My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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del.icio.us vs. bookmarks

Does everyone use del.icio.us a complete replacement of bookmarks? I just learned the hard way how important bookmarks are to me. I was super stoked when i saw the new del.icio.us bookmarks Firefox extension. I desperately wanted the ability to go through my del.icio.us bits in my browser and so i immediately installed it without reading any fine print. And then i realized that it traipsed all over all of my bookmarks, including all of the bookmarks in my bookmarks toolbar.

Now, i don’t know about you but i have crazy folders and bookmarklets in my bookmarks toolbar. I have a folder of blogs that i stalk but would never tell anyone about. I have a folder of private things that i can only access when i’m VPNed in – URLs that i would never make publicly available because it would be a violation of privacy. I have bookmarklet scripts for storing details of MySpace pages and a link to bugmenot to get me through most stupid login pages. I have shortcuts to procrastination pages. I have a folder of temporary URLs that i use during my current talk. I have bookmarks to pages that aren’t even on the web (like the blog of research notes that is kept on my laptop or the local wiki that i have). None of this wants to be public, none of this wants to be in del.icio.us, none of this makes sense in del.icio.us. And all of this went away when i installed the new toy.

Eeek. OK, so i had one of those complete heart attacks when i realized this – y’know, the ones that happen when you wake up and realize that the procmail script you wrote /dev/nulled your email instead of sent it to a nice safe place. Thank god it could be uninstalled and my regular bookmarks came back. But uninstalling it desparately made me want it back. I *want* to see my del.icio.us tags and bookmarks inside my browser but not on those terms.

So i’m curious… does anyone else use both bookmarks and del.icio.us for different reasons? If you only use del.icio.us, definitely check out the new toy. If not, you might be in for a big shock.

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26 comments to del.icio.us vs. bookmarks

  • I don’t actually use del.icio.us, having jumped ship for Ma.gnolia (sucker for good design that I am). But before I jumped ship, I ran into the same problem you did, and had the same exact reaction. In my case, my FF bookmarks are carefully arranged for the primary purpose of allowing me to “Open All in Tabs”. For example, in the morning, my routine involves getting up, showering, brushing, flossing, gargling, and opening up all 20 or so comics that I read daily. Fortunately, in my case, I had a copy of my bookmarks on my desktop downstairs, so I just copied them back, and went right back to enjoying Schlock Mercenary — which more people should be reading, by the way. But yeah, honestly, I don’t think that del.icio.us is a very good analog for the built-in bookmarks. A del.icio.us extension needs to be its own separate interface.

  • I don’t use Firefox regularly (since I prefer Camino) but I’ve always considered Firefox’s Live Bookmarks feature to be a compelling method for viewing del.icio.us bookmarks in the Bookmarks Toolbar. The fact that del.icio.us lets you subscribe to a specific keyword (or series of keywords) makes it really easy to separate your del.icio.us bookmarks into different Live Bookmark folders (i.e. “work” “blogs” “hacks”). The only major drawback to this is that you’d only be able to see 10 bookmarks at a time.

  • The same thing happened to me. So, now I went back to my bookmarks and I also use Google’s bookmark service. It works very well, however, it is not meant for sharing. And, that’s fine by me. Who in the world would ever want to see my bookmarks?

  • The biggest use for del.icio.us I have is using it for work flow management. I code pages with a priority level (P1, P2, P3 �) and then go through and read pages in that order. I try o read my p1’s in 24 hours or less. I hate having to search through bookmarks by title to find something I barely remember but know I must read. Feel free to look at my bookmarks at del.icio.us\typewriter

  • heh, i think we’ve talked about this … i use browser bookmarks+shortcuts for my most commonly used web apps (mail, rss, PIM).

    i use my personal site as a delicious-type thing – but i can mark stuff private. in fact, the new entry screen marks stuff private *by default* because i accidentally made private stuff public too often. the page changes color from gray to white when i uncheck the “private” box as an additional guide.

  • So I downloaded firefox 2.0 on Monday. I was super excited but found out that my del.icio.us extension didn’t work with the new version. Since discovering del.icio.us, I didn’t use my browser bookmarks at all and I put all my bookmarks into my del.icio.us space, but for stuff I was using frequently like my gmail or blog, I put in my toolbar, a tip I had learnt from other people I had interviewed.

    So feeling out of water without being able to tag stuff or view my bookmarks, I found the del.icio.us bookmarks firefox extension. I didn’t read it at all. I figured it was just the same thing I had except valid for firefox 2.0. Boy was I wrong. This is some sort of del.icio.us for my browser but I can’t figure out how to use it correctly. I try to put urls in my toolbar but I can’t figure out how to access them. I desperately want to have the extension that I had for my previous firefox but I don’t know if it is available or not.

    Basically I am lost until I figure out how to get help. Folders for off-line urls — totally beyond me 🙂

  • Here’s the “classic” version of the del.icio.us extension that doesn’t mess up your firefox bookmarks. The one you tried is the “enhanced” version that I wouldn’t want to use either. Thank you for the heads up!

  • Funny – I experienced this exact thing this morning! At first I was stoked with the Delicious implementation. Hot stuff! But, wait… where were my regular bookmarks?! After recovering from heart palpitations I uninstalled the extension and my bookmarks were back. I’m back to using the usual “post to delicious” bookmarklet.

