Saturday, 27 April 2013

CLOUD-ME part 1

Cloud Computing.
Image (c) Bruce Clay Inc
Copied under CCBY 
Keeping up to date with free web tools can seem like a full time occupation in itself. Andy Tattersall and Claire Beecroft  from the University of Sheffield SCHARR (School of Health and Related Research) provided a fascinating  and fast paced overview of some of the tools they felt deserve further investigation at the Health Libraries Group Wales Study Day earlier this week.Their suggestions deserve wider dissemination.

The Cloud provides a range of free tools and resources which can make your online life easier, provide routes to extend or enhance your service provision, or to reach new audiences. While monetary cost might not be a barrier to utilising these resources, time, personal knowledge, and institutional barriers (IT restrictions, firewalls etc) might be. Andy and Claire smash through some of these barriers in providing these useful suggestions, under the acronym CLOUD-ME (curation, learning, organise, YouTube (video content), documents, mobile and embedded).

C is for Curation

What's hot? What's trending? - keeping a record of these. The bad news is that focusing on a single cloud-based curation resource isn't possible, or sensible at present. You may well end up using several services, and in some cases, making multiple posting of the same content.
  • - share interesting websites on up to five topic pages. Follow others' topic pages to gain from their expertise and research. For instance Andy has a topic page for altmetrics which, if you wanted a quick list of useful web articles and resources on, would be a great starting point. [Remember we first encountered altmetrics in this Rebecca Mogg's guest posting about UKSG Conference].   
  • Pinterest - "a tool for collecting and organising the things that you love". If you find Pinterest helpful please tell us how you use it and the advantages that you have realised (Please let us know about any of your favourite resources, but especially those marked [your experience?] in this blog.
  • Netvibes - a great tool for providing a self-updating current awareness service. A "sorcerer's apprentice" of a tool. Provide links to relevant RSS feeds and Netvibes does the ongoing curation work for you.
  • Zite - keeping you up to date with the Zeitgeist and compiling a readable magazine format page containing top stories on your interests. Works well on mobile platforms too. [your experience?] 
  •  Evernote - capture and store anything from the web, and then access your Evernote clippings from any web-enabled device. I loved Evernote when I first encountered it via CPD 23 Things, but must admit to not having used it much since.
  • - sign-up to receive daily emails of the top five stories from your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Andy though that the selection process worked well and found this daily email really helpful in identifying the 5 most noteworthy posts to your Twitter or Facebook timeline.
  • - "the curation platform that enables you to turn Twitter, Facebook & RSS into online papers and treat readers to fresh news, daily". The result is tweeted to your followers. [your experience?] 

L is for Learning

Tools to support your professional learning or to assist in the instruction that you provide.

  • Snapguide - a great way to relay simple instructions (e.g. a recipe, login instructions , or short explanations) in a professional way. Snapguide can incorporate screenshots, images or video.
  • Vimeo - described by Andy as a "classier" alternative to YouTube. Vimeo tends to contain more high quality content than YouTube. However, content with YouTube is probably more reliably found using the predominant web search engines, and if your user base is mainly younger people then YouTube is probably a favoured resource for them. [your experience?] 
  • Slideshare - a resource for sharing slide presentations and other documents. Not only a useful tool for sharing your presentations, but also for searching for relevant presentations for your needs. Currently excludes an ability to share Prezi presentations.
  • Prezi - now reasonably widely used.Felt to be enjoyable to use, with benefits of being able to tweet about Prezi presentations immediately, and to embed them on other sites.
  • - "share what you know". A topic based curation tool. [your experience?] 
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Details of which MOOCs are available, or are being planned, via Coursera, edX or the UK-led Futurelearn service.

More to follow in Part 2!

Andy and Claire contributed their session entitled "A free web toolkit for the modern library" to the Health Libraries Group Wales Study Day earlier this week. I hope to publish a guest posting on this day in a few weeks time. The study day also covered:

  • Foundation stage doctors' experiences of using an e-textbook package on smartphones to support workplace learning.
  • An overview of open access publishing and Cardiff University's work in this area.
  • The operation of a virtual enquiry service for members of the Royal College of Nursing.

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