Useful Tools: Evernote

The Research Pile
No more piles of notebooks

Evernote is a web application which is also available to download on to mobile devices, desktop PCs, lap tops and just about every computer. This means that you can literally use it anywhere and it will sync with on all your devices and the website.

Why use it?

* You can log on to the web version (http://www.evernote.com/) anywhere with an internet connection and you can share your notes so it is a great way of quickly creating a simple web page or putting a plan together.
* You can clip all or part of a webpage into a note by using the web clipping tool (this is easier to install at work on Firefox than on Internet Explorer).
* You can create checklists so you can tick the boxes to keep track of what you have done.
* You can tag notes so notes in different notebooks can all use the same tage and be found on a search.
* If you are using it on a mobile device you can add a location so you can see all notes made at that location by you.

Evernote is particularly useful for projects as this video shows:

Examples of Evernote uses

Helen

RSS Feeds

What are RSS feeds?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. An RSS feed is a way for you to receive updates to different websites without having to visit them. You can also use RSS feeds to publicise information about your own work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU


How do they help me, as a reader?
  • Save time
  • Keep Up to date
  • Everything is in one place

 

You will know if a page has an RSS feed as you will see a button (usually orange) similar to these: RSS logo RSS icon RSS XML icon

Clicking on one of those orange symbols will give you the URL (web address) for the RSS feed.


So how do I get started?
  • To receive a single feed by e-mail: look out for a “subscribe by e-mail” link on the website you want to watch.
  • To watch a handful of feeds you could create a start using an aggregator such as Google ReaderNewsGator’s suite of readers (including one for smart phones),Feedreader and FeedPixel.com.
How do I find RSS feeds that I want to look at?
  • Check if websites/online journals you use a lot have RSS feeds (look out for the orange logos).
  • Collect RSS feeds as you find them.
  • Search an RSS directory. You may find that your feed reader has its own directory, or you can do an Internet search for “RSS feed directory”.
  • When you run a search online, such as on Google or in a library-provided database of scholarly content, look out for the option to create an RSS feed for that search so that you will be alerted when new items matching your search criteria are found. You may have to explore advanced options or settings to set such a feed up.
  • If there is no RSS feed for a page that you think would be really useful, programs like Feedity can be used to create an RSS feed for that page.

 

I have an aggregator. What now?

Now you need to subscribe to some feeds. With either a web based aggregator or a desktop reader usually all you need to do is:

  • Click on the RSS or XML logo button on the web page you find interesting.
  • Copy and paste the URL (i.e. the Web address) from the rss feed page into your aggregator.
  • Some browsers/browser extensions will recognise that there is an RSS feed on a page and offer you an RSS button in the toolbar, which will link to your RSS feed reader for you and add that feed to your collection.

When feeds start to appear in your aggregator, clicking on the headline will take you to a page with more information.

Further Information

Academic Productivity – http://www.academicproductivity.com/2006/howto-rss-feeds-for-academic-use/

Navigating New Media Frontiers – http://chronicle.com/article/Navigating-New-Media/47962/

Educause Report on RSS – http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7024.pdf

Dropbox

Dropbox is excellent for anybody who uses more than one computer (which is probably most of us). Dropbox allows you to access files saved in it anywhere.

Why should you use Dropbox:

Dropbox is one such service that keeps track of your documents, files, photos and videos, using cloud storage to synchronize files across the internet so that they can be shared amongst users, between computers, and any mobile device that can access the internet. Importantly, Dropbox actively encourages users to share files with others by setting you up with a “Public Folder” when you register for an account. It is the only folder on Dropbox that automatically creates a public “link” to every file you put into it. Sharing the file is then straightforward. Simply click on the public folder, and right click on the file you want to share. Navigate to the Dropbox menu and click “Copy Public Link”. You can then save the link to your clipboard and paste it into any web browser you want (such as Twitter, for example). If you want to share a file with a limited number of individuals, you do not need to use the public folder. Simply create a subfolder of the files you want to share, right click it, navigate to “Options” and click “Share this folder”, you can then add the email addresses of your collaborators to the text field.

Warning

Dropbox is great for most files but if you are using anything that may be confidential then you may want to stick with the university’s Y files as the ownership of data in Dropbox is a grey area.

 

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking services allow you to save or bookmark your favourite web sites online and to share them with others. Using a Social bookmarking service is like saving favourites to Internet Explorer or any other web browser but with added benefits:

  • You can access your bookmarks from any computer or device with an internet connection
  • You can share your bookmarks with others (although you can also keep any that you don’t want to share private!)
  • You can “tag” bookmarks with relevant keywords to help you (and others) to retrieve them easily.

Services 
The following services offer Social Bookmarking: Delicious, Diigo, Digg, Connotea and Stumbleupon. For a longer list see http://www.philb.com/iwantto/webpages.htm

More about Tagging
Tagging is a facility used by many Web 2.0 services – not just bookmarks. It allows you to associate keywords or phrases with particular items (for example pictures, videos, bookmarks, catalogue records etc) in order to make them easier for you and others to retrieve. You can add as many tags as you like which makes it easy to describe items that cover many different concepts.

