too.  Am testing that.  It worked!  Very nice.

  (However, if you ever want to permanently delete an Amazon book from your Amazon highlights -- you'd need to re-buy the book if you wanted it again -- that's also possible.  Some found they hated some books they'd bought and strongly requested that permanent-removal feature.)

Hope that helps!

Check often:  Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers. 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. I love your blog because it is the best source of information on the Kindle that exists anywhere on the Internet. Thank you so much for providing us with all this useful information!!!!

  2. Clarissa,
    Thanks for such nice words. They came on a day when hearing that the blog is helpful was really a morale booster. Thanks again.


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