practical & productive networking tools

October 8, 2007

A friend of mine who is a k-12 art teacher asked about getting started with social networking. She does a little blogging here and there, but she is knee deep in teaching at the moment, which limits her time online. I thought for a bit about how to respond to her question. Her question focuses more on personal professional networking, not so much focused on social networking with her students (some of her students would most likely be too young to network with her online and she already interacts with her students in person).

There are quite a few teachers, educators, librarians, and other professionals who are using facebook, linkedin or namyz to create professional web presences and networks. Some of them use those presences to connect to their users; others are more focused on a professional level. However, in the long run, how useful are those sites on a day to day basis in terms of networkng professionally and in getting real work done? Sure, they may (or may not) provide opportunities for outreach, opportunities for freelance or consulting work, collaboration opportunities, but are those sorts of sites (linkedin, facebook, etc.) really the best bang for the buck in terms of professional networking?

What web tools provide a means to increased productivity, better resources, and networking opportunities? Tools which are very easy to use and practical?

I came up with my own short list of tools, which are easy to use, engaging, and provide a means to streamline work in some way, while providing opportunities for discovery and networking.
These are all tried and true, very popular applications.

Google docs / Google pages
Google docs is a web based wordprocessor, spreadsheet product, and more recently presentation maker. Think, Word, Excel, Powerpoint — all in one easy to use place on the web. Documents can be shared by invitation (makes collaboration a breeze), emailed in the more popular formats, and also published out the web (as very simple web pages, but still!) . Once they have been published out on the web, there’s really not much of a limit in terms of what can be done with them. Googlepages is a free web page creator from guess who. Yes, Google now has their own free web editor/website design service. Not a lot of flexibility but a very easy way to get a website up QUICKLY. All that is required to use these services, is a google/gmail account, for which anyone can sign up. Certainly a useful tool in terms of project groups, working on documents from multiple computers, or creating web pages. Published pages via these Google services each have a unique URL/address, so they can be linked to, shared, blogged, etc. I use google docs a lot when I need to collaborate. (bookmarking) (or any other free centralized storage spot for internet bookmarks) makes organizing, and sharing bookmarks easy, as well as finding resources that are used by other professionals. For those who haven’t used, it is amazingly easy. Create a user login, install a button for your IE or firefox toolbar (very very easy to do). Once the button is installed, when a website is found that you would like to keep, you click on the button, and a menu pops up. You give it the title YOU want it to have, and then you can include a description, tags (keywords) and click save. Voila!

Anywhere in the world that you might be, if you have internet access, you probably have access to your page. Finding like-minded people (teachers, artists, whoever) and linking to their network, is probably one of the most valuable tools of A great way to discover new and interesting resources! Anything online can be probably be linked to in Google docs pages can be linked. Image files can be linked. Video files can be linked.. A page could easily be a bibliography, a lesson plan, a pathfinder, or even a class syllabus. I use to organize all of my presentation resources — everything! The powerpoint presentation, the links that are cited, and other supplemental info.

Youtube (video)
Youtube, google video (any other free video/videocasting site), etc. could be very useful in the educational and training realm. Youtube already hosts quite a bit in the way of tutorials, and it would be neat to include those in lesson plans. Youtube videos can be embedded into websites, presentations, and other documents. Another idea would be to take lesson plans and use video to either illustrate the lesson plan or supplement the plan (and then share it on youtube!). Students can also contribute content in either creating video responses, writing comments/reviews about videos, evaluating content, or even creating videos as the product of an assignment. testing new features

September 14, 2007

If you are a user, you may be interested in knowing that is testing some new features. If you didn’t receive an invite (I didn’t, which doesn’t mean much…) then you can request to be added to list.

I do hope that this will also mean more functionality in searching. For example in the Cataloging links page which is populated by links, it would be great if I could include a search box limited to user … Currently, searching by user is limited to being logged in.

Mini presentation on Web 2.0 technologies

August 21, 2007




  • Looking to the future

    • Higher profile web presence

    • Being where our users are

      • Facebook

      • Comments in blog

      • PennTags – tagging by users in the catalog

      • Flickr?

    • Web 3.0/Semantic Web

A quick intro to social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is an activity performed over a computer network that allows users to save and categorize (see folksonomy) a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. Users may also take bookmarks saved by others and add them to their own collection, as well as to subscribe to the lists of others. – a personal knowledge management tool …

The concept of shared online bookmarks dates back to April 1996 with the launch of Within the next three years online bookmark services became competitive, with venture-backed companies like Backflip, Blink,Clip2, Hotlinks, Quiver, and others entering the market. Lacking viable models for making money, most of this early generation of social bookmarking companies failed as the dot-com bubble burst.
— Wikipedia,, (2007)

The main features of any social bookmarking tool are

  • centralized storage and availability of web links (i.e., accessible from most any computer with internet connection)

  • the ability to organize web links in some way (tagging, categorizing, bundling, descriptions, etc.)

