Until today, when I got the crazy idea that Evernote would be a great place to store and search the 5,698 Google Reader shared items I accumulated before Google yanked that feature last year.
Aside from other people’s positive reviews and the desire to test drive the service, Evernote has search and is portable across all my devices. Plus, even though there is a free option, you can pay for Evernote Premium. Part of the reason I’m doing this at all is because I over-invested in a free service, and from experience, with Posterous and Delicious, I know that getting data out of a free service can be difficult.
So, I’m starting out with free Evernote, but as I consolidate the myriad of stuff that interests me into one place, I’m likely to need an upgrade. Paying should get me better data portability if I need it, right?
I should note that what follows is a consolidation of work done by others that you could find by searching. I’m documenting it here for my own use later and to provide some link love to the people who helped. Thanks people.
Maybe someday I’ll do some real work myself.
Since Google recently added Reader to its Takeout data portability project, I had a 28 MB JSON file as a starting point.
As a quick caveat, one reason I put off joining Evernote so long is that it’s a very fully-featured service, and it’s very possible that I overlooked some great feature that could have saved me effort. Feel free to share anything I missed in the comments.
After some digging, it became apparent that the process wouldn’t be as easy as an import into Evernote, whose desktop client only supports a proprietary .enex file format.
I decided to start by creating a bookmarks-style HTML page for the Reader Shares, something I’d been planning to do anyway to give me a quick list for searching. It was pretty clear that Evernote wouldn’t be able to do anything with JSON, so converting to HTML seemed like a step in the right direction.
Evernote can import an HTML file as a note, but it won’t create individual notes for each link, which is what I wanted.
After quite a bit more digging, I found a Perl script written by Thomas Schädler that takes a bookmarks file and converts it to the .enex file format for import into Evernote. Bueno.
After installing ActivePerl, I used Thomas’ script and poof, I had a file ready for Evernote import. I successfully imported the file and all 5,700 links (somehow I think I gained two extra, but meh), then synced them to Evernote, and now, I can finally close the book on Google Reader Shared Items.
Bonus, if Google pulls the plug on Reader Starred Items, I’ll know where to put them.
Now that I have a home for all my Reader Shares, the next step will be to move my Chrome browser bookmarks over and reclaim my Delicious links, assuming I can do that. With Twitter finally rolling out an archive feature, maybe I’ll add all my tweets too.
I’ve been using Pocket, formerly Read It Later, a lot lately as a replacement store for all the links I find. I love the ease it provides, and happily, Evernote and Pocket provide an integration between the two services.
So, it looks like I’ll be sticking with Evernote, given that it’s become the home for all my links and such. Frankly, this is the best way to force myself to use something new, i.e. make it very necessary.
Find the comments with any Evernote tips and tricks or any general thoughts you’d like to add.