delicious bookmarking

July 19, 2004

in Reviews, Tech

A couple of weeks back I asked about bookmark managers. In addition to del.icio.us and hyperlinkomatic, which I mentioned in that post, a couple people also pointed me at furl and spurl.

From the research I did it appeared that each of these tools had major strengths, but none of them had all the features that I wanted. My plan last week was to start using each of the bookmark managers and see how I liked them and then settle on one.

I started with del.icio.us. My first annoyance was that there doesn’t seem to be a way to automatically import bookmarks into the system, which means it is kind of a pain to get started with it (I have something like 1000 bookmarks across all my profiles? Ack).

The other thing about delicious is that it is a social bookmark system: your bookmarks are completely public. This is the point. If I tag a bookmark as being about, say, “cycling” or “food” I can click on that tag and see what everyone else on the system has bookmarked for cycling or food (or blogging or web or perl or whatever). I can “subscribe” to a tag list and see all the new bookmarks people are adding for those tags. I can see a list of the new or most popular bookmarks for the day. I can view anyone else’s bookmarks at any time if there are users who have particularly good taste in bookmarks. And every single part of the system: the tag lists, the susbcription lists, the most popular lists — all have RSS web feeds so I can read new bookmarks through a feed reader.

This is HUGELY ADDICTING. It has brought back the way I used to surf the web way back in the early days, wandering from link to link to link and just serendiptiously seeing what comes up. It does for surfing what google did for searching: it uncovers the most popular and most interesting sites. This is not anything I expected to ever need or want in a bookmark manager, but its turned out to be the most fun part of the whole thing. I can’t stop doing it.

My difficulty with the concept, however, is that it is all totally public. There’s no concept of public and private bookmarks. I can’t decide to do research into sex toys or uncomfortable diseases and store those bookmarks on delicious. OK, I could, if I wasn’t worried about the world looking in. I could just put those bookmarks locally into the browser rather than on delicious, I suppose. But: given that my primary goal for a bookmark manager was simply to be able to store my bookmarks online, the ability to hide at least some bookmarks in delicious is for me a bigtime minus.

Still. After four days with delicious there’s no way I can give it up. I’m too darn obsessed with it. Right now I’m thinking that I may end up with multiple link managers for public and private links with some way to sync between those. Sigh. Solve one problem and uncover another.

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