  • I put private links up on del.icio.us: there’s a box you can check off that says “do not share” and nobody but you can see it. I mean, I’m still putting the link on a public server, but I sure have lots of sensitive stuff in my gmail account so it doesn’t bother me to do the same with del.icio.us.

  • Same thing happened to me. I’m kinda bummed out, but I think I’ll try the del.ico.us thing and see how it works. Who knows, maybe it’ll be better.

  • Hans Suter

    they’re not public, unless you made them which you certainly didn’t.

  • Johanka

    Interesting. I use del.icio.us for “new finds” or stuff I feel a desperate need to comment on. For sites I visit regularly, Bloglines for example, I use bookmarks.

  • Orien

    You might also want to check out Foxylicious it performs a similar function, but allows you to define which folder the del.icio.us bookmarks should sync into. If you’re running FF2.0, you’ll need their 0.7 version which is at the authors webpage.

  • I had never heard of del.icio.us until I came upon your site. I really enjoy exploring the site and seeing what people are bookmarking, posting, and taking interest in regarding different topics. I’d like to integrate it into my site as you have. It’s quite helpful.

  • I differentiate between both. In fact I blogged about this exact topic in the past: http://blog.chachra.us/2006/06/24/of-browser-bookmarks-and-delicious/

  • Jairzinho

    I don’t use del.icio.us bookmarks, and the idea of something messing with the natural order of things on your computer sounds rather terrifying and Microsoftian.
    I use an extension called Scrapbook which is an absoulte beauty. You can save offline versions of web pages, text notes, as well as regular bookmarks. It resides on the sidebar window like the history and the bookmarks. It’s the one thing that would keep me using Firefox as long as it’s around as I don’t see IE7 coming up with something like that soon.

  • I use the bookmark toolbar for stuff I use frequently or to backlog stuff for later reading, for further research, and such. Stuff I merely want to keep for later reference, or that I want to show to others, I post on del.icio.us. I don’t file any bookmarks in the bookmark menu though. (There’s lots old stuff in there, but I haven’t added anything in years; I need to clean that stuff out and push anything keepworthy to del.icio.us, but who has the time?)

    If you don’t like the official extension, try the other one. Its posting interface OTOH was better than any other before the latest version of the official extension came out, and it has a sidebar for browsing your online bookmarks that’s completely sparate from the main bookmarks. Its browsing interface is pretty crummy though, and it only works online, and then only works well with a fast connection – with a slow one it stalls the browser. But it might be better than nothing.

  • After checking the del.icio.us extension, I discovered that you can share some of the boomarks and keep some private. Has a rule, the Firefox bookarks are imported to del.icio.us as private, and than you can share them if you want. So, if privacy is your concern, you can still have it. I give it 4.2 stars.

  • Like a couple of commenters above, I keep a lot of private stuff in del.icio.us using the “do not share” option. You’re right, it does seem like a nonsensical use of a social bookmarks system, but maybe that’s not the only thing that del.icio.us is.

    del.icio.us tags imported bookmarks with “imported” unless you tell it not to, and I was recently surprised to see that “imported” is one of the most popular tags. I guess that feature is pretty popular.

  • I think as more and more of us work on multiple computers regularly, some sort of auto-synch solution is going to have to happen…and my guess is it will be in Firefox, like all good happy things are. Some nice extension that would auto-synch only those folders you told it to synch would be swell–thus alleviating the “oh my gosh, my mom’s crafting page is now on my professional links list” moments (ok, that was one of the tamer examples).

  • arvind

    check out flock: http://flock.com

    firefox-based, with much better webservices integration

  • foxylicious may be nice, but ill make a case for another firefox plugin called foxmarks. I go into more detail here but essentially, there are just some things I prefer to have ‘on hand’ (in the browser) at any given time. and I dont want the limitations of time and space to get in the way. After years of toil and hardship, finally foxmarks saves the day by providing browser-based bookmark synchronization. yay!

  • I only use bookmarks for my regular sites that don’t have good RSS feeds like gmail, facebook, yelp, for easy access via the bookmark bar. If it’s a site that I enjoy but only want to read when there’s new stuff, I’ll subscribe to it’s RSS feed. If it’s a really cool page, but a one hit wonder type that I might be interested in rereading maybe a year from now, I’ll bookmark it with del.icio.us, and sort through them via Quicksilver when I need to.

  • I use del.icio.us as a repository to store links for future reference and the browser bookmarks for day-by-day tools, like home banking, webmail, URLs that point to my local computer (like programming documentation – javadocs), intranet, etc.

  • Just happened to me too, how annoying. Back to the old extension I go.

  • I use Spurls because I find the interface somewhat more intuitive and Del.ic.ious gets posted when I use it. Bookmarks have become a confused space for me. I’m starting to just put my favorite bookmarks on a widget/module in my Google Personal Homepage.

    My whole organizational system is in flux, and I keep thinking that some magical technology will zoom in and make this all easier. This BlueOrganizer add-on from Firefox seems to have some potential, but is on the periphery of my consciousness and I mostly just look at it in my toolbar and hope it will manifest in instant GTD and grade all my students’ papers for me.

    Mahalo,

    tbf