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Archive for the ‘The Web’ Category

Becoming a Networked Researcher: a suite useful of presentations

10 Jul

Web 2.0 tools have finally moved firmly beyond the ‘potential fad’ stage, to gaining widespread acceptance as valuable weapons in the Researcher’s arsenal. Statistics about social media are almost meaningless because a: there’s so many of them and b: the information becomes outdated quickly, but at the time of writing it’s thought that around 70% of academics use social media for personal use, and in my view we’ve most definitely reached the tipping point where social media’s utility for professional use is properly understood.

This is directly linked to the ‘impact agenda’ – the research shows that blogging about and tweeting about research results in more citations for that research, and pretty much everyone wants more citations. But becoming a networked researcher is about more than the REF-related bottom line, it’s about being part of a mutually beneficial, supportive, and intellectually engaging community.

With all that in mind, I ran a suite of hands-on workshops at my institution, the University of York, on behalf of the Researcher Development Team. The suite was entitled ‘Becoming a Networked Researcher’ and it covered firstly blogs and blogging, then collaboration and dissemination, and finally Twitter. Rather than divide these up into three blog posts I thought the most useful thing to do would be to have them all here – so below you’ll find various links to, or embedded versions of, presentations and handouts for the course. I’ve tried to make it so they work without me there to talk over the top of them…

The workshops themselves were really enjoyable and the researchers themselves very enthusiastic and engaged – a whole bunch of blogs and twitter accounts have already sprang up since they ran!  But I’d like to improve them for next time around (we’ll be running them twice a year from now on); whether you’re a Masters / PhD researcher, an academic, or an information professional reading this, I’d be interested in your views on how useful these materials are, and any advice or tips or, particularly, examples, I should be referring to in future sessions.

The workshop materials

The three parts of the suite were designed to work together and separately – if you’re only interested in one aspect of becoming a networked researcher, you don’t need to look at the materials from the other sessions.

Part 1: Blogs and Blogging

Blogs and Blogging was the most successful session. The advice here is slightly York-centric in that we all have Google accounts, so we all automatically have Blogger blogs; if you’re reading this at another insitution it’s definitely worth considering WordPress.com as your blogging platform. Better still, WordPress.org, although that requires some technical knowledge.

Here’s the Prezi presentation:

And here’s the handout which goes with it:

Blogs for researchers: workshop handout by University of York Information

 

Part 2: Dissemination and Collaboration

I’ve decided against embedding the materials for this one – there was a lot more group and collaborative work and the session was slightly shorter, so my presentation doesn’t cover as much ground. But you can view the Dissemination and Collaboration Prezi here (the handout doesn’t really add anything); it covers LinkedIn, Academia.edu, Prezi itself, and Slideshare.

Interestingly, I really struggled to convince people as to the value of LinkedIn. I’m suspect of the value of LinkedIn myself, but I’ve heard countless researchers talk about how important it is, so I flagged it up as a key resource anyway…

 

Part 3: Twitter for Researchers

I really enjoyed this as I think Twitter is such a vital tool for modern scholarship and communication – you can see the Slides from the session here:

 

And the handout is here:

Twitter for academics: workshop handout by University of York Information

Any questions, comments or queries, leave them below.

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Digital Marketing Toolkit – workshop December 5th

07 Nov

A brief post to let anyone interested know that I’m running a one-day workshop, at York St John University on the 5th of December, on behalf of UKeIG. It’s all about marketing with new technologies.

Moving beyond the social network basics, this course will look at how to identify which technologies will be useful for marketing your organisation, how to use them effectively, and tips, tricks and general best-practice for marketing online. Topics will include marketing with video, viral marketing, mastering geolocation (such as FourSquare), mobile apps, publishing online, getting the most out of QR Codes, and taking social media marketing to the next level.

I’m also keen to accomdodate any other apsect of digital marketing that people would like to cover – if you’re already booked on the course then let me know what you’d like to cover (and if you’re not attending, I’d still be interested in the kinds of things you’d like to see covered on a course like this…).

Details of the event (including a booking form) are on the UKeIG website.

Hope to see you there!

- thewikiman

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6 useful things Prezi can do (which even experienced users miss)

21 May

I keep discovering new things about the presentation software Prezi. Asking around, it seems lots of other users didn’t know about some or all of these either, so with that in mind I thought I’d draw your attention to 6 useful things. Got any more? Leave them in a comment…

1. Upgrade to the educational licence for free if you are a student or work for a University

All you need to do is go to Upgrade on the Prezi site, and stick in your university email address (.edu or .ac.uk etc). As a result of the upgrade you get more storage space (quite useful), the ability to substitute the Prezi logo for one of your own (could be useful for institutional branding of Prezis) and the ability to keep Prezis private (very useful, particularly from a teaching point of view – you don’t want students to see the presentation until it’s ready!). Well worth doing, I think.

