Categories
Applications Semantic Web

The curious announcement that Pinboard has acquired Delicious

I’m not sure what to make of the announcement that Pinboard has acquired Delicious.

This is what is going to happen:

If you’re a Pinboard user, nothing will change. Sad!

If you’re a Delicious user, you will have to find another place to save your bookmarks. The site will stay online. but on June 15, I will put Delicious into read-only mode. You won’t be able to save new bookmarks after that date, or use the API.

Users will have an opportunity to migrate their bookmarks to a Pinboard account, which costs $11/year. Those who prefer to bookmark elsewhere will be able to export their data once I fix the export link, which was disabled some months ago for peformance (sic) reasons.

Please note that there is no time pressure for moving off Delicious. You won’t be able to save new bookmarks after June 15, but everything else will continue to work, or break in familiar ways.

As for the ultimate fate of the site, I’ll have more to say about that soon. Delicious has over a billion bookmarks and is a fascinating piece of web history. Even Yahoo, for whom mismanagement is usually effortless, had to work hard to keep Delicious down. I bought it in part so it wouldn’t disappear from the web.

I used Delicious back in the day when it was del.icio.us (or something like that) and it was a great service then. I migrated to Pinboard a few years ago. It works well and I’m happy to pay the annual fee (currently $11 per year) to have a reliable bookmarking service.

Delicious didn’t seem to be going anywhere and if Maciej Ceglowski did, indeed, buy the service to preserve the bookmarks (particularly the public bookmarks) then that is a good thing for the open Web.

The one issue is that those bookmarks probably go back a decade or so and a good number of those bookmarks will point to sites that have since gone offline. It will certainly be interesting to see whether there is some sort of back-up similar to the Wayback Machine or Pinboard’s site backup service (for paid subscribers)?

As an aside and speaking of links … perhaps you could fix your RSS feed for your blog, Mr Ceglowski? The announcement post isn’t showing up on the main blog page or in your blog’s RSS feed. I still use RSS so that sort of thing is helpful.

Image credit: Sanwal Deen

Categories
Policy issues Useful stuff

When Google gave up, the Internet Archive kept going

I believe really strongly in the need to preserve our digital heritage as part of our collective cultural archive. Andy Baio published a wonderful article in The Message about how the Internet Archive has been quietly doing just that since before Google published it’s intention to “organize the world’s information”:

The Internet Archive is mostly known for archiving the web, a task the San Francisco-based nonprofit has tirelessly done since 1996, two years before Google was founded.

Not only does the Internet Archive maintain a vast library of web pages, texts, music, videos and images. It also maintains a growing library of old software. It not only has the biggest archive of old software in the world but this software is actually usable thanks to a variety of emulators.

Old MS-DOS games on Archive.org
Doesn’t this just send you down memory lane to the graphics that inspired Minecraft.

One of the coolest aspects of this is the huge collection of old MS-DOS games. This may not mean much to you if you were born after, say, 1995 (give or take) but I recognise many of the games I used to play when my family’s PC couldn’t hold a flame to my aging iPhone 5.

Baio’s article recounts the history of the Internet Archive’s growing collection of old software. When you consider how quickly apps and file formats become obsolete in the rush to innovate, it isn’t difficult to see why this archive is so important.

View at Medium.com

It isn’t just about preserving old games for the sake of nostalgia, it is about preserving our thoughts, ideas and culture in a form that we can still access meaningfully years or decades after they were relegated to the global technological landfill.

This is also one of the reasons I remain a big believer in software such as LibreOffice. Even now, it maintains compatibility with old file formats such as WordPerfect and Quattro Pro. You’ll be lucky if Microsoft Office or Apple’s iWork can read office file formats more than a few years old.

There are times when I think a career as an archivist or librarian would have been interesting when faced with the prospect of finding ways to preserve our digital heritage for future generations.

I was excited when Google took it on itself to start archiving the world’s information. It is a monumental endeavour and not without risks. Google was embroiled in litigation for years because it started scanning books. It has done amazing work and continues to do so.

Google is preserving our heritage in gigapixels

Google Arts & Culture contains an invaluable collection of the world’s art. I don’t think you can overstate the value of having this resource available from virtually any web browser.

With all that Google has done for us, the Internet Archive has arguably done as much, probably even more. Take some time to visit archive.org and explore this tremendous resource.

Image credit: Pixabay