Former Yahoo director: Delicious could be donated for posterity

A former Yahoo director has weighed in on the fate of social bookmarking service Delicious, suggesting the site's contents could be donated to the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian should a sale prove too difficult.

Stephen Hood was director of product management at Delicious for nearly three years and in a blog post earlier today outlined a number of ways the site could be ''saved''. The site's future has been the subject of intense speculation since last week, when reports suggested Delicious could be among a number of under performing Yahoo projects shut down.

The Delicious team responded a day later and said while the site was not being shut down, Yahoo was seeking an ''ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive.''

Running down a list of possible outcomes, Mr Hood said selling Delicious to a third-party was the most attractive option for Yahoo, but would be complicated by the number of internal Yahoo technologies the site relies upon.

''During my time at Delicious we rebuilt the entire infrastructure to deeply leverage a number of internal Yahoo technologies. It’s all great stuff but not exactly easy to remove or replace.  Yahoo may have to license some of this technology to the buyer. I’m not sure they’ve done that before,'' he said.

The same challenges would face any attempt to open source the site and there would be little financial incentive for Yahoo to do so.

If a sale proved too difficult, Delicious could be donated to the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian in order to preserve its contents for research purposes, he said.

''I love Delicious for many reasons, but chief among them is that it is the Internet’s memory storage device.  In the 7+ years of its existence it has recorded the collective online journeys of millions of users during a time when the Web was evolving dramatically.  Those memories are irreplaceable and have enormous value both to their owners (the users) and to society,'' he said.

Spooked by rumours about a planned closure of the site, users have begun working on ways to extract their personal data for use elsewhere. Mr Hood suggested that Yahoo should make that process easier by making all data on the site publicly accessible - even if Delicious is sold to a third-party.

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