Extras - Product Review: Filamentality 2.0

By Linda Woods Hyman, Published on October 1, 1998

Linda Woods Hyman started working in an academic library in 1975, earned her MLS from the University of Maryland in 1983, and since then has worked in medical, law, and public libraries. Linda is nearing completion of a second master’s degree in Educational Technology at San Diego State University. Linda is currently part of a three person team creating informational and instructional Internet and Videoconferencing applications for schools, libraries and community colleges at SDSU's Department of Educational Technology. We "fellows" have been funded by Pacific Bell Education First since March, 1995.

(Archived 11/01/98)


You've got a bookmark list as long as your arm and no amount of bookmark management is going to organize this mess. Maybe you've got a presentation to do and want to be able to use the web for the presentation so that others can use it too. Perhaps your patrons are coming with a special topic and need resources readily at hand. What to do? Try Filamentality, that's what! Filamentality is a fill-in-the-blank interactive web site that guides you through picking a topic, searching the web, gathering sites, and turning web resources into one of several kinds of web pages. It combines the "filaments of the web" with the user's "mentality" (get it--Filamentality?). You don't need to know anything about HTML or web servers, you'll be guided along the way and end up with a web-based product that you can share with others.

How Does Filamentality Work?

Filamentality involves three simple steps:

  1. Register your new topic (or Return to your existing topic).

  2. Add Links.

  3. Create a Hotlist, Scrapbook, Treasure Hunt, Sampler, or WebQuest. (Most users will want to create a Hotlist first either as a starting point to the other types of pages, or as the end-product which solves a special information need.)

To register, you'll answer a few simple questions such as the title of the page (your topic), your e-mail address, your library or school, your homepage location (if you have one), your name as you want it to appear on your finished product, and a password. The password is important when you want to go back and edit your document. Then you'll click on a button, and Filamentality will begin to spin your page.

Next, you'll add links. You can add as many links as you like (in sets of three). You'll add links by filling the blanks provided for you. Using Filamentality and searching at the same time can be a breeze if you use two separate browser windows which allows you to cut from one window and paste into Filamentality. Complete instructions are provided (http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/fr_two_windows.html).

When you are done adding links, you select the type of page you want to make from the Menu Bar at the bottom of the page. Hotlists are the easiest pages to create and new users are encouraged to click the "Hotlist" link. At this point, you have some choices. If you're happy with your links, don't have too many (more than 10), and are satisfied with the generic title and introduction that was created for you, you can click on "Hotlist" one more time and your final page will be generated. If you've got a little time, have 10 or more links that you would like to sort into categories, or you would like to edit your title or introduction, you can edit your page and make corrections before you spin the final version.

Then What?

After you spin your Hotlist, you can:

  1. return at any time and change your links or edit the text on your Hotlist.

  2. register your page so others can use it.

  3. hide your Hotlist to make sure nobody else sees it.

  4. send yourself an e-mail reminder with your password and Hotlist location. (This only works if you've provided a correct e-mail address.

Yes, that's right, you can come back to Filamentality and edit your page using your name and password. Filamentality resides on our server (for free); or if you prefer, you can save the page on your computer after you're finished and put it on your server or intranet.

You can register your page using the same fill-in-the blank format that you used to create your web page and allow the world to see your page. Don't feel shy. Somewhere, someone else is probably struggling with the same information need that drove you to create a Hotlist. Why not help them out?

With the click of a button, you can make sure nobody else sees your Hotlist. Your data file will remain intact, so you can always log in and rebuild your Hotlist.

By clicking another button, you can send yourself an e-mail with the URL of your Hotlist and your password.

Who's Supposed to Use Filamentality?

You! That's who. Filamentality is for anyone who wants to compile resources either for personal or shared use, for professional use or for fun. The more daring of you may want to move on and try some of the other pages that can be created using Filamentality (TreasureHunt, Scrapbook, Sampler, or WebQuest -- http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/formats.html).

Is Filamentality Easy to Use?

You betcha! In fact, there is now a small but growing user's club called "Club Fil." Users exchange ideas and methods for incorporating Filamentality into the library or classroom. In addition, many of them have registered their pages for you to use. There is a Filamentality Registry search engine (http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/registry.html) that allows you to search pages registered by other Filamentality users. Literally thousands of people with little or no experience have created web pages successfully used Filamentality. Maybe you'll be next?