And again with the research stuff

One of me in SL

This is "me"

I find it really difficult to comment on Social News sites as most of my “news” needs are met by Twitter. Having said that though I can see how using a news aggregator can help to keep track of the stuff you are interested in. I think I like Digg most because you can select what you want to follow. Reddit and Newsvine are also interesting though. I particularly like the University of Reddit where people can get together to learn about things that interest them but I find Newsvine more comfortable because it is presented more like a newspaper. Even so I think I’ll stick to Twitter where I have selected to follow particular newspapers and broadcasters and even particular topics provided by those producers.

I find Social Documents far more interesting. I’ve used Google Docs for a long time and find them really useful for active documents (that’s documents that are being revised prior to publishing). Google Docs make it possible for a number of people to work on a document at the same time without there becoming a dreadful muddle of drafts. Anyone who has to do this sort of thing on a regular basis will know how annoying these confusing drafts are. It’s not just Word documents that can be shared in the Cloud though, Google Docs also provide spreadsheets and presentations too. It’s all really easy to use, though the layout is a little different to the usual Windows interaction. I think Dropbox is just marvellous, I’ve been using it for a while now and never had any problems with it. Using it is as easy as falling off a log. Just download the app and away you go. You can use Dropbox just for saving all types of documents just as though it’s another harddrive -or- you can share documents by sending a completely individual url for each document to your collaborator -or- you can share a folder and put all your combined documents in so you can both access all of them in privacy – fantastic. The only problem that occurs is when you have a completely old-fashioned, uninformed IT management that prevents any sort of app from working inside their firewall. So just check before you set everything up – some of your colleagues might not have moved into the 21st century! The RIN Social Media guide puts Zoho under the heading of Social Documents but I think I might have put it under Project Management. Zoho does loads of things, email, chat, documents, meetings, discussions, wikis and lots more. Zoho looks as if it is aimed at the business market but that doesn’t mean it would not be useful to researchers. I must admit that I have never used it but it appears very user-friendly – please somebody have a go at it and let me know how you get on.

So finally for today, on to Project Management. Bamboo has been created specifically for SharePoint so your university will need to be using it before you can make use of Bamboo. However, if you are lucky enough to have a SharePoint server Bamboo will be very useful especially if you have a number of different projects that you need to keep track off. Basecamp is another project manager that is quite easy to use (well it is for those of you who are used to managing projects). It will cost you about £30 per month to manage 15 projects or about twice that to manage 100 projects. The last app to mention is Huddle, which is considerably more expensive than Basecamp. Huddle costs about £124 for 1-10 projects! Somewhat expensive but it is supposed to be considerably safer than other project managers – whether we need that sort of security is questionable.

ok folks that’s it today. I’ll start on the use of Social Multimedia tomorrow.


About timjohnson
I came through a tortuous path to the role of Adviser in Digital Literacy in the Information and Learning Services Department. In the past I was a: Senior Lecturer in Health Informatics, Senior Lectuer in Midwifery, Midwifery Sister, Staff Midwife, Nurse, Secretary, Bars Manager. I would have liked to be a jeweller and silver smith but of course there is always retirement for that :)

3 Responses to And again with the research stuff

  1. Pingback: A little help « Digital Literacy @ University of Worcester

  2. timjohnson says:

    Thanks for the comment Martin – it’s nice to know who someone in the blog statistics is 🙂

    I know exactly what you mean about dieing a litttle bit each time a f2f or even online meeting starts with bits of paper – I take a big deep breath and prepare to start from the beginning – again 🙂 People are starting to get there and to be quite honest each individual can’t be blamed – a lot of individuals are trying really hard to work in the 21st century. It just takes a while for the whole of an organisation to get the message – and that’s what I’m supposed to be here for, to get the message across.

    I’m glad you like Dropbox, I think it’s wonderful. I pay for a little more space now but that’s ‘cos I’m sending videos to and fro and it’s still really worth the cost.

    I have to stand up for the IT guys – they get a rough deal (it makes them a bit grumpy at times). They do wonders with what they have and, I guess are always worried about pushing the equipment to its limits. I think the guys would agree with you that they feel under supported. I don’t know if this is my role but I feel I have to convince the hearts and minds of *everyone* in the uni that the IT guys and everyone using IT effectively for students need more recognition for the good work they are doing and support to enable them to do even more excellent things.

    Do keep reading – I really enjoy this 🙂

  3. Martin Duke says:

    I’m really enjoying your recent blog posts and the services that you’re linking to.
    Its great that most of these web apps/sites have now reached critical mass and that IT management types can start to allow them and perhaps integrate them.

    From the perspective of both a student and staff I’ve had a huge use out of Dropbox and I’m fed up with the backwards IT services, that are out of date, under supported and simply not good enough for an establishment this big!

    The potential for staff & students to organise & work online is huge. Every time I have long email conversations or project planning sessions with scraps of unorganised paper – I die a little bit inside…

    Anywho keep up the good work.

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