It is also possible to use “shared tags”. These are tags used by people who want to share items on a particular topic. To facilitate this, users tag relevant items with an agreed shared tag. For example if you look to the right on this blog you will see a Tag cloud of all the tags related to posts on this blog. Click on a tag and you will find other posts with that tag.


Diigo (Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other Stuff)
Are you fed up of finding good websites and then not being able to re-find them? Do you want to share useful websites with your colleagues? Then Diigo could be for you! Diigo allows you to save and share your favourite websites. It works in a similar way to the Delicious service that some of you may be familiar with (but Delicious is up for sale and faces an uncertain future).
With Diigo you can:

  • Bookmark your favourite websites and then access them from any PC that you login to.
  • Tag (or index!) your favourite websites so that you can easily search for them later on.
  • Highlight or annotate your chosen websites, making notes that will be there the next time you visit the site.
  • Share your favourite websites with colleagues. You might want to think about sharing sites across your team.
  • Search for websites and view other people’s reviews and comments.

This video explains a bit more about Diigo.

 

Technorati

Technorati

Technorati is a search engine for finding blogs and blog posts on your research and personal interests. Technorati ranks blogs based on linking behaviour, so it is easy to find popular and reputable blogs. Technorati only finds English-language blogs.

General Blog Search

Technorati is a great way for researching content across the blogosphere. You can search for blogs or for blog posts.

It now also publishes unique high quality content addressing many popular topics.

Find Topics for New Content

Technorati.com is a great way to find what is most popular in the Blogosphere. Bloggers use is regularly to find popular content ideas to write about.

Determine Blog Authority and Ranking

Technorati rank and authority awarded by the site to all blogs is widely accepted by professionals as the leading measure for blog authority and ranking throughout the world. It is one of the industry standards for measuring a blog’s success.
How to use Technorati to publish and promote your research.
If you use a blog to record your research then register it with Technorati. Once you create your free account, you will be able to register multiple blogs with Technorati.

Use it to connect with bloggers in similar research areas. Connecting with other bloggers and building relationship is essential to succeed in blogging. Technorati is a great place to identify bloggers so you can follow them on their social networks, etc

 

Reddit

Reddit is a social news site that allows users to rank online stories. Reddit is a great tool for finding non-mainstream news, commentary and scholarly information. Reddit–as described on its about page – “is a place friendly to thought, relationships, arguments, and to those that wish to challenge those genres.” Running off of an open-source system, reddit readers, “redditors” vote on which issues or topics are most interesting. The topics with the most votes rise to the topic of a discussion thread and those with the least votes sink to obscurity. It is a democratic system for sharing news, asking questions, and engaging in myriad topics with people across the globe. (There are education-related reddit pages — http://www.reddit.com/r/education).

Here is an example of searching Library in Libraries.

Reddit

 

Academia.edu

Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research.

Like LinkedInAcademia.edu focuses on professional connections. Academia.edu is essentially a LinkedIn focused on the academic world, so it provides improved features for things like listing publications. LinkedIn and Academia.edu profiles tend to feature high in Google searches, so a well-constructed profile can be a great way to develop your online brand.

You can search for people, research interests and universities to build up connections.

You can view members for Royal Holloway here.

It is about more than networking, you can search for papers and promote your own research there too. You can easily link to your papers in  Royal Holloway Research Online.

There are other sites where you can post your research profile and link to papers, which we will look at in future blog posts. It is useful to post on several of them to publicise to the biggest audience of people.

Storify

Storify is a curation tool. You can grab social-media content (such as Tweets, photos, FaceBook entries, videos) on a topic and publish it. Because you can search for hashtags or terms it is great for summarising an event. You can embed them in blog post an share them socially to record an event. They are a really good way of reviewing a conference. This is a link to a storify I created about a conference I went to in December.

This storify follows the resignation of the Pope:

[View the story “Pope Benedict XVI stepping down” on Storify]

Storify

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a serendipitous web-discovery tool.  You let it know you interests and it will find relevant pages.  ‘Like’ or ‘dislike’ pages, and it learns your preferences. Makes finding and rating new sites easy, especially with the SU toolbar and SU icons on other sites.

You can follow channels to find information quickly for example the TED channel will keep you updated on TED information.

StumbleUpon can also provide media and resources for keeping teaching sessions fresh and up to date.

Use the StumbleUpon getting started guide to begin stumbling.

When you have created an account you just click the Stumble button in the top right hand corner to start stumbling and finding webpages.

Stumble bottom

This video shows you how to use the lists feature:

This video shows you how to manage your interests, connections and channels:

 

 

Zanran Numerical Data Search

It can be very hard to find data such as pie graphs, bar graphs etc and Zanran fills that gap. Like a Google for data but it works much better than Google for data. When you put words into Google you simply get lots of pages of varying quality and relevance which you have to work through.

If you run a search in Zanran when the results appear run the cursor down the PDF or Excel icons and an image from the document appears.

zanran

 

zanran2

You can add limits as well, such as saying that the the site must be less than 2 years old, that the site must come from a certain country or search for specific sites (for example searching *.gov.uk will bring up only material from UK government sites).

zanran3

 

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