Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world

How to Move to Evernote From Delicious

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This might seem slightly off-topic, but hey, it’s about Computing, GIS and Archaeology as far as I’m concerned… namely the likely demise of Yahoo’s Del.icio.us (yes, I know the current status is “for sale” but three days ago they were going to close it so there’s a measure of uncertainty there, I think you’ll agree). I’ve been using this since 2005 as a place to chuck all my useful tips and tricks on how to do “stuff”, or interesting things I’d like to read later. Recently I’ve moved towards Instapaper for the latter, mainly for the off-line support for my ipod (I get a personalised magazine for train journeys) but most of my web clippings are still in Del.icio.us and I don’t want to lose them. I don’t really use the social aspects of Delicious at all, so my requirement is just for a good web bookmarker.

There have been lots of posts about Delicious alternatives, some of which are free, some of which cost money, but to my mind the best seems to be Evernote. It gives you off-line access to your bookmarks, and the same handy browser extensions and smart phone apps, so meets all my requirements. I’d been using Evernote for a while for the offline support, and it was starting to bug me that I had notes in both Evernote and Delicious, so the move is a good one for me. But… how do you get your delicious bookmarks into Evernote, maintaining your painstaking set of tags?

The easiest instructions to find suggest just dumping all your Delicious entries into an html file and importing that as a single note in Evernote, but to be honest that’s not really good enough. However, I did find this article, which is (almost) pain free and gets you separate notes for each Delicious entry.

There are a couple of caveats (which is why I’m writing this post). Firstly, you need to install the desktop version of Evernote to have access to the “Import an Evernote Archive” feature. Secondly, you are likely to find special characters that mess up your import, even if you follow all the instructions.

My solution was to try the import as described above, making sure to save the Evernote archive (enex) file in UTF8 format as the link suggests. When the import failed, as it did several times, I took note of the line that caused the failure. I then opened the enex file in a sensible text editor that has line numbers and an undo function (I use Programmers Notepad on windows), and deleted everything from that line down, before saving the file. When the cut-down version of the file worked, I undid the deletion, and this time removed the lines above and including the failing line, and repeated the process again. It took 3 attempts to import all 1200 of my Delicious entries, which wasn’t too bad. These ended up in three separate Evernote Notebooks, named “Imported Notes (n)” but I’m not bothered by that and at least I have them all in, with tags preserved.

I did also find this perl script to do the job too if your preference is for command-line fu.

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