Ten of the Best Web 2.0 Tools for Cybrarians
- Cloud Magic – Described as a search engine for all your personal data, this service allows you to search simultaneously across multiple platforms (Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote) using one simple search box. Users wishing to use this tool must sign up and add accounts for the social media services they wish to search simultaneously. Cloud Magic mobile apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows phone smartphones. The free version allows 50 previews per month.
- ePubBud – Here is a great resource for aspiring authors of children’s ebooks wishing to write and publish online. Visitors to the site can also browse the database for free ebooks which can be read within their favorite browser or downloaded as an ePub file. New authors can sell their books in the ePubBud marketplace for free. New authors must create an account to publish or sell their works.
- Google Drive – Touted as a redesign of an old concept, Google Drive provides users with ‘cloud space’ to store and access files from anywhere – on your PC, smartphone and tablet device. In addition to storing files (5 GB is free) users can collaborate by creating and sharing documents in real time using Google’s productivity suite of tools available within Google Drive. These include Google Docs, Spreadsheet, Form, Drawing and Presentation. Google Drive can also be installed on desktop Macs and PCs as well as mobile devices. Files on all devices are automatically synced once you access the internet.
- Issuu– Boasting a readership of over 52 million monthly, and over 200,000 new publications, Issuu is the leading free digital publishing platform available for authors to publish their works or to search for, discover and share innovative online publications such as magazines, catalogs, newspapers and reports. Publications hosted on Issuu can be embedded on blogs and personal webpages. Code is available at Issuu Smartlook to convert static publications into streamlined interactive online publications. The My library feature allows subscribers to store all their publications on a virtual bookshelf for easy access. Virtual custom shelves are available for organizing and keeping current with personal subscriptions. Visitors to the website can also search for publications categorized under subject areas such as business, food and drink, design and architecture, lifestyle, hobby and home, news and politics and travel and events. Issuu recently developed the Issuu mobile for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
- Infogr.am – Infographics are the current trend now, affording librarians the opportunity to create pictorial graphs to promote current services. Infogr.am is an easy to use online service that allows you to create, share, and discover infographics and online charts. Creating infographics on the website can be achieved in four easy steps, picking a template, adding your data (text, chart, videos, and map), customizing and finally embedding the infographics in a blog post and sharing with friends.
- Jumpshare – Like the popular Dropbox file sharing service, Jumpshare allows you to upload, store and share files online. It supports files in over 200 formats and can include content such as photos, videos, documents, and presentations. Once files are uploaded, they can be easily shared instantly with friends and colleagues via a URL link or sent via e-mail. Maximum file size is 2 GB.
- Poll Everywhere – This invaluable resource offers a unique way to create real-time audience responses for events (conferences, presentations, classrooms) using mobile devices. Quick and simple to use, the person conducting the survey posts a question (open ended or close) on the template provided on the Poll Everywhere website. The audience responds/votes using their laptops, smartphones, or tablets in several ways: texting a code to a number provided on-screen, submitting a code via the URL link provided, or sending a “tweet” to @poll on Twitter. The active results are displayed live on animated charts or as PowerPoint slides. Poll Everywhere is free for audiences of 40 persons or less.
- Text2MindMap – Text2MindMap is one of the more popular mind mapping tools on the web allowing users to create customized mindmaps directly on the website. Once completed, mindmaps can be downloaded as a pdf file on png image. It can also be shared (view only version) on Facebook and Twitter.
- TodaysMeet – This is a free service which can be used to quickly create chat rooms. Users can create isolated rooms for communicating directly with their audience during a presentation. Thus allowing the audience to give feedback immediately, share their insights and ask questions. There is a limit of 140 characters for each message. Using the service is relative simple. Users can initiate the chat by providing a name for the room, obtaining a URL (which can be e-mailed or tweeted to attendees), and providing instructions on when to delete the room ( 2 – 12 hours, one day, one week, one month) once the meeting has concluded. Two options (as a transcript or on a projector) are provided to view incoming messages.
