Firefox has an add-on called Scrapbook that will help you do exactly that. If you’re not using Scrapbook you’re missing out. It will allow you to save entire websites, single pages or parts of pages. Before or after saving, you can highlight sections and add your own notes. You can combine pages in any order you like and you can back up your work. If you don’t have Firefox, you will have to install it first.
Downloading and installing Firefox will take 5 minutes. Then you search the Add-ons catalog for Scrapbook, click the install button and you’re ready to go. The Add-ons catalog is conveniently accessed from the menu bar, although the installation of Firefox will probably take you there directly.
What you get when you install Scrapbook is a little icon that opens and closes a sidebar that looks like your bookmarks or ‘favorites’ list except it’s your list of scrapbooks.
Capturing Single Pages
If you’re on a web page you want to keep, just drag the icon next to the URL over to the sidebar and drop it in. The page is now saved. Or use Ctrl+Shift+L. Or use the menu under Scrapbook that says Capture Page. You can do the same thing with images. Just drag them off the web page into the sidebar.
Or you can select part of a page, right-click and choose Capture Selection. Create your own folder tree the same as you would do with your bookmarks. The difference in Scrapbook is that you have the whole page, or parts of a page, instead of a link to the page.
The pages are saved by default to your Firefox profile which can be found under Application Data/Mozilla/Profiles…
Saving an entire website can also be done. First click on Capture Page As…
Scrapbook asks you to specify the depth you want to ‘capture.’
What this means is how many pages you want the links to follow. If you consider the page you’re on as “0″ and you choose “1″ above, it will follow every link on that page to a depth of 1. If you choose “2″ it will follow all the links to a depth of 2. You can set any number you want, but if you go past 3 it can take in excess of 20 minutes to get all the pages.
Once you’ve started the ‘capture’ you can click Pause and use the Filter options. Depending how the website is constructed you may be able to limit it to its own domain so it does not pick up links to every ad and other thing that doesn’t belong to the website you’re interested in. That will cut the time down considerably.
Websites are optimally built on a 3-tier system because Google won’t index them any deeper, but how it’s done in real-life is something else.
Genealogy charts are built on many levels and would be difficult to save because of that. Trying to save an entire family tree in WorldConnect, for instance, would work but it would take forever as it will follow every link on every page to the depth you’ve specified. You cannot limit it to its own domain because its domain is Rootsweb and individual chart pages are specified by number. Unless you want the entire Rootsweb website, you’re better to stick with the option there for downloading gedcoms.
Family Tree Maker.com charts do well if you save one page at a time and then combine them. They have a lateral navigation that makes it easy to save one page, click to the next and save again and so on. Using Ctr+Shift+L to save single pages you can get through a chart pretty fast.
You’d have to experiment with saving entire websites. Since you have to choose the link depth that you want, without knowing how the website is constructed, it’s a guess.
Combining Saved Pages
Combining pages is really simple. In the sidebar is a ream of other tools including the Combine Wizard.
In this example I’ve already saved 5 pages from a Family Tree Maker chart. All I have to do is select the pages and drag and drop them into the box on the right. Click Next and then click Combine. It’s done and the combined page will be with the others in the sidebar.
Annotating Saved Pages
Once you have pages saved, you can annotate them with a highlighter tool and text boxes. Look for these options in the bottom right corner of your screen.
You can use the eraser to erase parts of a page. In fact you can erase the entire thing. None of your changes are saved until you click the Save button.
You can also annotate pages prior to capturing them by clicking that option on the Scrapbook icon in the lower right corner of your browser window. It’s already on by default.
Forevermore, this is your scrapbook and the pages can be retrieved anytime exactly the way you left them.
Exporting Saved Pages
You can also export any or all pages of your Scrapbook to elsewhere on your hard-drive for safe-keeping. And import them back into Firefox if you ever re-install your operating system or otherwise need to. Click the Import/Export button under Scrapbook Tools and then just drag your files to the right side of the box. They are immediately backed up to the folder of your choice.
Because this is HTML, not your usual text or Word document, even a single web page will save in a folder containing at least 2 or 3 files or many more. This is just the nature of web page construction. You can rename the titles of the folders, but leave the contents the way they are. (If you do rename the folders, however, they will not import back into Scrapbook should you ever want to.)