In one of those moments of questionable inspiration that hit me from time to time, I decided to figure out how to take the clippings file on my Kindle and convert it into something easier to browse and manipulate off-line on my PC. As I’m a fairly decent hand with the PHP programming language, that was my obvious tool of choice. Since PHP is designed with web applications in mind, it seemed equally obvious for me to make the tool available on the web, should anyone else desire to do the same thing with their Kindle clippings (Klippings?).
What I came up with is a simple web form via which you can upload your “My Clippings.txt” file from your Kindle, which you can find in the “documents” folder of your Kindle device when you connect it to your computer via USB. Once you submit it to the web page, the program breaks the text up into individual clips, then parses each clip to extract the various data elements. Those data elements are then written to a temporary CSV (comma-separated values) file, and when they are all written the file is sent back to the user as a file download, which can be saved or opened in a compatible program, e.g. pretty much any spreadsheet program. (If your spreadsheet program asks, you should specify comma as the field separator and double quotes as the text, umm…, quoter? Also specify UTF-8 as the character set for best compatibility.)
Once you’ve loaded it into a spreadsheet (or database, if you’re as geeky as I am), you can then sort your highlights and notes by book title, author, date, etc. The default sorting is first by title, then by author, then by location number.
[This was fixed 2011/07/02.] I have found one minor bug: if a location has a page number associated with it, the text gets a bit screwed up (sorry for the technical jargon). If you try it and find any other bugs or have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment here.