- Weebly – Weebly was named by Times.com as one of the 50 best websites of 2012. Described as a free ‘drag and drop’ website builder, it requires little or no technical experience, and can be used by professionals and non-professional alike. Websites created are hosted within the ‘cloud’ for no additional fees. There are hundreds of templates to choose from and the free blogging service is a key feature. Weebly also supports all types of content including text, photos (with a built in photo- editor) slideshows, contact forms, maps, videos and audios. The Weebly app is currently only available for the iPhone.
Project Gutenberg, developers of the first online platform for free eBooks, has progressed to the next logical step and created a free self publishing portal for authors. The purpose of this portal referred to as the Authors Community Cloud Library is to “create a cloud service for contemporary writers to share their works with readers”.
- There is built in two way interaction for authors and readers as every eBook has its own Details Page, Star Ratings, and Reader Comment area.
- Users can easily search for their favorite titles by keyword or limiting by genre categories such as adventure, art, biographies, children literature, education, fantasy and technology.
- There is no charge for using this service.
- Registration is not required for reading or downloading the eBooks. However, registration is required to upload a book or post a comment.
How Libraries Can use This Tool:
Promote this tool on main library portals (blogs, webpages, library guides) as a self publishing platform for contemporary authors to publish their works and as a social network meeting place for readers and authors to share ideas.
The infographics industry is currently booming as website creators and marketers are incorporating informative graphics to visualize a great story or visually explain a problem. This mass appeal lies in the fact that infographics are portable, highly visible thus attracting a lot of information, and simplifies the presentation of voluminous data.
Here are links to three tools that can be used to develop customized infographics:
How Libraries Can Use This Tool:
View these effective use of infographics to market library services on Pinterest.
Dropbox is a free service that allows users to save, store and share content (documents, photos, and videos) on multiple devices (desktop, laptops, mobile phones) and on the native Dropbox website. Sharing this content with others is as easy as sending a URL link via e-mail to a file stored on the service.
- The service is offered as a paid monthly subscription or free service. The latter offers up to 2GB free
- Files are always available from the secured Dropbox website.
- Support is provided for multiple platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, Ipad, iPhone, Android and Balckberry.
- Shared folders allow group collaboration
- Ability to create photo galleries
- Provides backup (one month history of work stored)
How Libraries Can Use This Tool
Promote this tool as a free service for storing and sharing content in multiple formats (documents, audio, video, images).
Social media sites are now all pervasive, and users as part of their daily regimen are consistently and patiently logging in to multiple platforms. It is not unusual to log in and post content on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Foursqare, Tumblr, YouTube on a daily basis. Logging into your account on multiple social platforms takes up a lot of time and requires organization and daily management . For some individuals and organizations, this is a necessary task as social media has been proven as a highly effective marketing and promotional tool. HootSuite is a web tool which can assist in this effort as it allows users to manage multiple social media accounts from one application and measure the results of their online marketing campaigns.
- The basic plan is free and offers a host of features including creating 5 social profiles, message scheduling, quick reports and access to 2 RSS/Atoms feeds. These features can be immediately accessed through a web browser. Upgrading to the Pro or Enterprise versions provide access to more functionality.
- User-friendly interface with the functionality of easily creating accounts, logging in to the HootSuite platform and posting to multiple social media sites simultaneously
- Integrates with key social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages, Foursquare, Myspace and WordPress. For example the Facebook account functionality allows users to post updates, add images and monitor feeds. Integration with Twitter allows HootSuite users to send and schedule Tweets as well as monitor Mentions, Direct Messages, Sent Tweets, Favorited Tweets, and other content in dedicated streams.
- The Hootsuite dashboard is also available as a mobile app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Keitai.
- The HootSuite App Directory hosts a collection of extensions and applications including YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and more that HootSuite users can add to their dashboard to create a customized experience.
How Libraries are Using This Resource
The New York Public Library publicized a case study on its use of HootSuite to “coordinate a decentralized team of contributors and help manage a multitude of social profiles”. Use of this tool has paid dividends in NYPL efforts to maintain an online presence as the leading public library on Facebook and Twitter worldwide. Read more here: http://blog.hootsuite.com/nypl-case/
HootSuite provides an updated Case Study page to demonstrate the versatility and high usage of this product.
