I just got signed up on Swurl, a site that mashes up content from various online services, including Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, and most blog platforms. You register and then select your sites that you want to include. Swurl draws together your posts, favorites, wishlists, and even friends from those sites. It is not instantaneous, however. Takes a while for new info to show up. But it kind of creates a record of your entire online life, or would if there were more site possibilities.
One feature I especially like is the “timeline,” which presents your activity from the selected sites in a reverse chronological calendar. You can actually see the date on which you posted a particular photo to Flickr right next to when you made a certain Twitter post, blog post, etc. It’s a great historical record of your online behavior. You can find most of this metadata from each particular site, but it’s nice to have it all together in one place, and kind of gives you a unique picture of what you were doing at various moments in your life. The data goes back to the year 2000.
Which brings me to today’s mini-fantasy: a swurl-kind of site that mashes up my activity from web searching (Google actually has a search history–available through an API?), library catalog searches, database searching, full-text downloads, and other information behavior. This would fit in with my notion of a “My Library” site in which I could save my favorite databases and searches (a la Eric Lease Morgan). But this kind of takes it in a different direction. Save EVERYTHING I do and let me view as I see fit. The service would let you toggle things off and on as you needed, so you wouldn’t be overwhelmed by data. But it would always be there at hand.
In order for this to happen, database vendors and library systems would need to make my data accessible to an external service. A lot of this is possible now, although perhaps not practical. Many vendors, however, would not play along. I don’t know what the problem is. I would be logging in through my own account (accounts offered by the vendors themselves). Of course, it would require that I ALWAYS be logged in to every service that I use, in order to capture my activities. It needs to somehow work with campus authentication, proxies, or VPNs. If only I were a programmer!