Terrible news for those who love news today. I was reading a story about e-books in the New York Times this morning and I decided it was worth saving as a future reference. I clicked the little “save” button, as I’ve been doing for the past three years or so, to place a link to the article in my Times File. This service, which started with the 2005 TimesSelect program, keeps a library of story links for me on the Times’ web site. But when I clicked today, I received the following horrifying message:
“We have removed the ability to save articles using the Times File tool. On Jan. 21, 2009, we are removing Times File from the site entirely.”
This, by itself, is horrible news. Why wouldn’t the Times want me visiting their site frequently to use my library? It’s not like the feature costs much to run or needs expensive software. And what about my existing library? Surely the New York Times wouldn’t just destroy my carefully selected library of great Times articles without giving me some way to export my links, right? Well, they’ve got one choice and one option only, to export to some service called Furl. Never heard of it. How about some more choices, New York Times! Like some we have heard of! Say, Delicious?
UPDATE: The Times has posted a Faq explaining why they are eliminating Times File. Here’s the excuse: “The Web is constantly changing; since we introduced Times File, several other social-bookmarking Web sites have become increasingly popular. Accordingly, we are refocusing resources to other areas of NYTimes.com.”
UPDATE2: There is a slightly laborious way to get your Times File bookmarks list off of their site and into the bookmarking site of your choosing. BUT BE CAREFUL – ONCE YOU EXPORT TO FURL, THE NEW YORK TIMES ERASES YOUR TIMES FILE LIST! IF YOU’RE READY TO PROCEED, Click on the Times’ link to export your bookmarks to Furl. This involves setting up a Furl account which is pretty quick and painless (they only want a valid email address and an acknowledgment that you’re over age 13). Then Furl sends you an email with a password to your new account. Go to your Furl bookmarks, sign in and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page where there is an option to “Export My Archive.” On the export page, choose the “Browser bookmark” format and save the resulting html file to your computer. That file can then be imported into most other bookmarking sites. On Del.cio.us, for example, use a “manual” bookmark import and choose the file that Furl created.