May 30, 2007
RSS Feeds are great for productivity, although some argue they aren't strictly Web 2.0.
Just in case you're curious about using these, let me show you and example and walk you through how to use them in your web pages.
RSS feeds to your web pages let you display results from one site on another, and the list will automatically update as the content chanes on the original site. For example, you can list new articles from a blog, results from a PubMed search, new articles published in your favorite journal, or results from a Google News search, for just a few examples.
Let's start with a Google News search on Web 2.0.
STEP 1: Pick the source of your RSS feed.
Google Search: "Web 2.0"
Here's a screenshot:
STEP 2: Find the link for your RSS feed.
For this Google search, you will notice in the bottom left hand corner there is a link that says RSS. (If you need to make the picture bigger, you can click on it.)
STEP 3: Click on the RSS link.
When you click on the RSS link, you might see a somewhat funky display like this:
Notice it isn't very pretty and is a little confusing. That's OK, because you are going to ignore everything except the location bar. You know -- that place where the web address or URL displays? Find the part that begins ... http://news.google.com/news? etcetera. Select or highlight the entire URL, and copy it.
STEP 4: Go to Feed2JS (or one of the mirror sites).
Please note - you can thank Alan Levine for this wonderful tool!
STEP 5: Click on BUILD.
STEP 5: Click on BUILD.
Follow the instructions, and fill in the form.
You might want to play around with this a few times. Use the preview button a LOT to make sure it looks the way you want it.
Now, highlight and copy the code!
STEP 7: Paste the code.
You can paste the resulting code in your web page code, web code editor, a blog entry like this, or more. Without any extra formatting, you can quickly and easily get this.
May 21, 2007
Wiki Search Engine: Qwika
Wikis have advantages and disadvantages. In my mind, as long as you remember to preserve a healthy scepticism about ANY source, print or electronic, the advantages of wikis will far outweigh the concerns. In that context, it can be really handy to search wikis for information, tips, and sources that people really focused on a topic consider to be the best on that topic. You can do this in Google, with some tricky approaches.
For example, let's say you want information on diabetes.
I can search the disease term with the term "wiki", like this.
Google: diabetes wiki
The results are fairly good, but it includes blog entries and web pages that mention wikis, as well as wikis themselves, and has over a million hits. I want to make it a little more focused.
Here is a search where I've put the disease term in with a special Google command (inurl) to search for the word WIKI anywhere in a URL.
Google: diabetes inurl:wiki
The results are fairly good, and it has dropped the results down to under 200,000, but has many of the same problems as the earlier search. Better, but could still be better yet.
Enter Qwika. Wouldn't it be nice to have a search engine that just searches the content of wikis proper? Well now we do.
Again, not a perfect search. Qwika searches just over 1000 wikis. The results have some problems with ranking, where it does not group results from the same source nor does it rank by quality or credibility of the source. That meant my Qwika search on diabetes listed results beginning with a Wikipedia parody, and then continued with a long list of results from various permutations of Wikipedia itself. Still, it brought the total number of results to under 600 -- much, much less than the other searches, making it more reasonable to explore the results in greater depth.
May 14, 2007
Web 2.0 Recommendations from Other Folk
Digital Trends: The Best of Web 2.0 / Vince Veneziani (Feb 06): http://reviews.digitaltrends.com/guide46.html
Online Education Database: Top 25 Web 2.0 Search Engines (Feb 07): http://oedb.org/library/features/top-25-web20-search-engines
Online Education Database: Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps to Improve a Student's or Professor's Productivity (Mar 07): http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/top-25-web20-productivity-apps
SEOMoz 2007 Web 2.0 Awards (May 07): http://www.seomoz.org/web2.0/
Solution Watch: Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0: Part 1/ Brian Benzinger (Sept 06): http://www.solutionwatch.com/512/back-to-school-with-the-class-of-web-20-part-1/
TechCrunch: 2007: Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without / Michael Arrington (Jan 07): http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/01/02/2007-web-20-companies-i-couldnt-live-without/
May 11, 2007
Want to Find More Web 2.0?
Danah Boyd on Social Networking Sites for Education
Boyd, Danah. Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?
The Knowledge Tree, an e-Journal of Learning Innovation. Edition 13.
More Web 2.0 Tools & How They Can Be Used
Linked In - job hunting, address book, mailing lists, client contacts, consulting referrals ...
Twitter - quick answers to quick questions; highly interactive (but goegraphically separate) professional community; remote personal trainer; health counseling & tracking ...
Slideshare - presentation archiving and sharing; quick preparation for a presentation; models of good presentations ...
Zoho Show - collaborative presentation development; simple webcasting; remote job interview or consultancy presentations ...
Wikis (CTools [UM], PBWiki, WetPaint) - archiving consensus knowledge on a specific domain or topic; everything listed in the Google Docs section; teamwork; project planning; project management; development of consensus statements / documents; class projects ...
May 10, 2007
More Web 2.0 Tools: Flickr, Slideshare, Zoho Show
There are a lot of other useful Web 2.0 tools. I've been using a number of them in creating this site. Up to this point, I've a few hours across a couple of days in assembling this information as the web site.
