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Guiding researchers to the web tools they need: The rationale behind a Web tools for researchers’ guide
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Guiding researchers to the web tools they need: The rationale behind a Web tools for researchers’ guide


Presentation by Miggie Pickton, University of Northampton. ALISS Summer Conference …

Presentation by Miggie Pickton, University of Northampton. ALISS Summer Conference
20th July 2011

Published in Education , Technology
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  • We recommend in particular that:University computing and information services should:• raise awareness of tools and services, and the uses to which they can be put;• publicise examples of successful use and good practice;• provide guidance and training;• help set standards for curation and preservation.RIN (2010) If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0., p.9. Available from: http://www.rin.ac.uk/web-20-researchers
  • Invisible’ = beyond the reach of search engines, including:Dynamically created web pages (e.g. returned in response to a query on a database)Pages not linked from other web pages (no entry route for crawlers)Password protected contentTechnically protected content (e.g. pages which actively prevent crawlers)Non HTML content (e.g. text hidden in image files or file formats not handled by search engines)Volume of ‘invisible’ content estimated to be many times greater than ‘visible’, but boundaries are blurring
  • ‘Network effects’ (RIN, 2010, p.47) – the benefits for each user increase with the number of users.


  • 1. Guiding researchers to the web tools they needThe rationale behind a ‘Web tools for researchers’ guide
    ALISS Summer Conference
    20th July 2011
    Miggie Pickton
  • 2. Outline
    The research process
    Web tools and the research process
    Tools for searching
    Tools for communication
    Tools for collaboration
    Tools for dissemination
    Tools for keeping up to date
    Tools for managing the research project
  • 3. “The services most likely to succeed are those where researchers are actively involved in uncovering, exploring and exploiting new capabilities, and adapting them to their own purposes, in accordance with the broader cultures and contexts in which they undertake their work”
    Research Information Network (2010) If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0., p.9. Available from: http://www.rin.ac.uk/web-20-researchers
  • 4. The research process
    How can web tools support the research process?
  • 5. Tools to support the research process
    Web tools can support researchers in:
    Finding stuff (people, resources, policy... etc)
    Keeping in touch with each other
    Working together
    Disseminating their work
    Keeping up to date
    Planning and organising their research project
  • 6. Searching (and finding)
    Scholarly resources
    Funding opportunities
    Images and video
    Public policy
    Government and business
    ...and much more
  • 7. Searching the visible web
    Different search engines give different results - Thumbshots
    Try out several search engines – TurboScout, Trovando
    Categorise the results – Yippy
    Limit to scholarly content – Google Scholar, Scirus
    Search visually – Search-cube, Quintura, oSkope
    Search the blogosphere – Technorati or IceRocket
    Find images or video – Google, Yahoo, Flickr, Vimeo
  • 8. Searching the ‘invisible’ web
    ‘Invisible’ web - beyond the reach of search engines
    Infomine – US based ‘virtual library of internet resources’ gathered by librarians
    CompletePlanet – browseable categories, includes content from dynamically searchable databases
    Intute – UK based collection of subject resources selected by subject experts (but closing soon)
    Search engines:
    OAIster or BASE – harvested from open archives using OAI-PMH e.g. digital repositories
  • 9. Communication
    With research colleagues
    With current and potential research partners
    With potential employers
    With project participants
    Between supervisor and student
  • 10. Tools for communication
    Email is out. ‘Social’ media are in.
    Join a social (or professional?) network – ResearchGate; Academia.edu; Graduate Junction; LinkedIn
    Arrange a web conference – Google Plus, Adobe Connect; GoToMeeting (not all are free)
    Chat one-to-one – Skype; Windows Messenger
    Join an existing network or start a new one.
    ‘Network effects’
  • 11. Collaboration
    Generating ideas
    Project planning
    Gathering and sharing data
    Working on documents and presentations
    Sharing resources
  • 12. Tools for collaboration
    Use Google docs to collaboratively create, store and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations online
    For mind mapping try Bubbl.us, Freemind, Mind42 or Mindmeister
    Share favourite websites using Delicious, StumbleUpon or Diigo
    Organise and share bibliographic references with CiteUlike, Mendeley, Zotero or Connotea
  • 13. Dissemination
    Report ongoing progress
    Publicise research outputs
    Build a body of knowledge
    Publish in an open access journal
    Keep permanent copies of research outputs in an open access repository
  • 14. Tools for dissemination
    Create a blog or wiki using Wordpress or Wetpaint
    Contribute to Wikipedia (and drive more traffic to a personal or research group website)
    Share project news or follow others on Twitter or Tumblr
    Submit an article to an open access journal or publish a new one using Open Journal Systems
    Deposit research outputs in an institutional or subject repository such as NECTAR or ArXiv (also available as an iPhone app)
  • 15. Keeping up to date
    Receive the latest news by email or RSS feed
    Tables of contents
    Subject specific mailing lists
    Funding opportunities
    Search alerts from scholarly databases or search engines
  • 16. Tools for keeping up to date
    Receive up to date information by email or RSS feed:
    Search alerts from scholarly databases e.g. Science Direct, Proquest or search engines e.g. Google alerts
    Tables of contents e.g. ZETOC, TicTOCs
    Publisher alerts e.g. Sage ‘My Tools’
    Subject community mailing lists e.g. JiscMail
    RSS feeds from favourite web pages e.g. JISC, AHRC
    Gather RSS feeds through website or browser e.gGoogle Reader, Bloglines
  • 17. Organising and managing
    Project management
    Visualising the research
    Data collection
    Arranging meetings
    Manipulating data
    Personal development
  • 18. Tools for organising and managing the research project
    Set a meeting date using Doodle or Meet-o-matic
    Run an online survey using SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang
    Create a different type of presentation using Prezi, or share a powerpoint on Slideshare
    Summarise text in a word cloud such as Wordle or TagCrowd
    Personalise your web browser with iGoogle, Pageflakes or Netvibes
    ...the list is endless!
  • 19. Health warning
    Web tools come and go – or get taken over by other providers (think of Google Wave, Viewzi, Bloglines...)
    Users (usually) have no control over their development or their longevity
    Important to have an exit strategy for when they cease operating
    ... but in the meantime, there are some really useful tools for research!
  • 20. And if you’re not convinced of the value of web tools...
    see Gary Hayes’ social media counts
  • 21. Contact details
    Web tools for researchers guide is available at
    Miggie Pickton
    Research Support Specialist
    Department of Information Services
    The University of Northampton
    Tel: 01604 892245