Monday, July 23, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking Web Address! (

It isn't exactly new -- I've been using it for several years -- but I did want to write a bit about one of the more useful websites around. It's called, and it comes in handy a lot.

Tinyurl does one small thing: it turns long web addresses into short ones. Very short: generally, they're about 25 characters (18, if you don't bother with the http://). Compare that to the very long web addresses that might show up.

For instance:

Goes into tinyurl as:


can be converted to

Why use it? There are several reasons.
  • When you send a long URL via e-mail, text may wrap in the middle. When this happens, only the first line of text is a live link. Clicking on it will go to an error message. Tinyurl avoids this.
  • If you have to use a web address in printed material, tinyurl makes it easier for people to type in the information.
  • Since most of Siena's web addresses are a bit complicated, tinyurl lets you tell people about them easily.

It's simple to use: go to and paste in the web address. Click "Make Tiny URL" and the page will be created. If you're using Internet Explorer, it will even copy the new address into your clipboard (there will be a warning message, but it's OK). Just use the paste command to add it to a document.

There's also a small javascript file you can add to your bookmarks/favorites that will automatically convert the current page to a tinyurl.

I use this fairly often and consider the bookmark to be an essential addition to any web browser.