Sassafras4u: Science Article SpreadSheets And Fast Reference Archive System




Browse the titles on the spreadsheet and Command-Click (Mac) on the links (titles) to view the original articles in new tabs.


...Even Better (See Below), Use the Text Files

Download the corresponding text file archive
and expand it. If you find an article title
on the spreadsheet that interests you
(type the number to quickly highlight it),...


...drag the corresponding text file to a text viewer, such as Tofu on the Mac.

Tofu displays the text in narrower newpaper-like columns of fixed height (your choice), and allows you to quickly and easily increase the text size, making for easier and more rapid reading.

You can also select a range of text (or all of it) and have it read to you.

I’ve found that I like to have open both the original webpage and Tofu (to read the text itself) at the same time.

On the Mac, selecting a group of text files and typing Command-O (Open) will open them all in the default text editor TextEdit.

I can then rapidly scan through the articles; if there are any I want to read more carefully, I drag them into Tofu (above) for easier reading, due to its narrower columns. Tofu also maintains the character styles and relative sizes, so titles, subtitles, captions and sidebars are understood subliminally, making reading more enjoyable.

I’ve found that reading the articles from the text files is faster and more enjoyable than from the original webpages.

Primary Recommendation

In fact, this is the method I primarily use, even though it may seem very counterintuitive at first!


I usually have open, both simultaneously, the original webpage in my browser and the text file in a viewer like Tofu. I’ve found that I can not only most rapidly read the text of the article but also quickly comprehend the writer’s intent (from the webpage layout and graphics).

I hope you will quickly find, as I have discovered over the years (being a slow learner), that you can decide very rapidly, when viewing the article in TextEdit, MacGizmo, QuickView, Tofu, etc., whether or not you’re interested enough to 1) read it more closely or, 2) keep (i.e., archive) it for future reference (e.g., closer reading when you have more time).

Notice that the complete article—not just the title—is presented immediately available to read in full, using any of the above viewing methods, so that there is no time wasted going further to read a subtitle or brief beginning excerpt, as you might see presented on other websites.

You can very quickly dismiss (Close = Command-W, or use a single-key QuicKeys shortcut as I do [I use F2]) each article as you rapidly scan them, while dragging to your hard drive those that you want to read more carefully and/or may want to archive.

By primarily reading from the text files but also viewing the original web article (not only to understand the original layout but to see any pertinent graphics), you’ll soon find yourself in a very efficient rhythm for adding to your daily illumination and enjoyment.



Another way I preview articles quickly is to use MacGizmo, which displays the article when I Option-Click on its text file. I can then use the Up- or Down-Arrows to scroll through all the articles and graphics within a folder.

MacGizmo, like Tofu, also preserves the fonts, character styles and relative sizes, the text sizes can be easily increased, using a quick keystroke, for easy reading, and text can be “spoken,” if desired.

(The QuickView feature of the latest version of OS X (Leopard) performs the same function but MacGizmo has provided it for the previous version of the OS.)

Create Your Own Personal “Headlines” Folder

Articles that I found particularly interesting are highlighted in yellow, with the intent that, even if you have only a limited amount of time, you can scan these recommended titles first to see if there are any that pique your immediate interest.

However, you will undoubtedly find a completely different set of articles to be of most interest to you personally.

An efficient method to read these personalized “front-page” or “headline” articles is to create a new “Headlines” folder and open its window to a large enough size on your desktop to make it easy to drag files into it.

After expanding the text-file archive for the day, open the “all” folder and increase the height of its window so that you can see a good number of them when viewed as a list.

Consulting the spreadsheet for titles of interest, batch-select (Command-Select on Mac) the corresponding text files (“File” number on spreadsheet = text file name) visible in the “all” window.

Option-Drag (Mac) these selected files into the Headlines window to create copies.

Scroll down the spreadsheet and “all” windows, a window at a time, as needed, to copy batches of articles to the Headlines window. The process should only take a minute or two.

The result will be a Headlines folder with the articles you want to read first. You can use any of the methods above to quickly scan through these and discard (trash) those you don’t care to read more carefully or keep for future reference. If you want to keep the remaining files in your personal archive, it’s easy to simply copy the entire Headlines folder to your personal archive and rename it by date or other unique name (see below).

You can then reuse the same Headlines folder next time by just emptying it of all its text files, now that you have the day’s collection safely archived.

Keeping the corresponding daily spreadsheet open in your browser also allows you to very conveniently and instantly view the original online article by clicking on the corresponding file number (name).


Adding to Your Personal Archive

If you find an article you wish to save for future reference in your own archive, you could simply drag the corresponding text file to your hard disk (although I’m not sure what the copyright implications of this are)—or you can copy the text from the web article for yourself and clean it up as I have done for myself.

If you wish to save graphics which accompany the article, click on the SS link and grab them from the original online source.


Articles that I found particularly interesting are highlighted in yellow. If the full collection of titles offered seems daunting at first, begin with these. Consider them my choice for “front-page news,” if this were a print newspaper.

See Highlighted Articles for my primary recommendation for using the text files and spreadsheets.

I like to depend on desktop search tools to find articles I’ve archived. But I’ve also created folders for duplicate text files of a few subject categories of particular interest. Within these folders are subfolders named by date where I Option-Drag a file to create a duplicate therein. (See Creating Your Own Archive.)