Many web sites, particularly news web sites, do not permanently archive their content even though they offer it free to the public. I’ve never quite understood the logic, especially in this day of bloggers linking to new stories, of not maintaining a permanent archive, but there it is.
Likewise, I subscribe to some email newsletters that tease content in my inbox and provide a link to the full story that expires after a week. If I ignore the their emails for a couple of weeks and then go back to catch up, I’m out of luck.
My solution is Yahoo!’s My Web. Currently in beta, the service allows anyone with a Yahoo! account to save, categorize, and annotate specific web pages. The service actually allows you to save entire web pages, graphics and all, to your account. You can add notes to the page and "tag" it with a category you create. All of your saved items are searchable and sortable by tags. Yahoo calls My Web a "social search engine." You can share "your web" with everyone using the service, only with "your community" of people you’ve invited to the service, or just for yourself.
Tags are categories you supply to identify a given web page as a member of that group. Tags are also, essentially, free meta information about the page in question that you are providing the search engine. Tags help Yahoo! better understand that web page, which in turn helps them provide more accurate search results.
Yahoo is not alone, or even the first, to use tagging of web pages. The blog search engine Technorati uses tagging, as do the social bookmarking site del.icio.us, and the online photo album service Flickr.
For anyone who does a lot of online research, Yahoo’s My Web is a wonderful tool.