Using the tag line Give eBooks to the World, Unglue.it – a new type of e-book publisher- launched on May 17, 2012 with active campaigns for site visitors to make monetary pledges towards books from five authors they wish to ‘unglue’. The idea behind this new service is as simple, as it is innovative, and answers basic questions like the following: What if you could give a book to everyone on earth? Get an ebook and read it on any device, in any format, forever? Give an ebook to your library? Own DRM-free ebooks, legally? Read free ebooks, and know their creators had been fairly paid?
Unglue.it as a crowdfunding site, allows book aficionados to pay authors and publishers to make their traditionally-published books free to the world under a Creative Commons license. If supporters pledge a dollar amount chosen by the books’ rightsholders before a given deadline, these books are released as “unglued” or free electronic editions under the shared license.
There is promise that this concept will catch on and the service will grow exponentially as who among us would not want to pledge toward creating ebooks that can be legally free (‘unglued’), shared and read worldwide.
- Unglue.it is free to join. For rights holder starting campaigns are also free and they only pay Unglue.it if the campaign succeeds.
- For all books unglued the copyright stays with its current owner. Unglue.it does not own the copyright and issues a Creative Commons licensing agreement to the author/s. Additonally, authors are free to enter into additional licensing agreements for other, non-unglued, editions of the work, including translation and film rights.
- There are separate FAQ on starting Campaigns and FAQ for Rights Holders.
- Visitors to the site have the option of searching the website database to identify books they wish unglued. Once the title is found, it can be added to a wish list. The more wishlists a book is on, the more appealing it is for rights holders to launch an ungluing campaign.
- Users have access to a widget (embedded HTML code) which can be added to a personal website to share an ‘ active ungluing campaign’.
- For persons wishing to make a monetary pledge, there is a Support button on all active campaign pages. An Amazon Account is required in order to pledge. Premiums or bonuses are given to persons supporting a successful campaign and is itemized as follows:
- $1 // The unglued ebook delivered to your inbox.
- $25 // Your name under “supporters” in the acknowledgements section.
- $50 // Your name and link of your choice under “benefactors”
- $100 // Your name, link of your choice, and a brief message (140 characters max) under “bibliophiles”
How Libraries Can Use this Resource:
- This is a platform which can be marketed to patrons as DRM free: not limited to any e-reading device, not restricted to any one format and can be legally copied and shared with colleagues, family and friends.
- Promote and market this tool to local authors as a service which can be used to promote their works and as a platform for reading and sharing free ebook collections.
- Librarians can use this as an alternative to traditional publishers when planning the marketing, distribution and sale of their own books.
The first five authors/publishers to grace the site in May 2012:
Michael Laser, 6-321
Joseph Nassise, Riverwatch
Nancy Rawles, Love Like Gumbo
Budding Reader, Cat and Rat
Open Book Publishers, Oral Literature in Africa, by Ruth Finnegan.
Pinterest is a virtual pin board-style social sharing website that allows users to create, organize, manage and share theme-based image collections. It is one of the fastest growing start up online service currently available. Users (reportedly, the majority of whom are female) have been innovative, using the site to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboards, thus reflecting their professional and personal interests. For example, creating pins for hobbies, special events, home renovations, new recipes, travel guides and personal libraries. Visitors to the site can also browse a library of pinboards created by other users and ‘re-pin’ their favorite images to their personal pinboards. Pinterest’s mission as stated on the website is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”.
- Pinterest service is currently by invitation only. To register, users must receive an invitation from a friend already registered, or request an invitation directly from the Pinterest website. When users receive an invite, they can register via Facebook or connect through their Twitter account.
- Pins (images added to Pinterest) can be added from a website using the Pin It button (bookmarklet), or uploading images from a computer. Each pin added using the Pin It button links back to the source site.
- Boards (a set of pins or images) can be created on any topic and there are no limits on the amount of boards a user can create.
- Users click on Follow All to follow all of a user’s pins on all of their boards. Clicking on Follow restricts viewing to only specific boards.
- A repin is adding an image found while browsing Pinterest to your own board. When images are repinned, the original user who first pinned the image will also get credit as repins always maintain the source-link of the original image.
- Coding is available for publishers of websites who prohibit pinning images from their source website: <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />
How Libraries are using Pinterest:
- See the following article to view innovative ways that libraries are using this service: 20 ways Libraries are Using Pinterest Right now
- Visit these Pinterest sites developed by libraries to promote collections, services and programs:
FYI Launched in March 2010, the company was co-founded by two Yale graduates, former venture capital analyst Paul Sciarra and Ben Silbermann, a former Google advertising product specialist.
