Links of interest: December 17th, 2010

Good afternoon! Links today – and links sometime in the next two weeks, but precisely when will depend on what I find, since I suspect many of my regular sources may slow down a little over the next two weeks.

Today’s links include a lot of discussion about social bookmarking tools, changing how we look at doing things, and a hippo.(Actually, a hippo, a loris, a hydra, and an infinite string of elephants and camels. But who’s counting?)

Yesterday’s news:
As many of you have possibly already seen, news circulated yesterday that they are going to be discontinuing Delicious, one of the best known of the social bookmarking sites. The latest news (less than an hour ago!) says that they’re looking for someone to buy it, instead of shutting it down. Tech Crunch has commentary on the latest bit.

I’m seeing a lot of posts about alternatives and other details (on which more in a moment), but also some comments about how this is one of the risks of cloud computing.

Honestly, though, I think this is a risk with any computer technology (after all, a particular software program can become obsolete just as easily.) My personal practice is to make sure that any tool I use, whether on my computer, or in the cloud has an export option into a widely used format (plain text files, standard bookmark formats, comma separated values, whatever.) Or I make sure I never put anything I couldn’t bear to lose into that format.

Onto the links:

Of the available options, I’ve been playing with Pinboard for a couple of non-professional projects, and I plan to move all of my professional Delicious bookmarks to an account there as well. They note that they’re currently running slowly due to a lot of imports, so I may wait a few days to upload and rearrange bookmarks there. Note that I’m also mostly bookmarking things in public so I can point at them later (“For more, see this tag” kinds of stuff), not necessarily using other social tools (who else has tagged this) frequently.

Pinboard is a for-pay account, which costs .001 cents per user at the time you sign up. My original account for personal use was around $6.10 and they’re now up past $8.30 and rising. I understand they’re working hard to build out for the number of new users they’re seeing. However, that’s a one-time cost (similar to Metafilter) unless you want to pay for additional offline archiving. Diigo, in contrast, has ads on its free accounts, but the paid accounts are by month or year.

Changing the paradigm:
A lot of things in my list of links for this week are really about changing how we look at or do things.

And sometimes what’s going on isn’t what we think it is. danah boyd talks about a conversation with one of the folks at Formspring. As danah says:

She told me that they were working diligently to respond to upset parents who were outraged by anonymous bullying but that they had hit a stumbling block. As they started looking into specific cases of teens answering “anonymous” harassing questions, they started realizing that a number of vicious questions were posted by the Formspring account owners themselves. They appeared on Formspring as anonymous but they were written by the owner while logged into their own account.[1] In other words, there are teens out there who are self-harassing by “anonymously” writing mean questions to themselves and then publicly answering them.

danah’s post then goes on to talk more about this in context of other things she’s studied online.

Other interesting things:

And, oh, yes. I promised a hippo. This is not only a hippo, but a great quick reminder of the importance of critical thinking! (YouTube video,

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Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

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