Using the blog as a web development tool has been a great help. The University of Michigan Libraries are providing MBlog as a platform for all faculty, staff, and students.
Both Flickr and Slideshare allow you to load your files (images or presentations) into an online account. There are usually free versions of the service to start with, and then you have the option of paying for an upgrade to the account to provide more services and options. Both Flickr and Slideshare also make it really easy for you to use whatever you have in their service in your blogs and web pages, and they even provide you with the code! For this class blog, I loaded the screenshots or presentation files, clicked through to the screen that gave me the code, copied it and pasted it into the blog editing window. Pretty simple.
Here is another presentation file that talks a bit about how to use Flickr and Slideshare, and gives some other productivity tips for using these.
Social Bookmarking, Part 5: More Things to Do (Education & Teaching)
What about in a course? Can you use social bookmarking with students in classes? Of course. Just as with research assistants, ask the students to make their own account. Make sure they are using the same social bookmarking system that you are using, since you can't tag links for someone else's attention if they are on a different system.
Create a course account. Tag links to match the topics in the syllabus.
Use your social bookmarking tool to manage the class assignments and readings.
Bookmark the readings, and tag those for the next class session as 2do.
Bookmark web pages for the class to review or analyse, put brief instructions in the comment section.
Give students an assignment to use Del.icio.us.
Assign students topics to search. Have them evaluate the selected links, and tag the best for you to review as potential additions to the course account. If you agree, add the links. If not, save a search strategy that might help them find better materials.
More ideas for assignments:
m2h blogging: writing and researching using del.icio.us
A student's point of view:
Assignment 2 - Digital Technologies. The Practical Application of Digital Technologies. Year 1: Module 01237 Digital Technologies Assignment 2; Reflective Learning Log
Look for more ideas at Teachers Teaching Teachers.
Social Bookmarking, Part 4: More Things to Do (Research Support)
Now for some ways to use social bookmarking to support your work in research.
Collect items for a bibliography.
This lets you collect the articles in one spot while you are looking at them on the screen. If your campus uses a proxy server, the URLs may not work for a friend or colleague at another institution, and if you are off campus, they may require that you login to make the URLs work again. However, you have all the articles you want for a specific project collected in one space, which is handy when you start writing.
A tip for making this work well is to tag each one consistently with what it is (for example, "articles") and another tag to indicate the project. This allows you to then assemble the list later with a URL that will combine both tags with a plus sign (+). For example:
Save your searches. When you are working and doing a complicated search, save your search strategy as a bookmark, then you can come back to it at a later time. You can also then share the search strategy with colleagues, partners, or students. Imagine assigning an assistant to work through the search results after you perfect the search!
Notice that the example search strategies include both web searches in Google as well as database searches in PubMed. You can also save searches from Yahoo, Google Images, Google News, and many other tools. Sometimes it requires special finagling to make this work (like with PubMed); sometimes the strategy is shown in the URL (the web site address), and all you have to do is save. If you need help finding out if this will work with your favorite online search tools, ask a librarian.
Have students or assistants search for you, select items, and tag them for you.
Remember in the first page of examples that you could use for: tags to mark something for a friend or colleague? Well, people can do the same for you. If you are having a student or assistant do preliminary searches and select items for you to review, there are two ways you could do this.
The first (and usually worst) way would be to log in to your account or give the assistant your password. That is bad for all the same reasons it is usually bad to give anyone any of your passwords. When is it OK? When the account is a shared account already, and the assistant is a member of the group of people who are already allowed to edit the account.
The second way is to ask the assistant to make their own account. It is free, so there is no cost involved. Ask the assistant to do the searches logged in as themselves, and tag them with your account name. You can review their selections, whatever tags they added, and make your own decisions. You will need to review them to add them to your account, but this will still be a whole lot faster than doing it yourself!
Social Bookmarking, Part 3: More Things to Do (Web Sites)
OK, more ideas of things to do. This group looks at some ways to use social bookmarking (and other Web 2.0 tools) to support building web sites.
Collect resources to create a teaching / learning guide.
Delicious collection becomes a web page resource guide on Avian Flu.
Part of the advantage of this is that as you add new resources, they automatically appear in the web guide without needing to do anymore coding or ask a web master for help. It is also really easy to delete links that have gone bad or disappeared -- literally just clicking a button!
Use an account to feed content to a web site. Example above demonstrates this with Del.icio.us, but guess what? You can do the same thing with anything that has an RSS feed option (blogs, Twitter, Flickr, search results from Google News, search results from databases like PubMed, tables of contents from you favorite journals, etcetera.
Here is another example like the right above, but instead using a blog to feed content to the web page.
May 09, 2007
Social Bookmarking, Part 2: Things to Do (With and For People)
Here are some ideas and examples of things you can do with social bookmarking. Please note, examples are given in Del.icio.us, but these ideas also work with Furl or Connotea or most other similar tools. This first group of examples look at using social bookmarking, well, socially! To work with other people, support a team effort, communicate, answer questions, etcetera.
Discover and track new items on a topic of hot interest.
