In the context of the World Wide Web, a bookmark is a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that is stored for later retrieval in any of various storage formats. All modern web browsers include bookmark features. Bookmarks are called favorites or Internet shortcuts in Internet Explorer, and by virtue of that browser’s large market share, these terms have been synonymous with bookmark since the first browser war. Bookmarks are normally accessed through a menu in the user’s web browser, and folders are commonly used for organization. In addition to bookmarking methods within most browsers, many external applications offer bookmark management.
Bookmarks have been incorporated in browsers since the Mosaic browser in 1993. Bookmark lists were called Hotlists in Mosaic and in previous versions of Opera; this term has faded from common use. Other early web browsers such as ViolaWWW and Cello also had bookmarking features.
With the advent of social bookmarking, shared bookmarks have become a means for users sharing similar interests to pool web resources, or to store their bookmarks in such a way that they are not tied to one specific computer or browser. Web-based bookmarking services let users save bookmarks on a remote web server, accessible from anywhere.
The bookmarks sidebar in Mozilla Firefox 3.0. An alternative to the bookmarks menu, it is similar to sidebars found in Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari.
Each browser has a built-in tool for managing the list of bookmarks. The list storage method varies, depending on the browser, its version, and the operating system on which it runs.
Netscape-derived browsers store bookmarks in the single HTML-coded file bookmarks.html. This approach permits publication and printing of a categorized and indented catalog, and works across platforms. Bookmark names need not be unique. Editing this file outside its native browser requires editing HTML.
Firefox 3 stores bookmarks, history, cookies, and preferences in a transactionally secure database format (SQLite).
Internet Explorer’s “Favorites” (also “Internet Shortcuts”) are stored as individual files named with the original link name, and the filename extension “.URL”, for example “Home Page.URL” collected in a directory named “Favorites” which may have subdirectories. Bookmark names must be unique within a folder. Each bandarq file contains the original URL and Microsoft-specific metadata. Browsers have varying abilities to import and export bookmarks to favorites, and vice versa.
Live bookmarks are internet bookmarks powered by RSS, particularly in Mozilla Firefox. They allow users to dynamically monitor changes to their favorite news sources. Instead of treating RSS-feeds as HTML pages like most news aggregators do, they are treated as bookmarks that are updated in real-time with a link to the appropriate source. Live bookmarks are updated automatically; however no browser option exists to prevent or control the automatic Live Bookmark updates.