From Delicious to Diigo

2011-03-28 SNAG-00This is the next in my series on online tool migrations a trend affecting us all as Web 2.0 services come and go. This is a hard migration both technically and emotionally as Delicious has been my mainstay social bookmarking tool for many years, since 2003 and the days, and has figured in a good many of my posts. I even used Delicious as my browser home page for 2 or 3 years.

From the technical viewpoint the Delicious service has an extensive list of features that have grown over the years. While the UX has been redesigned significantly on a number of occasions I find it now suffers from an undue complexity even though Delicious more than satisfies my bookmark repository needs.

My own collection of bookmarks rose to about 1100 then, after a severe weeding, a more useful 500 or so. Despite my efforts to simplify my tag count reached 600 which by some effort I cut back by about 50%. Apart from personal use I have used Delicious extensively for holding bookmarks for a good many of my classes. I thought I was tied to Delicious with no prospect of change.

When Yahoo insisted on the use of a Yahoo account for Delicious this introduced an ongoing irritation that still persists. It was strangely apparent that Yahoo was putting little or no effort into taking Delicious forward. Furthermore the Yahoo announcement that the future of Delicious hung under a cloud added to my nervousness. Then hearing continually of the Diigo service from several other higher ed teachers finally made me consider a serious change (I had dabbled with Diigo months before and already had an account).

2011-03-29 SNAG-00

It was the Diigo group facility that seemed the main attractant for my colleagues. From the Diigo graphic you can see groups came in version 3.0 and the last two iterations added features bringing music to the ears of higher ed instructors. Another major stimulus was the Diigo webslides feature which uses Diigo lists discovered by colleague Peta Hopkins. I subsequently used webslides extensively for teaching. (As is the way of Web 2.0 Diigo webslides is now replaced for me by Pearltrees in a further migration.)

Of course the most significant migration effort involves the transfer of the bookmark data to Diigo from Delicious. As you would expect Diigo makes this very straightforward by importing from Delicious export link files. If you can’t bear to abandon your Delicious bookmarks Diigo has a feature to save all harvested Diigo bookmarks to Delicious as well.

First though I needed to spend a lot of time cleansing my Delicious bookmarks. I found many of my older bookmarks were redundant, superceded or had become irrelevant with age. I determined to quarantine all my bookmarks used for teaching. For example the bookmarks contributed by students in my September 2006 class about web applications still exists as This URL will be forever branded in our Blackboard learning management system amongst the online materials for that class.

Eventually I reduced my Delicious bookmarks from about 800 to 102, of which 93 are quarantined from past classes. My surprising discovery was that I had only 9 bookmarks likely to be of use in the future and worth transferring to Diigo! Equally disappointing is my remaining tag list contains 78 different tags!

This migration experience has been invaluable in that it shows I need a stricter, more disciplined approach to bookmark storage. Both the Delicious and Diigo browser integrations make it trivially easy to add bookmarks. It is clear from this exercise that I need more strength of will and bear in mind:

  • the bookmark collection needs constant maintenance, probably once a month at least
  • keep the number of tags as low and as general as possible, and treat solo tags with high suspicion
  • bookmarks that age quickly should not be stored and located with just-in-time search instead, but provided always that no special proper names or obscure keywords are involved – mapping these to easily remembered tags is preferable
  • Even in a few months my Diigo collection has risen to 275 bookmarks and I’m guessing less than 20% will be used again. Perhaps the golden days of bookmark repositories are coming to an end.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

2 Responses to From Delicious to Diigo

  1. Peta Hopkins says:

    I used pearl trees recently and it worked fine except for Facebook page would not load in the slideshow; YouTube had some kind of overlay; and the link to the facebook page somehow changed to the mobile version!!!

    BTW this interface for commenting via the iPad theme is a little odd. The usual magnifying glass to select/copy text won’t appear and I can’t relocate the cursor unless I touch a different field to the text box. And the correction box with the little x to prevent autocorrection appears but touching it does not work hence the space between pearl and trees. :). The reading experience is good though.

  2. Michael Rees says:

    Yes, this theme is somewhat buggy. It is annoying that there is no edit bubble in this comment box. Thanks for the feedback.


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