How to Make Your News Clips Delicious

Last month, TechCrunch reported that the popular bookmarking site, Delicious, is trapped in “purgatory”: Owner Yahoo wants to sell the property, but in a way that protects Yahoo’s proprietary’s technology that Delicious shares with the rest of the purple family. Yet whatever its fate, Delicious continues to offer a service that’s not only superior to the competition but that also should be part of every digital PR toolkit. Here’s why.

Quick: Your client asks you for a list of articles about X. You’ve been sent many of these articles before—whether through Google Alerts, forwarded links, or even hard copies—yet unless you’re paying to use a service such as Vocus, you likely haven’t been compiling clips. What do you do?

Option 1: Wade through old e-mails.

Option 2: Ask a colleague.

Option 3: Thank God for Google.

Option 4: Call up

The first three options suffer from at least one of the following headaches: They’re expensive, time-consuming, cumbersome, inefficient, or stovepiped. By contrast, option four—social bookmarking—is free, easy, powerful, and centralized.

This last point is especially important. It means that your data aren’t walled-off on an internal hard drive, but stored in the cloud. No longer do you need to be in the office to access a shared drive or beg the IT department for admin privileges; you just need access to

The value of bookmarking comes alive when you see it in action. For example: Talking with a reporter about your advanced research department? Refer her to all the articles that have been written about HSARPA. Got an e-mail from a colleague about that program called Cell-All? Peruse Cell-All’s archive. Does your boss want to see a list of the articles in which he’s quoted? Send him here.

(While these examples come from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, a client I’ve supported, other local companies actively using Delicious include the Sunlight Foundation, Jess3, Engage, and MiXT Media.)

As for the “social” part of bookmarking, not only are your clips public (unless you choose otherwise), but Delicious also allows you to see who else is logging the same articles. You then can “friend” these folks and use their links to broaden your reading sources.

To be sure, Delicious isn’t heaven. It works only with articles that appeared somewhere online. It stores only an excerpt rather than the full text. And it can’t sort by publication date. Yet, if nothing else, isn’t bookmarking better than what you’re doing now?

A version of this blog post appeared on the Rock Creek Blog on January 26, 2011.

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