Web 2.0 in Forestry: a practical overview
Science and Engineering Librarian,
University of British Columbia
October 20, 2008
(Email/MSN Messenger) firstname.lastname@example.org
Goals of this session
Introduce social software to forestry and wood science
Provide and share personal experiences
Social software - definition
My definition: “social-software refers to web-based software
tools that support or foster group interaction”
Social software is mostly about interaction
Web 2.0 creates conversations
Social tools to be covered today
What is a blog?
A frequent, chronological, and personalized publication of web content
Why use a blog?
Pros of blogs:
No need to know html coding
No need to find server space
Allow interactivity and sharing
Cons of blogs:
Too many – hard to select
It takes time to read and write
Blogs in forestry
Forester blog by Robert Borhi, BC Registered Professional Forester -
UBC Science and Engineering Blog has a section for wood sciences -
Technorati - http://technorati.com/
Google blog search - http://blogsearch.google.com/
What is RSS?
Pushed vs. pulled content from blogs and websites
Instead of you going to check for new info – the info comes to
Video - http://www.blip.tv/file/205570/
Why use RSS?
Blogs - RSS feeds let readers know when a blog has been updated.
News – stories are published, and users are alerted via the feed.
Examples: Google News, CBC, newspaper sites
Press releases and announcements - RSS is a useful tool for formal
Scientific literature – Many e-journals and databases (e.g.
Compendex or Web of Science) provide search results and updates in
You need a free reader:
Web-based – Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/) or Google
Standalone clients - SharpReader (http://www.sharpreader.net/)
Plugins – are integrated into software packages like Microsoft
Outlook, and downloaded to your desktop or browser
Finding forestry-related RSS feeds
Use Bloglines.com search option for feeds
Use LibWorm search options - http://www.libworm.com/
Example – FAO Forestry news - http://www.fao.org/forestry/home/en/
Example - NYTimes feed on forests and forestry -
What is podcasting?
Audio files, thrown on RSS feed
Download themselves to the subscribers’ machines
Don’t need iPod
Why use podcasts?
Current awareness alternative for busy forestry professionals
Portable, cheap to produce,
Easy to find and use (listen on the go and at your convenience)
Perfect for auditory learners (some 30% of learners)
Forestry related podcasts
Forestry and Environment podcasts:
Forests and Oceans for the Future (UBC seminar series) -
Environment@Yale podcasts -
Easy to do with free (or almost free) tools
We use Audacity to record - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
1 min. of recording is roughly 1MB
All files live on UBC Institutional Repository -
Subscribe to our podcasts -
What is a wiki?
An online resource which allows users to add and edit content
Wikis are participative and allow many people to work together
Software is usually free and easy-to-learn and use
Video - http://blip.tv/file/246821
Where to use a wiki?
A conference planning committee needs a Web-based tool to keep track
of their activities and who is doing what (Canadian Health Library
An executive committee is looking for an easy way to create and maintain
its documents (Saskatchewan Health Information Resources Partnership
A company would like any authorized staff member to be able to update
content on its intranet as necessary, without needing to use specialist
software (British Columbia Securities Commission, 2006-07)
Examples of wikis
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org
Wikis in Forestry:
Nepalese Forestry Wiki - http://www.forestrynepal.org/wiki with
authors from Canada and even UBC ☺
Software for wikis
Examples of wiki software:
PBwiki – http://pbwiki.com/
MediaWiki – http://www.mediawiki.org - package used by
Wikipedia and our own UBC Health Library Wiki
Problems with wikis
Wikis are sometimes prone to vandalism (wiki-spam)
Quality issues – since everybody can edit
Can be time consuming
What is Instant Messaging (IM)?
A system which allows instant text communication between two or
more people through a network
Very popular with NextGens, Generations Y and X (young
Example of Instant Messaging (IM)
Using IM to provide reference services to
IM on our subject guides and contact
What are social networks?
My definition: “Virtual communities that are structured to delineate and
build on relationships that members have with each other by virtue of
their being part of that community.”
Video - http://blip.tv/file/282928
Examples of general social networks
MySpace – http://www.myspace.com - world's sixth most popular
Facebook - http://facebook.com - Users join one or more participating
networks, such as a high school, place of employment, or geographic
Linked-In - http://www.linkedin.com/ - LinkedIn is a business-oriented
social networking site, mainly used for and by professionals.
Example of social networks in forestry
Facebook has dozens of forestry interest groups with some of them counting
hundreds of members:
1. UNB Forestry Alumni
2. Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
3. UBC Forestry Alumni
4. U of A Forestry
5. Future of Forestry
6. World wide group of forestry and enviroment and natural resources
Summary and brainstorm
Socialization is the dominant feature of Web 2.0
Web should remain an open and optimal learning space
More productive? Careful thinking is needed!
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