Tagged with “pinboard”

Backing up full-page archives from Pinboard

Several years ago, I blogged about a Python script I’d written to back up my Pinboard bookmarks. I’ve been using Pinboard since then – a brief homebrew solution aside – and recently, I wanted to turn my attention to my archival account.

As well as storing a list of pages you’ve saved, you can pay a small annual fee and Pinboard will save a complete copy of the pages you bookmark. This helps keep your bookmarks useful in the face of link rot – when pages change, or even disappear completely. Pages break surprisingly quickly – Maciej did some informal research on link rot a few years back, and even that post itself has now broken. Around 15% of my bookmarks no longer go anywhere useful.

Once a page is archived, it appears with a small grey checkmark next to the link – so you easily view the archived page if the original goes away.

I’ve paid for the extra archiving for years, and having these complete backups of my bookmarks is great – but they only live on Pinboard. What if Pinboard gets acquired, or Maciej wipes the servers and runs off to Mexico? I really want a local backup of all these full-page copies.

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Automatic Pinboard backups

I’ve been using Pinboard to store my bookmarks for nearly two years, and it’s a wonderful site.

Before I joined, I kept all of my bookmarks as .webarchive files stored in a folder on my computer, with a hideously complicated text document holding all of my comments and tags. Pinboard has been a breath of fresh air: it’s fast, simple, handles all of the archiving for me and has generally been very reliable.

Unfortunately, two years had taken their toll on my account, and the whole thing was a bit of a mess. Rather than try to restore some sense of order to an unsustainable tagging and annotation system, I decided to blow all of my bookmarks away, and start from scratch. I’ve exported all of my old bookmarks, and perhaps I’ll add them all back as time allows. Or perhaps not.

When I exported them all, I suddenly realised how fragile my system was. Although I’m sure Pinboard keeps excellent backups, I didn’t actually have a local backup of my bookmarks. I’d make a half-hearted visit to the export page every so often, but I didn’t have it automated. This time round, I wanted to change that. So I wrote my own system for doing Pinboard backups.

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