As a data hoarder, the approach I would generally recommend is to always automate
creating/maintaining a record of downloaded files, by automatically capturing the data and logging it at the time of the download.
- The download software GetRight (which works nicely by picking up download links with IE, Chrome and Firefox) can be set by the user to maintain a consolidated download log (.txt file) of all files downloaded. I have used GetRight since 1997 - it is a seriously good piece of software. I think it is freeware now, but I bought a licence. I start a new log every year, and usually delete the old logs after they are about 2 years old, but they are not deleted from my backup archives, so I could probably go back many years if I ever needed to.
- On those occasions where I might have to use the built-in download manager in a web browser, I use their "native" download log. Most browsers give you the download source URL if you right-click on them in the downloads page, so to keep a "log" of sorts, don't clear the contents of the downloads page!
This approach does not work too well for video (e.g., YouTube) downloads though, as the filename is often just a generic string (e.g., filename "videoplayback", with no file extension). What I have started doing with those is copying the video title in .rtf from the download website, and saving that in MS OneNote, which also automatically copies the metadata (e.g., URL link and date/time of copying/pasting).
For copy/paste, I always use CHS
(Clipboard Help & Spell)
- and I would like to use CHS to maintain a de facto
download log for downloads such as this. You could (say) concatenate all the CHS clips of this type to make a consolidated log for a period, if you wanted. In any event, it would make it a one-step clip-and-save process, rather than the above constipated two-step process of getting it into OneNote.
I have made a request for a feature to capture and retain that kind of data/metadata in CHS, but until that is available, then I shall probably continue using OneNote, as above.
There could be a way to get this kind of data into GetRight as a comment with (say) AHK, but I haven't sat down to think about how to automate that yet.
The useful thing about OneNote is that anything saved into OneNote is indexed, and searchable/findable - so you won't lose it.
I have been contemplating saving my GetRight download logs into OneNote as well - you can use it rather like a SharePoint database.