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November 21, 2006

SlideShare.net: Ready, Set, Present!

Dr. X. Pertise agreed to speak to a university group at a meeting that is coming up in two days, on a broad topic peripherally related to his own research, but for which he doesn't have appropriate slides. Dr. P. thought there would be plenty of time to just put together something quick, but something unexpected has gone haywire in the lab at the last minute. He doesn't have time to make presentation slides, so he logs onto SlideShare and looks to see if there is a presentation by anyone he knows on this topic, that he could repurpose for this talk, with appropriate attribution to the original author. A few quick keyword searches, and he has found one presentation that has some good images, another presentation with a good conceptual outline, and some recommended resources that he can easily enrich. He knows the authors, so he contacts them to request a copy of their slides. In the meantime, he sends the links to his assistant, and asks them to start assembling new presentation slides that incorporate these bits. Later, he will quickly reorganize the information the way he wants it for the presentation.

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Does this sound too good to be true? Pie-in-the-sky futuring? Well, tah-dah! The future has arrived. SlideShare.net allows people to share their slide presentations. It does not allow people to download the slides, only view them online, but that still can be very useful when assembling ideas in a time-dependent situation. SlideShare is a new service, so the content is still very much growing. Some of the best content is from organizations and government institutions that provide free information as advocates for a specific topic.

Still, you might be surprised what you can find. Examples include presentations on HIPAA and e-mail, four-handed dentistry, medical ethics, professionalism and education, bioinformatics, genomics, the semantic web, craniofacial anomalies, tissue engineering, drug development, and more.

The search interface is particularly sloppy, so you have to do a fair amount of digging once you get to the results. The more specific language is more useful in this circumstance. Like any of the Web 2.0 tools, the quality of what is findable will depend on people who are willing to share their content. If this would be a useful resource to have in the future, consider if it is worth sharing something of yours to make it more useful now.

Posted by pfa at November 21, 2006 03:06 PM

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