Alternatives to stacks

Edit 24/7/12: Gary Green has written a good explanation of what stacks are and why he liked them, if you wanted more background info.

Unfortunately Delicious has just announced that they plan to stop supporting Stacks in August. Users will still be able to save bookmarks to Delicious, but won’t be able to make a page (stack) of links where they choose the image for each link, change the order of the links, etc. Update 24/7/12: on Twitter yesterday, Delicious told me “While stacks are going away, visual tag & link displays are in development that we think your library is gonna love!”. I pointed out it might have made more sense to develop these features before removing the existing stacks functionality, but hey ho.

I co-run a Keeping Up-to-date With Your Field workshop for staff at my conservatoire, and this year a few members of staff were excited by this feature of Delicious, and keen to use it to curate pages of links for their students. I therefore quickly collated a a few alternative options for them, and thought I’d blog it here to plug the gap until Phil Bradley does it better!

 1. Delicious tags instead of stacks

If you want students to look at a selection of links, you could give them all the same tag and then send students the link to that tag (or put it on Moodle). For example, here’s my library’s links on keeping up to date on Delicious.

The downside is that you can’t choose the order of links – they’re ordered by the date you saved them.

2. Diigo

Diigo is another social bookmarking site like Delicious, and it allows you to make lists – these resemble image-free stacks and let you edit the order of links. An example list is below:

Text view

Visual view (via ‘Play as webslides’ link at top-right)

Diigo also offer a free educational account where you can set up student accounts and put them in private groups.


These look the most similar visually to stacks. I haven’t used the site myself but had it recommended by Susan Merrick (a school teacher/librarian) at the recent London LibraryTeachMeet (which I’ve nearly finished writing up, honest!)

Downside: looks like there’s a limit of five pages (topics) per free account.

4. Jog the Web

This leads students through a menu of websites which are loaded in the same window – good if you want them to look at sites in a specific order. This was also recommended by Susan Merrick.

Downside: I have some concerns about the longevity of this site as the FAQ and support forum are inactive. Use at your own risk!


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Edith Speller

Library Systems and User Education Manager at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Lives in and loves SE London.

5 thoughts on “Alternatives to stacks”

  1. Thanks for the mention Edith.

    I particularly like your comment:

    “I pointed out it might have made more sense to develop these features before removing the existing stacks functionality, but hey ho.”

    It’s almost as if they just want to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. But, generally you only do that if you don’t like something yourself. Maybe they just didn’t understand that some people work in a different way and found stacks useful. Maybe stack lovers like me stayed too quiet about how great we thought they were.

  2. Me again!
    I’ve just been having a think about the other services you suggest and it’s funny, because I never really thought of as a bookmarking service – but it is though, isn’t it! I always had it in the same box as, which automatically aggregates links from tweets, RSS & Facebook, so I never really investigated it.

    Also, Jogtheweb reminds me of With this you can define a path that moves from one url to another, or even select a different branch link to go down. Again, I never thought of Trailmeme as a bookmarking service in the same way as, but again it is, just in the same way that Jogtheweb is.

    Anyway, my point is, thanks for getting me to think about the whole idea of whether I’m using the service for storing bookmarks or I’m more concerned about how I present them for ease of access for myself and others.

    Ideally, I suppose if doesn’t have any kind of service to replace the stacks function that does the job i need it to, I need to find an external add-on or mashup that will let me create some kind of stack type solution from my live bookmarks.


    1. Hi Gary, thanks for your comments! I hadn’t come across Trailmeme before – it looks like a better choice than Jogtheweb for those who want to specify a path through different sites.

      I disliked stacks for a while because I didn’t see the point in them when tags existed, but after a while I realised that they fulfilled a different purpose (like you say, a way of presenting bookmarks for others rather than keeping them for myself) and the potential of them certainly enthused my academic colleagues where tags previously hadn’t.

      I feel there must be potential for an external/mash-up solution to stacks since the Delicious API includes RSS feeds for tags and combinations of tags IIRC. I’m still annoyed they stopped displaying links to these feeds on tag pages! (they now only show the base RSS feed for all links from a user.)

      BTW I enjoyed your post and think you may be right about AVOS not wanting to compete with themselves – will be interesting to see what new projects emerge and whether any of those are a suitable replacement for stacks.


      1. I agree with your statement about initial thoughts on stacks, Edith. I thought “What’s the point?” at first and then realised after a bit of experimentation that they were handy for some purposes. Thanks for the thumbs up on the post too.

        Interesting comment you made about hidden RSS feeds. It seems to be a growing trend. Maybe the developers have been duped into the “RSS is dead” way of thinking. Or maybe they’re aiming for a new strategy of “If you want access to the information you have to pay for it.”

        &… Yes, I can’t wait to see what AVOS are planning too.


  3. So disappointed that they decided to kill stacks. I was unsure about them at first, but I just haven’t found a solid alternative elsewhere for the functionality we are losing. It really grew on me and made for a nice collection of my most important sources of information within a specific topic, category, or industry.

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