Many of us can confess to ’googling’ our name, using Google as a tool to track online activities such as publishing, workshop and conference presentations, blogs maintained, memberships in social networks and citations of our work. In a nutshell, keeping track of all the information on the internet which reflects our professional and personal lives. BrandYourself approaches this activity from the other end, helping you to control content found on Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines as well as popular social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) when someone (colleagues, prospective clients and employers) searches your name. Launched on May 1 2012, the site currently boasts of 25,000 registered users.
- To create a BrandYourself profile, simply visit the site, enter an email address and password you would like to use to login and then plug in the name you would like to control in search engines. The site then guides you through steps on how to use the site’s main service, which allows you to submit links you would like to show up as main results on search engines and then offers suggestions on how to boost these links to the top of the results list. After signing up and creating a profile, you can view who has searched for you on the site’s homepage.
- The links you submit and wish to control in search results are not limited to your proper name (e.g. Tom Smith). Links can include, your LinkedIn profile, personal website, blog etc.
- Users have access to a simple and do-it-yourself easy to use interface which analyzes each link submitted and suggests specific steps to boost (give higher ranking) positive links to the top of any search results.
- Sotware alerts are sent out periodically to alert you of changes in rankings.
How Libraries Can Use this Resource
- This online service is useful for managing one’s professional online reputation. BrandYourself simplifies the process allowing users to easily and seamlessly brand themselves online.
- Allows professionals the flexibility of controlling and improving what shows up in popular search engines (Search Engine Optimization, SEO)such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, and social networks such as LinkedIn , Twitter, and Facebook.
FYI: View a list of media interviews and awards online at http://brandyourself.com/info/about/press
App It Up
An “app” is a small piece of software that performs a discrete function, with limited or targeted functionality. Apps can be used online (a web app), on a mobile device (a mobile app), or as an add-on to existing software tools (widgets, plug-ins, templates, and so on). Recognizing the widespread development of and consumer demand for “apps” Techsoup has launched a new App It Up page to share innovative and ‘cool apps” with libraries and nonprofits. This project was made possible wit hte help of a generous donation form Microsoft.
- A category for Apps built specifically for libraries and non-profits. Tools include Biblion the iPad app developed by the New York Public Library to share and explore the library’s rich archive of documents, images, film, and audio.
- A category for Generic Apps which highlights productivity tools such as the nifty note-taking app Evernote.
- A category for Wish List Apps – apps which have not yet been developed but of value to libraries
How Libraries Can Use this Resource
This is a great resource to evaluate apps which could be used to improve collections, services and productivity in libraries. Librarians also have the opportunity to be innovative and develop new apps, useful to the library community, and add it to this growing database.
Microblogging/Curation Service Tool
Tumblr is a free blog hosting platform/curation service offering professional and fully customizable features that allow ‘Tumblrs’ to effortlessly share content (text, photos, quotes, links, music, videos, quotes, audio, slideshows) from their web browser, mobile device, desktop or email.
- Ability to customize using themes from an in-house database or creating an original theme
- Described mainly as a consumer curation tool, Tumblr offers an easy way to re-post content (articles, images and videos, text) with a click of the ‘reblog’ button
- Seamless news feed syndication to Facebook and other social media.
- Access to publishing apps which allows posting from a mobile device
- Creation of your own domain name
- Flexibility of creating private posts or blogs
- Call in your posts feature where users can call a number (1-866-584-6757) and record an audio post for their blog.
- Tumblr’s configurable post queue can automatically publish your posts on a designated schedule.
Examples of this Resource at Work:
- The New York Public Library: http://nypl.tumblr.com/
- The Rose Memorial Library Blog: http://rosememorial.tumblr.com/
- Arlington Public Library: http://arlingtonvalib.tumblr.com/
- The Next Web: http://thenextweb.tumblr.com/
- iPads and Tablets in Libraries: http://tabletsinlibraries.tumblr.com/
The average Tumblr user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3. Half of those posts are photos. The rest are split between text, links, quotes, music, and video. (http://www.tumblr.com/about)