What a coincidence! On the very day I receive copyedits on an essay I’ve written on Delicious for Trebor Scholz‘s Thinking With Digital Media: A Pedagogy Reader In Motion, Yahoo! announces that Delicious has entered its “sunset” years and will soon be sent to hospice to die (actually, Trebor was the one who broke the news to me…and by the way, that’s not an exclamation mark at the end of Yahoo!; it’s a dagger).
I’m not a huge Delicious fan. I use it daily — but I do so only because I started using it several years ago, and in that time I developed a sizable collection of bookmarks (close to 3000; I know others who have waaaaay more) and eventually felt stuck. I hate migrating things. I know I could easily import those bookmarks to Google Bookmarks or Diigo or something like that. But it’s really not so much the bookmarks themselves I’m worried about; it’s the annotations I’ve created for a good number of them. A lot of time and energy goes into distilling an entire online article into a 1000-character abstract.
I’ve been thinking about annotation a lot this past year — in part because last year I finally decided to scrap my old Word doc/Scrivener-based note-taking system and start using a DevonThink database. My old system wasn’t working for me anymore — I had known that for years — but it took a lot of research, and a lot of convincing, to bring myself to choose a substitute process and platform. That’s in part because I don’t entirely trust start-ups and social media and all those things floating around in “the cloud.” I never have any idea how long they’re going to be around, and I don’t know how they’re using my data (actually, I do know, and I don’t like it), so I’m always wary of investing too much in them. I’m not even sure about Acrobat Reader Pro, given Apple’s distate for Adobe. I’ve invested years in highlighting and annotating all my academic articles through Reader — and I’m just waiting for the day when pdf’s go all “8-track” on us, and I lose all that work, too.
I’ll find a way to save my bookmarks and annotations. But moving from Delicious before its impending implosion will require that I revise that essay for Trebor — which is a shame, since I had so many great gustatory puns (get it? delicious?!). Now I’ll have to think of some good archaeological plays-on-words (diigo? archaeological dig? where do I get this stuff?!).
And tonight I’ll dream of long-ago nights when I could go to sleep knowing exactly where my notes would be when I woke up in the morning. In fact, they’re still there — all those notes from 6th-grade Spanish, AP Calculus, and organic chemistry — in boxes above my dad’s workshop. All safe and sound in those archival vaults we called Trapper Keepers. I often mourn the loss of our “time-biased” media.