chebe: (OlympusCamera)
[personal profile] chebe
Edit: check the comments for more recent methods some other helpful people have found.

NOTE: these are instructions for LJs old ScrapBook service. If you've been moved to the new one the process is mostly the same, but some changes will be needed. See link in this comment.

Step 1: cookies.txt

My browser of choice is Firefox, which since v3 has used sqlite databases to store cookies, instead of the older method of dumping them into a .txt file. The auto download tool I'm going to use requires the older style cookies file. So I went and found a plugin (Firefox only). You have to restart after installation.

Now, go to LJ and log in. Then Tools > Export Cookies... and chose a save file location.

Note: the next step can be done without the cookies file, but only your publicly visible gallery>files will be saved. The cookies.txt file is a snapshot. You will have to regenerate it next time you want to back up your Scrapbook if you've logged-out/logged-in in the meantime.

Step 2: go get those files
I'm using wget. It exists on many platforms but I'm running it, and the other programs used later on, under linux.

(Do you have any Unsorted files? Please see edit note at bottom of post.)

Option A: greedily grab it all

The short commands are;
  • -nc; no clobber, meaning don't download additional copies of existing files
  • -np; no parent, this is very IMPORTANT, it means only look in subdirs, don't ascend up into the depths of saving everything along the way
  • -r; recursive
  • -o output.file; redirect output to specified log file

  • Put it all together and you have;
    wget --load-cookies cookies.txt -nc -np -r -o log.txt

    This will run for quite some time, the more pics you have, the more time it will take.

    But wget downloads everything, not just pictures, and in ScrapBooks hierarchy (which is not the most useful for humans). So it's going to need sorting, but I'll leave that up to you.

    Option B: pick and choose

    Part 1; spider
  • --spider; follow the links as usual, but don't download any files
  • -nd; no directories, don't create any

  • wget --load-cookies cookies.txt --spider -nd -np -r -o spider.txt

    I left this running for a few hours. LJ says I've over 400 ScrapBook files (on my Profile page, but these are just public images), using <300MB of storage. And I have a very unreliable network. In the end spider.txt reached 1.6MB and finished with this;
    Downloaded: 817 files, 5.1M in 3m 33s (24.3 KB/s)

    Part 2; filter and grab
    cat spider.txt | grep | sed -r 's/^.*(pics\.livejournal\.com\/your_user_name\/pic\/[0-9a-z]{8}).*$/http:\/\/\1/' | sort -n | uniq > links.txt

    Resulting links.txt file was 635 lines/links long.

  • -i input.file; input file of links to visit

  • wget --load-cookies cookies.txt -i links.txt -np -o dl.txt

    dl.txt ending with;
    Downloaded: 629 files, 262M in 56m 56s (122 KB/s)
    And after everything, 629 images end up on my local hard-drive, weighing in at just 264MB.

    If you are getting 'ERROR 403: Forbidden' messages you probably aren't signed in while trying to access protected images. Make sure you are loading your cookies!

    When all is said and done you'll have your images, with their LJ names (helpful if you've linked them in journal posts but want to move image hosting), but you'll lose any gallery/directory structure you may have hoped for.

    And please don't abuse this tool, annoying LJ won't help anyone get their images.

    *edit* Are you missing the images from the Unsorted gallery? Yeah, me too. Seems that because they aren't linked like the others they get missed.

    > Prevention: before you do anything with wget create a gallery and add all the images in Unsorted to it.
    > Patch: hopefully you don't have too many Unsorted. Go through them one-by-one copying link location (leave off the trailing /), put them in a new .txt file, and run the last command with the new input file. (Or just save them manually while you're there anyway getting the links.)
    If you do have lots, you could try spidering from, but I haven't done it.

    Date: 2011-05-30 04:46 am (UTC)
    foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (mischief)
    From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
    Oooh, could I post a link about this to [community profile] lj_refugees? It's a great resource.

    Date: 2011-05-31 12:30 pm (UTC)
    pfctdayelise: (thoughtful musing (waking life))
    From: [personal profile] pfctdayelise
    this looks very useful, thanks! I'm going to bookmark it for one day when data integrity makes it to the top of my priorities (it happens every year or so :)).

    Date: 2011-12-13 08:44 am (UTC)
    hel: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] hel
    Thank you Thank you Thank you! I was searching and searching for some tool to do this with, and constantly going through my head was "surely wget could do this, if I just knew what to tell it!" Now I have rescued all my pictures, stuff I had lost all other copies of!

    Date: 2011-12-13 03:20 pm (UTC)
    hel: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] hel
    I did use cookies, with the plugin you linked in firefox... 7? 8? Dunno, not at that computer now.
    And I'm not sure, but I believe I found your post via Google.

    Date: 2012-04-12 03:59 am (UTC)
    ladykalessia: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] ladykalessia
    Before I go deep-diving into the manpages, has anyone ever done this using curl? (I'm not seeing all equivalent args in the -help.) It looks like a default install of OS X doesn't grok wget.

    Date: 2012-04-12 04:13 pm (UTC)
    ladykalessia: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] ladykalessia
    Ah, that's right. I've used it before for a range of values like[1-99].jpg, which is why I kept thinking it could do recursion. I wonder though if it would parse a wildcard as those weirdly hashed image names and grab all of the original source images. This is of course provided you could point it at the correct depth in the Scrapbook system and also get it to parse the cookies file correctly.

    All of this is speculation on my part because I was able to run wget from a Linux box on our network and get a 300MB dump of my files. Good instructions, thanks!


    Date: 2012-06-03 03:40 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile]
    Just wanted to say thanks - These were great instructions and very helpful.

    LiveJournal is apparently in the process of migrating to a different implementation of Scrapbook. This was good, as it meant that they sent me an email to remind me that I even had any Scrapbook pictures that I might want to save. Unfortunately, it also meant that galleries now live under instead of Still, it was relatively easy for me to adapt your instructions to the new scheme.

    I documented the steps I followed here ( I suspect that if I spent a few minutes thinking about it, I could figure out how to preserve the original album structure and maybe even the album names. Still, I figured I should go ahead, post what I had, and thank you now for your instructions. :-)


    Date: 2013-11-22 05:00 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous)
    after your and joecarnahan's methods didn't work anymore, I have modified the procedure so that it can be used again to download Scrapbook photos.
    My explanations can be found here. (

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