Frequently Asked Questions

What is a trail?
A trail is a (partially) sequenced collection of digital objects, such as webpages. A trail can be a straight sequence of pages or contain branches and other interesting topological features that allow you to construct more complex narratives, such as organizing a tutorial into two branches for "beginner" and "advanced" material.

What makes a trail different from a bunch of bookmarks?
A collection of bookmarks is best suited to saving/archiving things for future reference, and primarily for your own use. A trail is a careful arrangement of bookmarks (which we call "markers" to get beyond the "book" metaphor) meant to be actually read (or "walked" in our metaphor). We are working on multiple mechanisms that present trails as a seamless part of your normal browsing and navigation experience.

What makes a trail different from a book?
A book forces a default linear sequence on you. While tables of contents, indices and cross-references allow some nonsequentiality, they are limited. A trail, on the other hand, allows you to give the reader as much or as little control over the reading sequence as appropriate.

What terms do I need to know?
Marker: A bookmark with some metadata. A marker can be on multiple trails, and have different metadata for each.
Trail: A partially sequenced collection of markers, with an overall set of metadata (a trail name, editorial comment etc.)
Blaze: create a trail
Walk: Read a trail
Trail Map: A visual representation of a trail, seen from "above." It looks rather like a mind map or flowchart.

How do I walk a trail on
Trails can be walked either on by clicking "walk" in any index listing of trails. You walk a trail by using a sidebar "worm's eye view" interface that provides you with signs similar to highway driving signs, as well as a "bird's eye view" interface that gives you a map-like view of the entire trail (you can get there by clicking on the button with a little up-right arrow inside a box, wherever you see it). You can switch back and forth and keep track of where you are.

How do I create a trail on
Import Your Bookmarks
Using your browser, bookmark all the web pages that you would like to include in your trail.
Export your list of bookmarked URLs. Each browser’s process is slightly different, but exporting should create a file such as bookmarks.html on your computer.
Login to
From the menu at the top of the page, select Blaze > My Markers. This takes you to a page where you can manage your marker list.
Click the Import Bookmarks button in the upper right of the page.
Browse for your bookmark list by clicking the Browse button. Also, you can paste URLs into the provided field.
Click the Submit button. This takes you back to the previous page.
Check to make sure your desired bookmarks were added to your list.
Click the check link for each item to make sure it is frame safe.
NOTE: If you need to add a single bookmark, simply click the New Marker button in the upper right of the page. Enter the your data in the pop-up window, then click Create.

Create Your Trail
Either select an existing trail or start a new trail by clicking the appropriate radio button. If you selected an existing trail, click Submit to get started. If you selected a new trail, enter the name and then click Submit to get started.
Select the web pages you want to add to your trail from the list, using the checkboxes on the left side of the list. Then click the Add button.
When you've finished, click the Edit Trail button at the bottom right of the page.
Arrange your markers in the Trail Map in a meaningful way. You can add relationship arrows to connect them.
Click the Save Changes button to retain your desired trail structure.
Add meta-data such as “Blurbs,” “Editorial Comments” and “Tags” to enhance the trail experience.
Click the Save Changes button after adding data for each node.
Click the make public link for that trail when you’re ready to go live. Your trail will only be visible to you until you click this link.

Help, I am having browser issues!
You should be able to use any of the walking browsers without any trouble for both and the plugins (if you are a website owner and use the plugin).

If you are using one of the browsers known to work with the technology and are still having issues, caching may be the issue. Try logging off, shutting down the browser and logging in again and try whatever you were trying again. If it still doesn't work, contact us with as much detail as you have (including browser and version number, and cut and paste of any error messages you see).

How do I print a trail?
You can print trails uploaded by WordPress bloggers by walking the trail locally on the blog and looking for the printer icon (if a trail has been uploaded from a blog, you should be able to see a worm's eye view (WEV) sidebar widget natively on the page itself. So you can turn off the frame and print from the blog.

Printing is not yet implemented on There are both technical and copyright management issues to be solved, since trails on trailmeme can come from multiple sources. We're working on it.

How do I use a Trail Map?
You can double-click to view any item.
Single clicking an item displays its meta-data in the boxes below for viewing/editing (we'll improve this shortly so you can see metadata by hovering above a node)
You can use the zoom, pan and fit-to-screen buttons (which look like +/- magnifying glasses and a box with a cross in it respectively) to adjust the view
You can hold down the letter H to turn the cursor into a hand so you can drag the canvas around. Alternately, you can click the hand tool button.

Why are some parts of the trail map shaded?Shaded pages on the map are pages you have visited in the current browser session. The darkest page is the one most recently visited (usually. If you visit a page multiple times in the same session, the system will remember only the first visit). This data is not associated with your user account, meaning that when you close the browser or log out, the shading will disappear, to begin again the next time you walk a trail. Trailmeme stores the data forever but cannot associate it with a specific user except during the same browser session.

What does it mean to 'Track' a trail?
You should 'Track' a trail when you are interested in keeping up with changes and updates made to it by the owner. 'Tracked' trails show up under the menu item 'My Tracked Trails.' We will soon be providing mechanisms to allow you to receive updates about Tracked trails via email and RSS. You must have a Trailmeme account and be loggedin to track a trail.