Apr 13 2013

Moving from delicious to evernote

Published by at 6:59 pm under code,Del.icio.us,tagging,Technology

delicious websiteOver the years I’ve accumulated more than 1,000 links in http://delicious.com/smithjd.   Delicious (in its various versions) was my preferred tool  for storing,  retrieving, and sharing bookmarks.  Far better than bookmarking things in a browser.  But I’ve gotten impatient with the delicious browser widget in Chrome (and the website was just too much overhead) so I decided to move all my links to Evernote.  The Evernote web clipper widget is easier to use, it pick up chunks of text and images, and it puts them in the same searchable place as bibliographic citations, written notes of all kinds, etc.   Perhaps most importantly, Evernote is available on my desktop, on a laptop machine I use when traveling, on a tablet and on my phone. And the search function is great.

But how to move those 1,000 links I’ve accumulated over the years?  Should I just forget and start over?  Delicious does provide an easy way to put all the links and the comments that go with them in one big file that you can copy-paste into an Evernote note. Unfortunately, the tags would all be lost!  I spent a lot of time looking around for ways to import individual notes with their tags, including various attempts to use DR.PALANIRAJA’s blog posting Import Delicious bookmarks to Evernote including tags and an attempt to create an Evernote XML backup file.  I couldn’t get anything to work and it looked like Evernote had abandoned an import method that was supported at one time. After some mucking around, I ended up downloading an XML file, processed it in OpenRefine, and sent  each link to Evernote in an individual email from a Google Spread-sheet.  I thought I’d share the details of how I ended up doing it.

To do this, you start by inserting your username and password into this URL:

That gives you something like this:


Here is one post:

<post description=”Manufacturing Miracles”
extended=”By Horace Dediu, Asymco, Are wars the only means to motivate a society to boost manufacturing? Uxing Pixxa Perspective player on the iPad — an interesting statistical display machine.”
hash=”cd330643d37cbc870b9e4ac9cbe341e7″  href=”http://pixxa.com/pub/asymco/story/e8h9XtEr.html”
tag=”free ipad statistics”

One thousand of those is a bit daunting, but OpenRefine, one of my favorite tools for wrangling data, has no trouble creating a project by opening an XML file. You end up with columns in your refine project containing the following information:

  • time-date
  • hash (discard this)
  • href – the URL
  • shared & private (which are the inverse of each other and which I discarded)
  • description (basically the title of a post)
  • tag (the guts of the whole thing)
  • extended (more information on the post)

Use Refine to clean things up so that eventually you end up with a Google spread-sheet with columns that contain columns labeled href, description, tag, and an extended description:delicious-links-in-a-google-spread-sheet

Consulting Evernote’s blog on the format for the emailed notes set me up to write a Google Script that would send one email for each row:

function sendEmails() {
// building off tutorial code at https://developers.google.com/apps-script/articles/sending_emails
var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSheet();
var startRow = 2; // First row of data to process
var numRows = 189; // Number of rows to process
// Fetch the range of cells A2:B3
var dataRange = sheet.getRange(startRow, 1, numRows, 4)
// Fetch values for each row in the Range.
var data = dataRange.getValues();
for (i in data) {
var row = data[i];
var emailAddress = "your-evernote-address@m.evernote.com";
var subject = row[1] + " @ test" + row[2];
var message = row[0] + 'n n' + row[3];
MailApp.sendEmail(emailAddress, subject, message);

You can’t send all 1,000 emails at once, as I found out.  After trying to do so, I got an email message back from Evernote saying that most of them had been rejected, although some worked very nicely.  I figured there must be a limit on the number of emails, and indeed Evernote’s helpful folks responded with:

To ensure that our servers are able to provide the best possible performance for all users, as well as to prevent abuse, we have instituted a maximum number of emails that can be sent to your Evernote email address per day.
  • Free account holders may send a maximum of 50 emails per day to their Evernote email address.
  • Premium account holders may send a maximum of 250 emails per day to their Evernote email address.
The count is reset for each user daily at 12:00AM Pacific time.

So I send 250 mail messages a day for a few days.  The notes with information from Delicious aren’t all as beautiful as I’d like, but they have all the information I want.  I’m finding that Evernote makes it really easy to consolidate and clean up my my tags, which now apply to URLs as well as everything else!

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Moving from delicious to evernote”

  1. Julien says:

    Hi John, thanks for the post… Unfortunately, I don't know how to use OpenRefine, when I paste the XML-Text and it just gives me the first post correctly but not any more… How do I add the others?

    Additionally, how do you use a Google script?

    Thanks again for your help!

    • smithjd8 says:

      Hmm. Not sure what to suggest, Julien. You might pose the question about OpenRefine to its Discussion Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!foru… . It usually helps if you include a picture showing what you're entering into OpenRefine and what happens.

      As far as Google Scripts, it involves a bit of a learning curve, too. If you're more comfortable in a Microsoft environment, I know that Word can send an email from an Excel spreadsheet. That might be worth investigating.

      It has to be said that my "solution" wasn't perfect. I'm still correcting the odd entry here and there. But it was good enough to get me over the hump.

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