“Pinboard is down!”: 3 ways to make sure your bookmarks are still accessible when the site isn’t

ifttt recipe pinboard to google drive

On Saturday the social bookmarking service Pinboard experienced some lengthy downtime.

For those who rely on the service – like me – as professional archive, this was a problem. But it was a good example of why archives should always be backed up.

Here, then, are 3 ways you can – and probably should – back up your bookmark archives, whether you’re using Pinboard or another service.

1. IFTTT: Pinboard to Delicious (or Diigo, or Dropbox, or Evernote…)

Delicious is one of the oldest social bookmarking services, and is a useful free alternative to Pinboard. When Pinboard is down, I turn to my Delicious account as a backup.

Delicious was so widely used that Pinboard did offer the option to have your bookmarks ‘mirrored’ on Delicious, but this facility was withdrawn in October.

Pinboard announcement about withdrawing Delicious mirroring

You can, however, mirror your bookmarks and tags on Delicious yourself using the automation service IFTTT (If This Then That).

IFTTT allows you to specify a trigger (‘If This’) and what you want to happen when that trigger happens (‘Then That’).

In this case, you can specify ‘If I add a new bookmark on Pinboard’, ‘then add the same bookmark on Delicious’. (You can also choose Diigo or dozens of other services like Dropbox and Evernote).

This only works with public bookmarks.

You can either create your IFTTT ‘recipe’ from scratch, or you can select from recipes created by other people. Here, for example, is the page for all Pinboard recipes. It includes a recipe for saving new Pinboard bookmarks to Diigo, for backing up Pinboard articles to Dropbox (it only saves the URL), and, of course, for mirroring Pinboard links on Delicious.

You can also search for recipes involving the two services you prefer.

pinboard delicious ifttt search

To use any of those yourself, just make sure you have ‘activated’ any channels involved (there will be a blue ‘Activate’ button to the right). This means authenticating that service so IFTTT is allowed to connect to your particular account.

activate diigo channel

Once activated, click ‘Add recipe’ and it will be added to your recipes page on IFTTT and ‘switched on’. You can switch it off any time by returning to that page and clicking the ‘power button’ icon to the right of the relevant recipe.

Of course if you’re a Delicious user you can use the service to back that up, to Diigo, Dropbox and so on.

2. IFTTT: Pinboard to Google Drive

Although you can use a number of bookmarking and archiving services in IFTTT, it’s worth highlighting Google Drive separately.

The Google Drive channel on IFTTT creates a spreadsheet in your Google Drive and adds a row to that spreadsheet every time something happens: in this case, every time a new bookmark is created on Pinboard.

Once activated, and after you have saved a bookmark or two, you will find a new spreadsheet called ‘Any new public bookmark‘ in your Google Drive.

IFTTT Spreadsheet listed in Google Drive

That spreadsheet will contain a datestamp, page title, notes, tags (separated by commas), and a link.

pinboard bookmarks spreadsheet

The link, it should be noted, is an IFTTT URL that begins with http://ift.tt/ – so if that link shortening service is down, the URL may not work.

3. Export bookmarks regularly

Obviously all the above options rely on those websites being up – or indeed your own internet access. As a final option you should consider regularly backing up your Pinboard account and/or Google Drive spreadsheet.

Backing up the spreadsheet is as simple as selecting File > Download.

Backing up directly from Pinboard can be done from the export page. This gives you the option to export as HTML (easily readable and searchable offline), XML or JSON (you could convert these to a spreadsheet using Open Refine).

Any other tips for backing up bookmarks?


5 thoughts on ““Pinboard is down!”: 3 ways to make sure your bookmarks are still accessible when the site isn’t

  1. Steve

    I have set up a working IFTTT recipe to mirror bookmarks from Pinboard to Evernote and thus is great for all future bookmarks. But what about the collection of bookmarks I already have in Pinboard?

    I tried using a fresh IFTTT recipe and doing a full import of all my exported bookmarks in to Pinboard in the hope that IFTTT would catch them all and copy them. No such luck.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

      1. Steve

        Thanks for your reply Paul. Exporting from Pinboard is not the hard part, I have the exported XML from Pinboard. Delicious does not currently support bulk importing of bookmarks from a flat file and importing. There is also no easy method to import that XML in to Evernote (my preferred destination) that matches the same sort of formatting that the IFTTT recipe spits out. I like uniformity!

      2. Steve

        Yep indeed they have. From time to time Pinboard does become unavailable so to have another resource of links is handy. The major benefit for me however is to have all my bookmark links searchable alongside my notes and other bits in Evernote for one great repository.

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