All entries for October 2007

October 11, 2007

What is Facebook used for?

Writing about web page http://blog.compete.com/2007/09/14/facebook-activity-breakdown-application/

An interesting post on someone else’s blog pointing out which aspects of Facebook are actually being used. Lots of browsing of pictures, plenty of visits to join or visit groups, but relatively little time on the Marketplace or the Group discussion boards. So that explains why my advert for free library resources has had so little attention, and why our geeky group discussion boards only involve the usual suspects. It also supports my suspicion that people are joining groups to add to their profile like wearing a badge, and worrying very little thereafter about what it actually says about them…


October 10, 2007

Tagging vs structured metadata

Writing about web page http://www.comp.glam.ac.uk/pages/research/hypermedia/nkos/nkos2007/presentations/presentation-20070921-social%20tagging-Tonkin.ppt#256,1,Slide 1

Who needs metadata anyway? Can’t we all just use tags? Aren’t they better at describing content with words that our users will want to use to find that content? Metadata is just for browsing to find content and who really browses?

Just playing devil’s advocate! There is some interesting investigation into these types of issues in the presentation I’ve linked to which discusses metadata from a very knowledgeable standpoint, and I find that very refreshing.


Interesting use of a del.icio.us account

Writing about web page http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/001297.html

I like the idea of creating a del.icio.us account to create a tag cloud relating to a particular collection of web documents… as described in this blog. It is a way of helping to keep the number of tags in check. I believe that my del.icio.us account needs weeding because there are too many tags on too many different topics. The Institutional repository ones will gradually be moved over to Blue Dot anyway, but perhaps there are other ways I could consider using del.icio.us

I set up a eurekster swicki a while ago on copyright, and that has a handy tag cloud that grows as others use it. I wonder whether a themed del.icio.us tag cloud would be able to achieve the same functions as a swicki?


October 09, 2007

tag gardening!

Follow-up to Tagging tips from Innovating Research!

Well, I’ve been seconded again, this time to the post of E-repositories Manager. There’s been a lot for me to do, hence no time to contribute to the blog properly for a while.

I’m working on a JISC funded project called the Warwick Research Archive Project (WRAP) and our JISC programme co-ordinator has suggested that we all use Blue Dot to share web sites of interest. This is no problem because I already have a Blue Dot account since my Web 2.0 investigations, but I had abandoned it as not as good as del.icio.us

Blue Dot doesn’t seem to remember when I have previously tagged a page already, which del.icio.us does, and which is handy if I try to tag the same page twice, and also if I find I want to say something else about a page I have previously tagged quickly but not really annotated. Also the browser tools from del.icio.us work better for me than the Blue dot ones, largely because Blue Dot tools disappear from the toolbar on new tabs in IE 7.

However, our JISC programme manager likes Blue Dot because of the facility to comment on each others’ tags, and I have made friends with other JISC project managers on Blue Dot and subscribed to a feed of all my Blue Dot friends’ tags on my Bloglines account, so it won’t be too much work to maintain both. In fact, it gives me a chance to try to get my repository tags working properly in Blue Dot because my del.icio.us tags are in a bit of a mess…

Anyway, there has been some talk about folksonomies versus controlled vocabularies on the JISC repositories list and someone pointed to this blog posting which proposes the concept of tag gardening, which I really rather like!


October 01, 2007

Wiki reading lists

Writing about web page https://my.pbwiki.com/

We have been considering the use of wiki functionality for building reading lists between academics and librarians.

Something like PBwiki would do the job. I wonder which other wiki applications, ideally hosted and free, might be out there which could do the job as well.

Both the academic and the librarian should receive and instant email alert of any edits made by either of them, and the email alert should quote the text that has been added or deleted. The wiki should also allow switching of access permissions between public-view and editors-only.

A wiki page for each module can be used to which both the academic and the library have access permissions. The academic can paste references on this page as and when he or she identifies them, potentially throughout the year but perhaps most likely in the summer. Every such change generates an email alert containing the addition to the wiki page. The library can check these as and when posted. Once checked the library edits the wiki page to add either a link to an existent subscription or library holdings catalogue record, or to a digital scan, or to a free web version, or to a catalogue record for the order, or a note to advise it is out of print, or any other relevant comment. Updates on student numbers for the module could also be posted on the wiki page.

A reading list is primarily a printable document intended for students. There is no need to use it as an order form for library resources. The bottle-neck workflow by which academics finish their reading list documents by a date and forward them to the library for checking and ordering is a document centric approach presenting known problems.

It would be much preferable if reading lists could be built up in a tentative way as an iterative, incremental dialogue between each academic and the library. The communication process between academics and the library could be improved by using wiki functionality:
- Treating references singly as opposed to bundled in lists.
- Dealing with them as and when identified by academics without having to wait for a definitive list.
- Feeding back to the academic timely information about availability and alternatives.
- Giving academics the lead time to make a choice informed with the librarians’ knowledge of information resourcing.

Although wiki functionality seems most efficient, alternative technologies could also serve the same purpose, e.g. a common closed web page with notification. Unfortunately Google Docs does not appear to notify of edits, otherwise it would have been enough.

Nevertheless, there are various practical considerations to take into account for a scaleable implementation beyond a small pilot. Ideally the technology should make things easier for both the academics and the library, but in practice making it too easy to submit references may overwhelm the library with submissions.

We would probably have to try on a small scale and fine-tune the process first. It would be nice to hear about any reading list wikis elsewhere.


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