Delicious (also known as de.licio.us), the popular social bookmarking site, is rumored to be closing. Now is the time to backup your bookmarks and evaluate your options. While the information remains a rumor based on an internal memo leaked from Yahoo! (the current parent company), Delicious has posted an unsettling response on their website indicating that change is imminent.

Social bookmarking explained

Using bookmarks or favorites to remember, file, and sort all of the websites you use was a good idea in the beginning. Spending more time online and collect larger quantities of sites has created a need for a better catalogue of all of these sites. This is where Delicious came in. In addition, Delicious added a social component to your bookmarks where you could “tag” your links and share them as well as browse other sites with similar tags. For more information about how this works, view this creative video about how it works that describes Delicious as a “memory platform that helps you remember information with other people.”

The critical point of how Delicious is different and better is that over time an enormous network of public information is created that produces a steady stream of interesting links organized by tags. It is useful for research, writing articles, sharing information and hundreds of other ideas that were not previously possible when your bookmarks were stored privately on your computer.

Cloud-based bookmarking alternatives

In the end, whether Delicious is sold or killed off, it is important for you to back up your current bookmarks and consider your alternatives before they disappear. First, start by backing up all of your current Delicious bookmarks. Click over to this link and you will see the option to export all of your bookmarks. Second, review a few of these alternatives featured by Lifehacker:

  • Xmarks:  If you would prefer to forgo the social aspect of your bookmarks and keep them private, Xmarks is the site for you.
  • Diigo: This site provides much more than bookmarking, and is the one I am choosing to try first. You can annotate and highlight content, make notes on the page, add sticky notes and take screenshots as well as the more traditional aspects of bookmarking.
  • Google Bookmarks: Google Bookmarks is also a private tool with a few options for sharing and integrates with your other Google applications.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosemilkinabottle/4603616502/)