16: Mapping tools

Blog or comment on your experiences to date with any aspect/application of mapping tools. If you have no previous experience, what interests you about this topic?

A pretty old article (2012) but one that lists some interesting ways people have used google maps: http://www.noupe.com/development/collection-of-the-coolest-uses-of-the-google-maps-api.html

I think it’s interesting how location and space can be used enrich a story, a piece of information or data, or an experience. It especially works with historical maps. I’d seen the SLNSW historypin stuff before.

I also think it’s cool that significant sites and landmarks have been captured on google street view, not just streets:



15: Managing Research Data

Check out the Mantra course- are there any takeaway messages from this site?

I liked the Mantra course, found it quite helpful. I’m someone that’s all about good file management, naming conventions, etc. This course proves that it really is important (not just for neat freaks). You might need to justify your research years later so you need to have documentation that you can easily dig up. In an environment with a big focus on repositories and open access it’s also important to make your research make sense to others who download your data.

14: Reference Management Tools

Are you using a reference management program? If so, which one do you prefer and why? Any recommendations for other programs?

I’ve recently committed to EndNote. I’m studying through CSU and they have a subscription. I was hesitant at first because it seemed like too much work to set it up, but once you do it’s very good. It takes a lot of the pain out of referencing.

Part of my hesitancy was because I like to save my assignments to Dropbox and work on my iPad on the train etc. The Cite-while-you-write feature adds coding to your word document and I was worried that it would break if I opened it on an iPad or in the Dropbox editor. I was pleased to find out that it doesn’t.

I’ve also used RefME (a tool ACU academic skills have promoted) – it allows you build libraries of references and generate references according to a selected citation style. There’s a phone/tablet app which allows you to scan the barcode of a book and it will generate the citation information, which I think is a cool feature. No cite-while-you-write type integration though, which is the most helpful thing about Endnote.

13 : Presenting Your Research

Pick a presentation tool, preferably one you haven’t used before. Explore. Think about when or how you might or might not use these sites, and explain their use to a researcher.

I picked Slideshare because I often find slideshare presentations from Googling something, but I haven’t explored it as a tool before. Here are my thoughts:

  • It makes your stuff findable. Audience doesn’t need to be “on” SlideShare to find it easily (many views come in through other means such as Google searches – e.g. me)
  • It puts your contact details via LinkedIn in a prominent position which makes it easy people to contact you if they like your research/presentation
  • Social media functionality – comments, sharing, “liking”, tagging, profile building
  • It really is “YouTube for Slideshows” – easy to use, lots of content to explore. It even has that familiar column of related videosslideshares with thumbnails on the right hand side.
  • You can put together “clipboards” of other people’s slides, which is an interesting way to collate interesting things that you find.

Not really part of the activity, but I thought I should give my two cents on Prezi since I said I would in one of the previous “things” – I like it, but I have seen it done badly. Sometimes it seems like the presenter is using it because someone told them it’s “better than Powerpoint”. If they’ve got a linear presentation, i.e. one point after another, a slide-based presenting tool is more suitable. Prezi has this spatial style of moving around and zooming in and out, I agree with the material in the “thing” – unless it’s used to enhance the storyline of the presentation, it can confuse and create motion sickness! However, if the movement is used to match the argument, it can be awesome. e.g., moving up in steps, moving around a map, as shown below (these are standard templates)


12: Digital (Social media) Curation and Content Aggregation

Do you use an aggregator/curator? Which one and why?

I recently noticed a new IOS9 news app on my iPad which aggregates content. When I launched it, it asked me to select my favourite newspapers, websites, and topics, and it creates a curated news feed based on that. I thought it was cool, and it’s easy to use. Here’s a post about it. Unlike an RSS feed aggregator there’s not a great deal of control over what goes into the reader, which could be a positive (if you want to browse / be surprised) or a negative (if you want to follow specific stories).

I also add RSS feeds to Outlook, including 23 research things! I used to use Google Reader, I don’t follow as many blogs as I used to. But there are lots of RSS readers to chose from.

11: Web-conferencing and communication tools

We all use Lync, but explore another one of the other options and comment/blog your findings.

AdobeConnect seems like a popular options for hosting online video conferences. I’ve never hosted anything on it, but from a participant point of view, I like that you don’t need to sign up or download any software, you just use the link to open in your web browser. I once got caught out trying to connect to a session hosted on BlackBoard, thinking it would be just like Adobe Connect, not knowing I had to download and install the software first, which on my computer was going to take over 20 minutes and I only gave myself 5 minutes to get set up! But I blame that entirely on my own disorganisation.

I haven’t used Skype in a long time but it’s functional too (according to the Wikipedia article, Lync is now called Skype for Business! Hmm.)

10: Using Images

Take a look at Instagram or Flickr and search and explore for some instances where researchers are using Instagram or Flickr. Add some links to pages you discover.

Megan McPherson – PhD and artist – good mix for instragram

Just some thoughts on using Instagram for social networking and profile building- the principles are pretty similar to Twitter only there’s always a pic involved. Sometimes the picture isn’t the important part – e.g. thesis whisperer’s picture of an empty plate, the plate isn’t really the point- it’s in the caption, “Dinner with international university marketing people”. It makes it informal and fun. The other use for Instagram is if the images ARE the point, like if you’re in a science field that creates interesting visuals. NASA’s Instagram is so cool (I love space pics!).

Flickr is a great source of different kinds of images – e.g. search for cell biology.
Researchers can also use flickr to find photos that are not academic per se, but have an academic use, e.g. a photograph of a building can have an academic purpose to a historian.