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TechCrunch has reported (and close-as-dammit confirmed) that Yahoo! will close down Delicious. If so, it’s close to a tragedy.

Social bookmarks have been one of the defining aspects of Web 2.0. As described in our Web 2.0 Framework, sharing in very simple ways can create value for many. It is a simple step to take the bookmarks you are doing anyway, and make them visible along with your tags to describe them. That simple step “transforms mass participation into valuable emergent outcomes” for all, part of the shift to collective intelligence.

Many have called for Yahoo! to make Delicious open source or otherwise try to keep it alive rather than close it down. I would be one of many very unhappy with Yahoo! if they don’t at least make an effort to do that. But I’m not holding my breath.

So… if Delicious disappears what will Delicious users (of which I am one) do?

Get your bookmarks out: Export your bookmarks immediately, and keep doing so regularly if you continue to use it.

How to export your bookmarks: Go to your Delicious page, click on Settings in the upper right hand corner, then on Export/ Backup Bookmarks under the Bookmarks category. Choose whether you want to export your tags and notes as well, the click Export. This creates an HTML file that can be imported by browsers and some other services.

Find an alternative social bookmarking service. There are a variety of alternatives, but no standouts to my mind, so I haven’t made a firm decision yet which way I’ll go. Here are the major alternatives:

bookmark_diigo.jpg

Diigo is a well-established social bookmarking service that can also store images, notes, documents, and can highlight text, using toolbars on browsers and across mobile apps. The basic version is free but you have to pay for full text search and ads free versions, and screen captures are limited. Unfortunately there is no apparent way to import your bookmarks from other sites.

bookmark_Evernote.jpg

Evernote, a highly popular cross-platform notes system includes the capability to clip selections or web pages onto Evernote and tag them. Evernote runs across mobile platforms as well as on browsers and desktop apps on Mac and Windows.

bookmark_pinboard.jpg

Pinboard.in is an interesting site that can import directly from Delicious and other social bookmarking sites as well from browser bookmarks. It has a number of nice features that Delicious doesn’t, however it requires $7 to start using it, and $25 annually to save all your bookmarks (who wouldn’t want this?) and to do full search. There is no browser toolbar at this point.

bookmark_Google.jpg

Google Bookmarks is a simple bookmarking service from Google allows you to import all your bookmarks from your browser, however using the Google Toolbar to import does not readily allow for pulling in the file exported from Delicious. If you use a range of other Google services this will fit neatly in to your activities.

bookmark_zootool.jpg

Zootool has got significant traction as a service to bookmark images, videos, documents and links, particularly intended for creative people. It allows sharing through Twitter, Tumblr and other services. It has been bootstrapped by a small dev team in Germany, so doesn’t have the substance of some other offerings, however offers an API which means you can access your bookmarks.

bookmark_historious.jpg

Historious is focused on web bookmarking. It offers limited functionality on free plans, with cheapest version costing $20 per year. You can create personalized search engines from your bookmarked sites.

A few other useful references on the same topic:

Lifehacker: How to Export Your Delicious Bookmarks and Import Them Into Your Favorite Browser

Search Engine Land: 10 Alternatives To Delicious.com Bookmarking

The Next Web: 6 Solid Alternatives to Delicious

For the most current insights and trends in the living networks, follow @rossdawson on Twitter!

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Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author. He is Founding Chairman of AHT Group, which consists of 3 companies: consulting, publishing, and ventures firm Advanced Human Technologies, future and strategy firm Future Exploration Network, and events company The Insight Exchange.

Ross is author most recently of Getting Results From Crowds, the prescient Living Networks, which anticipated the social network revolution, the Amazon.com bestseller Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and Implementing Enterprise 2.0. (click on the links for free chapter downloads). He is based in Sydney and San Francisco with his wife jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two beautiful young daughters.

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