  • ease of use (little or no coding experience needed)

  • discovery (e.g., the ability to share, recommend, or discover web links from other users)

A few popular social bookmarking tools include:

CiteULike ( ) saves citation details, exports them in a few different formats, and aggregates journal articles. Sometimes called the “ for the academic world”. ( ) is a social bookmarking tool that allows users to save, recommend, and share bookmarks through networks. Users can bundle (categorize) web links as well as assign tags (keywords). Links can be publicly shared or private. A GIL record can be tagged in

Digg ( is similar to both and pageflakes in that it is social bookmarking. Digg provides categories as a controlled entry point and allows users to rate articles.

( is a social bookmarking site website that allows users to store searchable copies of websites; additionally users can share their website copies.

PennTags ( /) is social bookmarking for the University of Pennsylvania’s catalog. An example of a record tagged in PennTags catalog (a Voyager catalog!)

Pines/Evergreen is anticipating tagging as a Fall 2007 enhancement; OCLC’s also has social bookmarking on their list of future enhancements.

StumbleUpon ( ) is a toolbar feature which allows for user recommendations and metadata entry (descriptions, etc.), and random discovery.

..and expanding beyond bookmarking…

Nines ( ) uses Collex “a collections and exhibits tool for the remixable web, to aggregate peer-reviewed online scholarship and allow you to collect, annotate, and share it with students and colleagues” and have partnered with libraries such as University of Virginia.

Pageflakes ( is an ajax driven site that allows a user to pull in and share multiple kinds of rss feeds and web sites including links, news sites, blogs, and more. pageflakes is actively developing its service to give users more features and greater functionality without sacrificing ease of use. To see a pageflake pulling in UGA’s library content:

Netvibe ( ) is an ajax driven site that allows a user to pull in and share multiple kinds of rss feeds including links, news sites, blogs, and more. netvibes was a little earlier than pageflakes in development.

LibraryThing ( ) is a organizational service for materials such as personal libraries which provides means to organize, share, and discover resources. LibraryThing has recently developed widgets for use by libraries. Two academic libraries are testing.

SmartTech ( /): Georgia Tech’s institutional repository which includes user submitted content.

…and other social networking sites which are offer more expanded services

Academic Libraries using Social Bookmarking:

Griffin Tech

University of Michigan

University of Tennessee

University of Georgia Cataloging Department

Savannah Technical College

..and there’s even a Library community devoted to academic libraries using web 2.0 technologies:

A few resources about social bookmarking/networking and other web 2.0 tools:

31 things to do with flickr in a library


The Academic Library 2.0 (a graphic)


Academic libraries who are blogging (a list)


Chief Thingamabrian [LibraryThing overview]



Five weeks to a Social Library [resources and courses]


Friends: Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services


Library Thing: Sneak Peek LibraryThing for libraries

Social Bookmarking Tools 1: General Reviews
D-Lib Magazine, April 2005, Vol. 11 No.4

Tagging in the Medical Library


Why and how to use blogging to promote your library’s services

Infotoday, Nov/Dec 2003, Vol. 17 No. 6


Learn more about social networking tools via video:

The machine is us/ing Us (Very good and very short introduction to what is web 2.0)


RSS Feeds in Plain English


Wikis in Plain English




To the future:

Web 3.0/semantic web

The semantic web is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a format that can be read and used by software agents, thus permitting them to find, share and integrate information more easily.[1] It derives from W3C director Sir Tim Berners-Lee‘s vision of the Web as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange. At its core, the semantic web comprises a philosophy,[2] a set of design principles,[3] collaborative working groups, and a variety of enabling technologies.


So, if Web2.0 is about collaboration, ease of use (on the user side) then Web 3.0 is about taking information and the efforts of the Web 2.0 collaboration and using technology to extend possibilities.

Semantic web technologies(?)

Freebase ( ) is a collaborative site (i.e., social networking) which also uses metadata to assist in organizing content.


A Mashup is a web application which pulls together information using a variety of resources to produce a singular thing (movie, webpage, etc.).


Getting started with

delicious page for links in this presentation

Image by sirexkat (Kathryn Greene) licensed under creative commons attribution 2.0 (flickr)

Thanks to Melissa Rethlefsen (Learning Resource Center) Mayo Clinic for sharing her list of library links. users — lots of fun stuff to do!

April 15, 2007

for you fans… lots of tools and tricks.