Sunday, February 12, 2017

Notes. Diigo-in-Canvas

One of the challenges I set for myself in the CanvasLIVE brainstorming was to use this as a reason to clean up my Diigo as a sharing platform. Right now I use Diigo as a quick way to bookmark for my own future use, but I have not been doing a good job of annotating and organizing content to share. Diigo is a good platform for that, though, because it has RSS: and the combination of RSS and Inoreader is what lets you send Diigo content anywhere, including inside Canvas.

So, inspired by Janie's Feedback presentation, I am working on two related feedback projects: cleaning up and organizing the feedback articles I've bookmarked in Diigo, and also creating a new series of feedback cats. The Diigo process is what I want to document here.

First, take a look at the CanvasLIVE Playground page that I created to demonstrate how this works: Diigo RSS: Feedback Resources. You see there a live display of the feedback articles that I have tagged and annotated in Diigo. New articles show up automatically!

For each item, there is a title that is linked to the article online, plus a short annotation from me, along with an image pulled from the article. The default display is five items, and you can then click at the bottom to see the next five items, and so on. It's also possible click and see the same contents at Diigo.

Here's how it works:


1. Use Diigo to create bookmarks. It's easy to create a Diigo account (they have some special services for educators too), and there are some browser plugins that allow you to save bookmarks easily as you are browsing. Think about how you like to search and organize the articles as you choose your tags.

2. Optional: add annotations. I usually bookmark lots of stuff, and when I get time I then go back through the bookmarks and add notes (Diigo lets you edit bookmarks later to add notes). When I annotate an article, I add the tag "annotated." That allows me to easily find the bookmarks that are annotated, and I can also search for "NOT annotated" in order to see which articles don't have annotations (yet).

3. Optional: grab images. In addition to annotations that you add to a bookmark, Diigo lets you grab an image to save along with the URL. That can be very helpful in providing a visual clue when scanning a long list of items.


To do this, you will need Inoreader, and you can use the free version of the services (although I highly recommend getting a paid version so that you can use Inoreader not just to gather RSS but also other social media content like Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Go to for more information.

1. Find the Diigo RSS. The RSS button is at the bottom right of any Diigo search results! For this Canvas page, my Diigo search is #growthmindset #theme:feedback #annotated. You can also see the search results directly at Diigo.

2. Subscribe to the RSSfeed in Inoreader. Just copy-and-paste the feed address into the upper right-hand corner of your Inoreader. Make sure you add the feed to a folder; you can have just one feed in a folder, or you can add feeds later on. If you start out with the feed in a folder, you will be able to add the feeds later and have them automatically be part of any service you have configured for the folder.

3. Export the folder as RSS/HTML. Click on the folder, then click on Folder Settings at the top of the Inoreader screen, then Folder Information, and then click Export to turn it on. After you turn on the export, you will see the different Export options:

4. Configure the HTML Clip. Now that you have turned on the folder for export, click on the HTML Clip link and make your choices. For the Canvas page I made, I put in a title ("Growth Mindset Diigo"). It defaults to magazine view, and you can choose the number of items that display. 

5. Configure the iframe in Canvas. Copy the iframe code from Inoreader, and then adjust the width and height as needed. I set the width="750" and height="1400" but you can choose what best suits your needs (although you need at least 750 pixels width for the magazine view).
IMPORTANT: You will need to change to for this to work in Canvas!

Paste the HTML code into your Canvas page and you are good to go! Any new item that you add in Diigo meeting your search criteria will show up automatically in Canvas now.

It's the magic of RSS: some people may think RSS is dead, but as you can see, it is alive and well — and it's still my favorite web technology. :-)


  1. I tried this but no go, did all the steps, and some sort of object appears in the canvas page, but it doesn't show up when I save it :>

  2. Hi Alexis! Did you do this in a public Canvas course so that I can take a look at the page? If you share the page address, I will be glad to take a look.

    The most common mistake I make with Canvas is forgetting that everything has to be https. In fact, OH, I bet that is it. I forgot to say here that you have to change the Inoreader http to https; I will update the instructions now, and maybe that will fix the problem for you also!