I didn’t really pay much attention to shortening url addresses until Miguel Guhlin pointed out to me that it really helps others when you are emailing links or putting them in articles (By the way, if you haven’t see his blog, it’s definitely worth a read). So this leads me to this “The Best…” list.
When I originally wrote this list, the thought didn’t occur to me that someone could create a link-shortening tool that would be ideal for English Language Learners. I was primarily looking at tools that worked well for anybody.
I was wrong. I’ve revised this list to first highlight several services that are specifically useful for English Language Learners, primarily by being able to show multiple links — and their screenshots — within one url address. Seeing the images are obviously helpful to students. In addition, the fact that you can include multiple links can be helpful for teachers who can organize them for use in Internet Scavenger Hunts (see The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests) and to students who can use them to categorize links and photos (see The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students for an explanation of ways to use this higher-order thinking strategy).
Here are several tools that provide these important screenshots:
Weblist is similar to Viewista.
Fur.ly is a new tool that lets you combine multiple links into one. It’s a little different from others I’ve posted about — they show you visual snapshots of each site that you can then click on one at a time. Fur.ly, on the other hand, shows you the first link in the collection and you can then click on arrows to go review each one.
Tiny URL is known to many and is pretty darn easy. All you do is input the lengthy address and out comes a short one that is supposed to be valid forever.
When this list was originally published, I mentioned that Miguel saidSnip URL was his favorite “since it allows you to ‘rename’ the URL. Instead of a hard to remember character string (1t3r), you can have people go to http://snipurl.com/whatever where “whatever” is what you type in.” People liking this feature must not have escaped the notice of Tiny URL since they also just added the same feature this month. Moourl also has this feature.
Another very recent addition to this group is bit.ly, which the Read Write Web blog called the “tiny url of the future.” You can read its post to learn about all of bit.ly’s capabilities. Since this post was published, bitly has become the most popular url shortener service. It has also added the feature of “Bundles,” which allow you to paste the url addresses of multiple websites into one Bit.ly box and get them all showing in one url address. You have to register with Bit.ly, however, in order to use that service.
[It]allows you to shrink a URL for sharing on Twitter and other social networking sites, but also allows you to add your own 140 character message to the actual link that you’re sharing. Your message doesn’t appear in your Twitter updates with the link, it appears on the actual site – allowing the people who click on the link to see why you brought them there in the first place.
I could see using it even when you’re not shortening it for a network like Twitter.
Some readers have left some useful ideas and suggestions in the comments section since this list was first posted. They are definitely worth reading.
Su.pr is a new tool to shorten url addresses that is being developed by Stumbleupon. Instead of writing a long post explaining it here, you can go to the Make Use Of blog and read their good description.
Bridgeurl lets you add multiple url addresses, and it then provides you with one url address for all of them. Once you click on that one url, you’re shown all the webpages as a slideshow.
Stich.it is another link-shortening service that lets you combine a number of links into one, and then plays them like a slideshow.
Minilogs is a new web tool that lets you group multiple url addresses into one short one. Minilogs stands out because in addition to showing all the url addresses, it shows you a thumbnail image of the site and, more importantly, lets you write notes next to each one. It would be useful for teachers or students who want to create an Internet Scavenger Hunt.
If you found this list helpful, you might want to see the other four hundred ones, too.