Deciding Between Shaarli and Reader: A Personal Taxonomy Approach

Following several weeks of digital housekeeping, I’m determined to do a better job about being consistent about where I’m storing links, online articles, resources and various “read later” type stuff.

My tools of choice are Readwise Reader and Shaarli. I’ve been pretty lax about what goes where so I spent some time thinking about how I should be leveraging these two tools. 

Strengths and Weaknesses


Description – The personal, minimalist, super fast, database-free, bookmarking service. Do you want to share the links you discover? Shaarli is a minimalist link sharing service that you can install on your own server. It is designed to be personal (single-user), fast and handy.

  • Strengths:
    • Preservation of the original source.
    • Archiving capability with tools like the Wayback Machine.
    • Easy to surface old links.
    • Quick bookmarking for future reference.
  • Weaknesses:
    • Less interactive than Reader.
    • No native feature for highlighting or making notes.


Description: Readwise Reader is the first read-it-later app built specifically for power readers. If you’ve ever used Instapaper or Pocket, Reader is like those except it’s built for 2023 and brings all your reading into one place including: web articles, email newsletters, RSS feeds, Twitter threads, PDFs, EPUBs and more.

  • Strengths:
    • Active engagement with content through reading, highlighting, and making notes.
    • Email feature to reinforce and recall highlighted content.
    • Distraction-free reading experience.
  • Weaknesses:
    • Doesn’t preserve the original source, only a text extract.
    • Harder to surface old articles compared to highlights and notes.

Decision Flow:

  • Is the content something you want to actively engage with now or in the near future?
    • Yes: Go to Reader.
    • No: Go to Shaarli.
  • Do you want to be reminded of the content through highlights and notes?
    • Yes: Store, read and highlight in Reader.
    • No: If it’s just a reference or something to check out later, store in Shaarli.
  • Is preserving the original source important?
    • Yes: Store in Shaarli.
    • No or it’s not a priority: Consider Reader.
  • Does the content align with your personal taxonomy?
    • If it’s a deeper, personal topic: Consider Reader.
    • If it’s a quick reference or informational topic: Consider Shaarli.

Use Cases based on my own Personal Taxonomy

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 FamilyDeep engagement topics like family events, memories.Quick references related to family events or gatherings.
🏡 HomeHome maintenance tips, furniture wishlists.Mortgage documents, home insurance, renovation ideas.
🏦 Finance & RecordsBudgeting insights, financial goals.Bank statements, investment records, tax documents.
🏋️ Health & FitnessWorkout routines, diet plans, health articles.Medical reports, fitness program videos, gym memberships.
🎵 MusicSong recommendations, concert experiences.Music files, concert tickets, album releases.
🧠 Personal DevelopmentIn-depth articles, book summaries, learning goals.Quick links to courses, seminars, workshops.
💾 Personal TechnologyTech wishlists, software reviews, troubleshooting notes.Software installers, tech manuals, backup files.
🚗 VehiclesMaintenance reminders, vehicle wishlists.Purchase documents, insurance papers, vehicle manuals.
💼 Employment/Job RelatedMeeting notes, job application insights, career goals.Employment contracts, training materials, job postings.
🤖 AI/LLMSDetailed articles on AI trends, research papers.Quick links to AI tools, platforms, conferences.
🛒 Food & RecipesFavorite recipes, cooking experiences, diet insights.Links to recipe sites, grocery lists, cooking tutorials.
🗺️ HistoryDeep dives into historical events, biographies.Links to historical databases, documentaries, timelines.
🎞️ Movies & Shows to WatchReviews, recommendations, personal critiques.Links to watchlists, streaming platforms, release dates.
🗄️ Organization & ProductivityTips, tricks, and methods for productivity, time management insights.Tools, software links for organization, productivity hacks.
📸 PhotographyPersonal experiences, photo critiques, editing techniques.Links to photography tools, galleries, tutorials.
🔮 PsychologyIn-depth articles on psychological theories, personal reflections.Quick links to studies, seminars, psychology platforms.
📚 ReadingBook summaries, reading experiences, literary critiques.Links to reading lists, bookstores, upcoming book releases.
🖥️ Servers and Self-HostingPersonal experiences, server management tips.Links to hosting platforms, server tools, tutorials.
🤑 Shopping & StuffWishlist, product reviews, shopping experiences.Links to sales, product launches, shopping platforms.
🚀 TravelPersonal travel experiences, travel insights, places of interest.Links to travel deals, itineraries, travel advisories.

I’m hoping that this will help me be able to be more consistent about what lives where. We’ll see!