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August 13, 2010 / Cameron Campbell

Sharing is Caring

In the course of our online travels and research we often come across websites that we’d to share with colleagues, be they other faculty and staff at the FoC or the students we work with. Perhaps, it’s an article of interest, maybe it’s just a funny joke or image or maybe it’s a more serious paper that pertains to some research that’s you’d like to share.

But how to do that? Sending out an email every time you find something interesting runs the risk of getting you labeled a spammer.

So what to do? All this interesting stuff you’re finding is of little use to anyone else if you never tell them about it.

Well here are two ideas: delicious and Zotero.

Delicious bills itself as “social bookmarking”.. the idea is that you bookmark things simultaneously with their service and on your computer. The benefit of this is two fold:

  1. You can retrieve and use your own bookmarks from any computer in the world by logging onto the service
  2. You can save the bookmarks to public or private lists and share them with others (either by notifying them of your list or by pushing individual links to other users)

Not only are the bookmarks available this way but you can also search all the public bookmarks. Additionally the delicious bookmarking system uses tagging or meta data. Basically, instead of a contextless bookmark that requires visiting to decide if it’s useful, you can add information and a description of why you’re bookmarking it. The tags themselves, much like those on this blog, just make searching for bookmarks on various subjects easier. For example, these are the results for a search on “New Zealand Economy“. As a start point here’s my collection, which I have to admit I haven’t been keeping up to date of late.

The other option, and one that is more tailored to academic pursuits, is Zotero. Functioning as a plug in for Firefox, Zotero allows you to “collect, organize, cite, synch, collaborate”. What this means is that you can use it to store bookmarks, documents (pdfs, images, word docs etc), generate citations (APA, MLA, Chicago etc – as well as journals specific styles), sync between computers (your home and office machines) and share your collections with colleagues (either by maintaining group libraries or publishing dynamic bibliographies). Zotero also has plug-ins for a variety of different word processing apps, so you can move your collection into papers you’re working on.

Both of these services/software packages are free to use.

If you’d like to discuss using them, please feel free to get in touch with me, either via email, phone or via twitter @FLILincolnUniNZ.

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