AskDefine | Define furl

Dictionary Definition

furl v : form into a cylinder by rolling; "Roll up the cloth" [syn: roll up]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. To lower, roll up and secure (something, such as a sail or flag)


To lower, roll up and secure something

Extensive Definition

Furl (from File Uniform Resource Locators) is a free social bookmarking website that allows members to store searchable copies of webpages and share them with others. Every member receives 5 gigabytes of storage space. The site was founded by Mike Giles in 2003 and purchased by LookSmart in 2004.


Furl enables members to bookmark, annotate, and share web pages. Topics are used to categorize saved sites, similar to the tagging feature of other social websites. Additionally, a user may write comments, save clippings, assign each bookmark a rating and keywords (which are given greater weight while searching), and have an option of private or public storage for each topic or item archived.
Considered one of its main features, Furl also privately archives a complete copy of the html of each page that a user bookmarks, making it accessible even if the original content is modified or removed, an antidote for link rot. This also allows full text searches to be made within the archive. However, as highlighted under limitations below, images that are embedded using links are not archived with user's copy of the html page, so images may disappear over time. To avoid claims of copyright violations, this archived copy is visible only to the member who bookmarked the page. Other users are directed to the publisher's site, where the content can be viewed depending on membership requirements and privacy settings.
Users may see lists of other users who have furled a URL, and read their comments (if made public) to find users who share interests, supporting folksonomy. A dynamic recommendation list is automatically generated for each user based on the sites already saved by him or her and other users with similar interests. Lists of the most popular items for today, this week, and this month (and by topic) are also available. It's possible to subscribe to a user's archive (or to a set of topics in a user's archive) to get daily email notifications whenever new items are filed.
Furl allows bookmarks to be imported from (and exported to) Internet Explorer, Mozilla/Firefox, and; and also supports exporting of the entire saved archives to ZIP formats, and export metadata to XML format. There are other import/export functions, including various citation formats (MLA, APA, Chicago, CBE, BibTeX, and RIS/EndNote). Toolbars and bookmarklets are available for Internet Explorer and Firefox to quicken the bookmarking process.


Images which are embedded links will not be archived with the HTML page. For example, when an HTML page is archived via Furl, the location of the JPG from the HTML content is saved, thus pulling up that image when the user's personal copy is loaded; however, if that image no longer exists on the original server, it is lost and will not display with the user's archived copy. So, a Furled site with many pictures may end up being just text.
The search result displays items from the entire Furl archive, or only from a user's own archive, but the sequence of these results is automatically ordered. There is no option to display results by date order, by popularity order, or in any other particular sequence. It is not obvious how the results are ordered.
The popularity of Furl has grown, which has exposed users to performance problems which began in the latter half of 2006 and persisted into 2007.


New features were released in early 2007, including an updated user-interface. On January 30, 2008, Furl unveiled an updated user interface.


See also

furl in German: Furl
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