For years I had been an active user of Delicious, the social bookmarking service. I started using it in 2004, a year after its launch, and stopped using it in 2015. By then the service had been repeatedly sold, and much of its useful social features had been deprecated. It’s one of those great services Yahoo bought and then never did anything with. As I describe in a posting on bookmarking strategies last year, Delicious was useful originally because it showed you who else had bookmarked the same thing as you, and with which tags. It allowed me to find other people with similar interests, and especially if they used very different tags than me for a page they would be outside my own communities and networks (as ‘tribes’ will gravitate to a shared idiom). I’d then start following the blogs of those other people, as a way of widening my ‘very large scale antenna array’ of feed reading. Tags were pivots for triangulation. Delicious is one of those tools that were really social software, as opposed to a social media platform with its now too common self-reinforcing toxicity.

The current owner of Delicious is Pinboard, and according to Wikipedia the Delicious site was officially made inactive last August. That became obvious visiting my Delicious profile in the past weeks (on the original de.licio.us url, not the later delicious.com), as it would regularly result in an internal server error. Today I could access my profile.

My delicious profile

I decided to download my Delicious data, 3851 bookmarks.

After several attempts resulting in internal server errors, I ended up on the export screen which has options to include both notes and tags.

Delicious export screen

The resulting download is a HTML file (delicious.html), which after opening at first glance looked disappointing as it did not show tags, nor the date of bookmarking, just the description. Loosing most context would make the list of bookmarks rather useless.

My delicious html export

However, when I took a look at the source of the HTML file, I found that thankfully tags and dates are included as data attributes of the bookmarks. The HTML is nicely marked up wit DT and DD tags too, so it will be no problem to parse this export automatically.

My delicious html export source showing data attributes

My original notion was to import all bookmarks with their tags and notes, as back dated blog entries here. But randomly clicking on a range of links tells me that many of those bookmarks no longer resolve to an active web page, or redirect to some domain squatting spam outfit. So bringing the bookmarks ‘home’ into my site isn’t useful.
As the export includes tags, I can mine the list for bits of utility though. The collection contains a wide variety of open data usage examples I collected over the years, and that is of interest as a historical library, that I could try and match against the internet archives, using the bookmarking dates. Most other stuff is no longer of interest, or was ephemeral to begin with, so I won’t bother bringing that ‘home’. I will add the delicious export to the other exports of Twitter and Facebook on my NAS drive and cloud as archive. I have now removed my profile from the Delicious website (after several attempts to overcome internal server errors, and it is now verifiably gone).

7 reactions on “Bringing Delicious Bookmarks Home, Or Maybe Not

  1. I installed Shaarli to be able to import my del.icio.us bookmarks and keep that bit of personal internet archeology alive and browsable.
    I loved del.icio.us for all the reasons you mentioned, it was a great way of getting exposed to interesting people and feeds, and expand your digital horizons.

  2. Delicious is now owned by the one man (Maciej Ceglowski) outfit, Pinboard.in http://pinboard.in/about/, NOT Pinterest.

    If I remember/understand the history, Ceglowski (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maciej_Cegłowski) created his rival Pinboard bookmarking service when Delicious was first sold to Yahoo. That’s when I moved my Delicious bookmarks to Pinboard. Pinboard is great, and is very friendly to my bookmarks data. It is worth checking out, and I highly recommend it.

    Then, more recently, when Yahoo was selling off/dumping/shutting down Delicious, Ceglowski was able to buy Delicious off them for (almost literally) peanuts. He then bought some servers to host the Delicious data, had a look at the code, decided it was a mess, and decided to keep it alive, but not to invest his time in fixing anything — Pinboard providing a superior experience that Delicious users could migrate to. Again, maybe I got this all wrong, it’s just what I remember from following his Ceglowski’s tweets and blog posts on the subject over the years.

    Meanwhile, away from tech, Ceglowski was also very active in promoting progressive candidates in the last US Presidential/Congressional election. And for the past 6 months or so seems to be hanging out in Hong Kong, posting interesting information about the protests and protesters there (presumably while remotely maintaining the Pinboard platform and letting the Delicious site rot in his garage.

    His non-Pinboard blog https://idlewords.com.

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