The upgrade box is at the bottom of the screen

Free, useful, but many don’t find it

2. Hold down shift when drawing frames and hidden frames to maintain a perfect 4:3 aspect ratio (trust me, this one is REALLY useful!)

This is completely brilliant. I use LOADS of hidden frames in my Prezis, to ensure the viewer is shown exactly what I want them to see in the order I want them to see it. However, when you draw a frame or hidden frame which isn’t the (usually 4:3) aspect ratio you’re using to present – in other words, when the frame isn’t the same shape & proportions as a monitor or projector screen – then other stuff can creep into the frame and slightly ruin all the careful planning.

By pressing shift before drawing a frame, it keeps a perfect 4:3 aspect ratio as you draw it – moving the mouse simply increases or decreases the size, but the shape stays the same. You can in effect create several screens, and populate the screens with content knowing that everything will fit perfectly when you’re presenting or when people are viewing the presentation online. I used this technique loads in the new technologies Prezi and the branding Prezi I recently created. The result is: better looking, more cohesive prezis.

An example of hidden frames using 4:3 aspect ratio

All of the frames you see here are drawn using this technique – click the pic to go to the actual Prezi and see how it works for the viewer

3. Save your Prezi to a USB stick

I realise most of you will know this one, but I wrongly assumed it was an ‘upgraded licence only’ option for ages, so thought I’d flag it up here. It’s very much worth doing because a: you aren’t relying on an internet connection, b: if you’ve got embedded YouTube videos (and there is an internet connection) they’ll still play and c: it enables you to use a clicker to move the presentation along without having to stand by the PC and use a mouse or the keyboard – you can’t use a clicker with a web-based Prezi, for some reason.

When you click ‘download’ you get a ZIP file – you can extract the ZIP to a USB stick but make sure you take all the files and folders with you, as you need all of them to play the Prezi back. You can’t edit it on the stick, so make sure it’s your final version before you download it.

Screengrab showing the download button

It’s not ‘Save a copy’ as you might expect; it’s ‘Download’

4. Print your Prezi in an actually quite useful way

Pressing ‘print’ in edit mode saves the Prezi to a PDF – each page of the PDF is a ‘screen’ on Prezi (i.e each number on your path becomes a printed screenshot). Again, I’d not previously realised this worked so neatly. It means that, for example, for teaching, you could set a simplified path on your presentation, press print to produce a handout of a reasonable length, then put the path back to the full route again. Also, it’s the ultimate back-up – if you can’t present your Prezi for some disastrous reason, you can present with the PDF instead.

Screengrab showing the print-preview

Every destination point for your path is also a page of your printable-PDF

5. Import a PowerPoint presentation directly into Prezi

The easiest way to get started with Prezi is probably to import a PPT and mess around with that. If you have slides you wish to convert, just click Insert > PowerPoint and import them onto the canvas – you can choose all or some of the slides, and have Prezi automatically add a path between them if you like. You can edit the text within Prezi – it’s not like importing a PDF where you’re stuck with what you have.

I’m not sure there’s much point in just pulling in some slides and leaving it at that, but it’s a nice jumping-off point to creating something more interesting – and it’s a lot quicker than typing all the info from your slides in by hand. Quick tip: the more straightforward the slide, the better this works – it struggles with more complicated stuff.

Screengrab showing import slides

Choose some or all of the slides, and Prezi automatically puts little frames round them

6. Choose from more than just 3 colours for your fonts

It used to be the case that you chose your theme, then stuck with the three colours you were given. Now you can change any passage of text to one of a huge number of colour choices – type it first, then the options appear above it on the right.

Picture showing colour highlighting

Lots of colours to play with

I hope some or all of these are useful.

A newly updated Ultimate Prezi Guide is here (refreshed in May 2013), and all sorts of related materials are available here.

- thewikiman

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You already have a brand! Here are 5 ways to influence it… (#CILIPNPD12)

12 May

Yesterday I presented at possibly my favourite library event of all, CILIP’s New Professionals Day. I love it because it gets so many people fired up and energised, and there’s so much enthusiasm about the place.

I was honoured to do the first talk of the day, and my presentation was about two things: firstly the fact that you don’t have to be a super-librarian to get on in your career, and secondly that we all have a personal brand so if you do want to try and build that brand, there are steps you can take to do so positively.

I wanted to dispel some myths (particularly that we all have to aspire to be like the really well-known, uberlibrarians), following on from this blog post about whether or not we really have to market ourselves at all, which explains a lot of the stuff I talked about yesterday.

Here’s the presentation (works best on full-screen):

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