The market leader in web research assistant software is Onfolio . Onfolio allows the user to capture digital content, including web pages off line, organize it, annotate it, share it and publish it. One can either capture complete web pages (or other web based documents like PDF files), or snippets of web pages to the hard drive for safe keeping. No more worrying about whether or not the web page being looked at will still be on-line next year (or next week). One can safely store a copy on the hard drive for future reference. Onfolio captures the available meta data from the web page, including the original web address, author, keywords and capture date, so that that this information can be used as needed for citations it in research documents. Markup (with the digital equivalent of a yellow highlighter) is available to annotate the off line web pages. This can be invaluable when looking at the document a year from now and having a hard time remembering why it was so important when captured. To top it off, all the captured documents are keyword searchable.Items and folders along with comments can be published to the user’s weblog either manually or automatically as new content is added. Published items and folders can also be sent via e-mail to interested colleagues.
There are two ways to use Onfolio. The first is in a sidebar in Internet Explorer. This is the way the author uses it the most. One can also use the Deskbar feature which gives access to all the Onfolio information while the user is still in a word processor or in other web browsers like firefox. The Deskbar simply sits to the left of the word processor, and assuming that the monitor is sufficiently large, one can look at both a word processor document and all the Onfolio data at the same time.
Until recently a licence fee of $29 or $99 had to be paid to use Onfolio. As of March 2006, Microsoft purchased Onfolio and is now giving away free licences for Onfolio as an extension to their “Microsoft Live Toolbar ” product. Currently Onfolio is only available for Microsoft Windows computers (and now that Microsoft owns Onfolio, I suspect we will not see a Mac or Linux version any time soon).