Big news - Delicious has been sold, and the new owners sound great.
This announcement came last week (along with an email to every Delicious user), but it hasn't made much of a splash. I've seen a fewposts in the library world, but I am surprised* it hasn't been bigger news.
Press releases about the transition were released by both Delicious and the new owners, AVOS (the guys who founded of YouTube), and the future does sound promising: AVOS is apparently hiring staff, plans to work with the Delicious community, and intends to develop new features. Pretty significant for a product that hasn't changed in years.
Here's the message that displays when you begin the transition:
Delicious is moving to a new home
Yahoo! is excited to announce that Delicious has been acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. As creators of the largest online video platform, they have firsthand experience enabling millions of users to share their experiences with the world. Delicious will become part of their new Internet company, AVOS.
To continue using Delicious, you must agree to let Yahoo! transfer your bookmarks to AVOS.
Reasons to let Yahoo! transfer your bookmarks
As soon as you let Yahoo! move your Delicious account, you will:
Enjoy uninterrupted use of Delicious.
Keep your Delicious account and all your bookmarks.
Keep the same look and feel of Delicious as you have today, and enjoy future innovations for the product.
What happens if you do not move your bookmarks?
Delicious in its current form will be available until approximately July 2011.
After that, you will no longer be able to use your existing Delicious account and will not have access to your existing bookmarks or account information.
*This surprises me because, of all the online tools out there, Delicious seems tailor-made for librarians. Even discounting the social part, bookmarking sites like this are exactly what librarians have been striving to do since the internet was invented - catalog it. Delicious (and similar sites) not only lets us catalog websites how we see fit, but also allows the power of critical mass to categorize every website. It seems like library schools across the land should have an entire course dedicated to Delicious (and social bookmarking).
However, now that Yahoo support of Delicious is uncertain*, I thought I'd create a Plan B - using a similar service, Diigo. I set up a Diigo account for the library, and tested how well their linkrolls worked, compared to what I was used to with Delicious. Below are the steps to do this, and the results.
Import your bookmarks to Diigo
Browse to the file you saved, and click Import. After doing this, you'll probably get a "processing" message, and you'll receive an email once the upload is complete and your bookmarks are ready
Just for the fun of it, here's what the same "consumer health resources" linkroll looks like (with a little formatting) from both Delicious and Diigo. Below those is the linkroll code itself. Also, check out the live examples of these linkrolls embedded in the library's website:
But, that said, the Diigo linkroll isn't totally unworkable either - just less flexible for control freaks like me. Of course, there are morebookmarkingalternativestoo.
Oh yeah, the bookmarklet
One reason Delicious is so great for library subject guides is its bookmarklet and toolbar buttons - they let you and your coworkers bookmark websites on the fly, from any computer (where they are installed). Diigo has a toolbar and bookmarklet too - and like with Delicious, I prefer the bookmarklet. For me, this is a must for any bookmarking service.
As a result of this test, I'm not rushing to switch over to Diigo. It'll work if Delicious disappears tomorrow, but I'm still going to test out a few of the other options, to see if I can find one I like a little better. But in the meantime, I feel good that I do have a very workable Plan B in place, just in case.
I just noticed something interesting - and troubling - about Diigo: they apparently have a "decency" filter that will automatically mark private bookmarks with "questionable" tags - for instance, porn- and illicit substance-related tags. This is a problem for me, not least because the PDRHealth website listed above keeps getting switched to "Private," and hence doesn't display in my Diigo linkroll, because it is tagged "drugs" and "drug." Others found that breast cancer websites tagged with "breast" - and similar scenarios - also automatically get removed from linkrolls. I haven't found a list of taboo tags, so it's just trial and error at this point (my testing shows that "drugs" is okay, but "drug" is not). This is another example why filtering, both here in Diigo and porn filters for computers in general, do not and will not work.
Also, it seems Diigo takes about 5-10 minutes for changes to show up in my embedded linkrolls, which is a fairly decent response time (although I think Delicious was a little quicker, more like 0-5 minutes).
So, for the time being, I'm not panicking - but it is a perfect reminder that we need to face the realities of third-party tools with eyes wide open. You can integrate anything you want into your website, but remember it may go away at any time. David Lee King has a great post on this (and gwern0's comment is spot-on).
I'm going to be doing a little bit of all of these. Since there is no imminent deadline, I'm going to ignore all of this until after the holidays. Then, I'll backup my bookmarks and start looking at alternatives in case migration becomes necessary. I had been wondering if there was a host-your-own option, so I'm happy to see that. However, although it would be nice to have control myself, I like the shared aspect of these tools. Not to mention I'd be responsible for the maintenance, and there is always the danger of getting stuck in yet another information silo.
This is just life on the web - nothing is permanent and nothing is irreplaceable. However, the initial "sunset" announcement struck me like a bad Christmas present.
Speaking of which: as usual, I'll be visiting my family for the week of Christmas, and so won't be posting. Because driving this time of year is always weather-dependent, I've been playing with Weather.com's Travel Weather Summary - you type in points along your route and the times you'll be passing through, and it tells you if you'll hit snow there. It's neat, but the interface could be slicker. I've never used it before, so we'll see how accurate it is, and if it's reliable enough to embark on a two-hour detour.
Created for LibCamp Boston, here is one method for using del.icio.us to create dynamic subject guides of web resources for a library's website.
Why do this?
Social bookmarking websites (like del.icio.us) allow for easy, no-tech-skills-needed creating & editing of web content. This content can be shared with others in a variety of ways (web searching, rss feeds, or on your library website).