* Del.icio.us: Tags: Web 2.0
* Del.icio.us: Tags: Crowdsourcing
* Del.icio.us: Tags: Second Life & Education
Have a shared account for a team of people working on the same project.
* Del.icio.us: UM Health Sciences Libraries
* Del.icio.us: UM Dentistry Library
* Del.icio.us: Let's Face It
Collect links to answer a question from a boss or administration.
Q: Keep me up to date on new resources with avian flu and pandemic response for the University's planning committee on disaster preparedness.
A: Del.icio.us: UM Health Sciences Libraries: Avian Flu
Share resources with a coworker or individual team member.
Del.icio.us: Ed's Stuff for Nancy
Answering reference questions.
Del.icio.us: Rose Finds Things on Chiari Syndrome for a Patient
Social Bookmarking, Part 1: Why & How To
* Have you ever printed off a web page to take to a different computer so you could bookmark it where you need it?
* Or emailed a link from home to work for the same reason?
* Or been traveling and wished you could get a bookmark from your home computer?
If your head is nodding, then social bookmarking is for you!
Del.icio.us and other social bookmarking tools began life as tools to answer the problems described above. However, once people had their bookmarks online, very quickly it became apparent that these could be used for other purposes. A few of the other ways I use social bookmarking (aside from bookmarks for my own use) are:
- to see what is interesting to people I respect;
- to create an RSS feed for a website;
- to collect websites to answer someone else's question;
- to collect websites for my boss or administration on a topic of interest.
The slide presentation below gives a quick introduction to how to create a Del.icio.us account, some of the issues involved, and examples of ways to use Del.icio.us for yourself or in education.
Next let's look at some useful ways to use social bookmarking.
What is Web 2.0? And Why Web 2.0?
People ask me what is Web 2.0. There are a lot of definitions and discussions available (and you can see some of them in the resource list, but here is the Wikipedia article, just for a start.).
The main point I want to make is that what is being commonly called Web 2.0 is, on the one hand, not doing anything new at all. On the other hand, it uses some pretty nifty technological tools and developments to make it possible to do some really useful work in a way that we only hoped to do before.
My perspective is that what Web 2.0 is doing is to embed information and resources in a social context, and that as a result information can take on the changeable and evolving nature of social relationships.
Initially, when the phrase "Web 2.0" first came out, I revolted against it. You see, I remember the beginning of the web, and my grad school mentor, Manfred Kochen, was one of the people who predicted its coming and fought for it throughout much of his career. The whole concept of "Web 2.0" seemed to me to simply be saying that we are now closer to reaching the original goals of creating the web in the first place! I didn't get why we suddenly started saying that, oh, this was different or cooler, when actually we are still bootstrapping ourselves along to goal #1 -- empowering the little.
Now, as someone who is embedded in a Web 2.0 environment, teaching Web 2.0 tools, techniques, methodologies and resources, I have grudgingly and later wonderingly come to realize this is indeed a Sea Change. I now find that normal databases (like Pubmed) and normal search engines (like Google / Yahoo) seem flat to me. They're missing something, something that has become intertwined with my current mental models of search.
I use PubMed, and get as cranky as if I was given a lemon meringue pie with just meringue and no lemon. It is fluffy and flavorless, with no zing -- where is the context? Where is the sense of who is reading what, who prefers what? We get back a bunch of results, but have no idea which are the really good ones, the eccentric clever ones, the oddball sloppy ones, the underappreciated brilliant pieces.
When I was a young thing (and I am dating myself here!), the public library in my town had cards in the back of the books listing who had checked them out recently. Then they graduated to address stickers. In both cases, I found myself picking up a book that interested me and immediately turning to the back to see who else had been reading it. I had figured out that the most interesting and enjoyable books had usually been read by a couple other people whose names I learned to recognize. I didn't necessarily know who these folk were, and most of them I never met, but I sure knew I appreciated their taste in good books!
Now, with Del.icio.us, I find myself at last able to do the same thing. I watch ratcatcher, without knowing who he is, send him links, and he sometimes funnels links to me, too. I watch choconancy, vielmetti, jensjeppe, hardinmd, virginiastevens, jokay, and cbonner (in no particular order). I've met two of them. I find my Web 2.0 communities overlapping, and have met Flickr friends in Second Life. I watch jokay (as one example) in del.icio.us, slideshare, flickr, blogs/wikis, and Second Life.
[The section above quotes myself speaking elsewhere on this topic.]
Here is a video from YouTube that gives a clever visual to what is Web 2.0.
Why This Blog
Please note that this blog was originally located at:
http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/3Ps . It has been moved here to have a more accurate and accessible URL. Future development of this blog will happen here.
This blog is being created for two reasons.
First, to present information for a class session being taught for Enriching Scholarship 2007. The class is Personal, Professional, and Enterprise Productivity with Social Bookmarking and Other Web 2.0 Tools.
It seemed appropriate to use Web 2.0 tools in creating and sharing thte actual content for the course. Thus, a blog! Del.icio.us! Slideshare! Podcasts! And more.
It remains to be seen if the blog continues to grow after the course is completed, or if it will become static. No promises. If anyone else from the University of Michigan is interested in co-authoring to keep the blog dynamic, I am interested in partnering.