I’ve been working on a little script to help manage the Delicious inbox. When you save a link in Delicious, you can add an additional tag of for:username to send the link to another Delicious user. So if I see something that I think my darling bride might be interested in, I can just tag it with “for:dschinker” and it’ll go in her inbox on Delicious.
We use this functionality a lot at EdTechTalk. We do a weekly roundup of technology news and resources every Sunday. Most of the content for that show comes from listener submissions. We just tell people that they can tag items in Delicious with “for:edtechtalk” and those links will go into our account.
The problem is that they don’t really go into our account. They go into our inbox. So, someone has to log in to the Delicious account and go through those links. Poor Jennifer used to have to sort through the links every week, and save them all, adding descriptions and tags. While this isn’t a big deal most of the time, it can be very time consuming when you have a hundred links every week.
Several months ago, we started using a Python script to do this automatically. It worked reasonably well, but for some reason it stopped adding tags on March 1. I think it has to do with some changes to the RSS feed for the Inbox on Delicious. Not knowing Python, I decided not to try and fix it.
Instead, I wrote a new PHP script that saves the inbox items. Here’s how it works: When you run the script, it pulls the RSS feed for your inbox. It goes through each of the items, and saves it to your delicious account. It uses the tags and description that the person submitting it used. You can optionally have it add additional tags, or have it use the popular or recommended tags for that link.
If the item is already in your Delicious account, the script will either leave it there or modify the existing link to include the new tags and description. It’s all tunable by editing the first few lines of the script.
Here in the school district, we’re using the script to handle submitted links, too. Teachers (and students, and, well, anybody) can tag links with for:bbhcsd and the script will do the rest. If they add tags for various curricular areas or grade levels, we can collect those links in a central place and share them through the building portal pages. We still have a lot of work to do on the taxonomy. Having a consistent tagging scheme will be critical for a project like this. But I envision a system that allows teachers, especially, to trivially share resources with one another.
The script is here, if you’re interested. I should also mention that it uses this script to parse the XML data. I can’t guarantee that it’ll be of any use to anyone else, but if you can find some use for it, you’re more than welcome to use it.