Dealing with URLs in paper journals

Journaling in paper notebooks was all great until I wanted to also include links in entries. It’s simply not fun to write out long URLs literally by hand. To get around this I set up a little URL shortener at which the produces URLs like these:
# ->
# ->

I can create those short links using a simple HTTP API which I access with…

  1. an iOS Shortcut which I can access from the “share” dialog
  2. a simple “short” shell command which I use on my laptop

When I now want to write a URL I create a short version of it using either of these methods and then reference just the code-part in the journal. I usually prefix that with a little symbol ().

That’s pretty much it but that little trick has kept me sane while even writing entries with multiple URLs in them.

Theoretically, I could have used also existing URL shorteners like but I wanted to keep the complete URL under my control while note leaking links to third parties. So I sat down and just wrote one myself which you can now find on It’s just a little web interface around a SQLite database. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done 🙂