Practical projects using
Using Netvibes as a home or start page
Visit the Netvibes website at http://www.netvibes.com
This module is also available at http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cQnh1PnPj as
Start by personalising your page by choosing some interests (if you wish, it’s not
necessary) and choose some of the suggested widgets (if you wish).
(Don’t worry about making a mistake, you can change all of these things later.) Then
click ‘Show me my page’ and Netvibes will create a page for you. It’ll look something
like the following illustration, but may be slightly different depending on your choices
and current news.
At this point you can sign up to use Netvibes, or continue to play with it, until you feel
confident enough to do so. Remember that you can’t do any damage, and you can always
change any of the content in the future, so you’re not locking yourself into anything,
either at this stage or indeed at any point.
You may decide that you don’t like the position of the various modules on the page.
Simple place your mouse cursor into the title element of a module, and it should then
change to a 4 way pointing arrow. Simply click and drag the module elsewhere.
The remaining modules will all move around appropriately. You can of course move the
module back if you wish. If you would like to further personalise the page you can do so
quite easily. Simply click on the General Tab and choose the small downfacing arrow,
which will provide you with an option like this:
You can then change the name, the layout, delete the entire tab or share it with other
people on social networks. At this stage, just try changing the name and perhaps the
layout until you find something that you like. When you’re happy with what you have,
simply click on the red cross, top right hand corner.
You can add new modules or widgets by clicking on the green ‘Add content’ tab in the
top left hand corner. This will expand as you can see below:
Feel free to explore the various widgets until you find something you like. When you find
a widget that you like (such as the BBC news) you can click on it, which brings the
widget to the fore, then click ‘Add to my page’ and position the widget wherever you
You can also edit this and every other widget, though exactly what you can do depends
on the widget itself. However, if you click on Edit in the top right hand of the widget title
bar you’ll see various options – this is the BBC news example:
Once again, feel free to play around – you can always change things back again.
One important widget to add is the ‘Bookmarks’ option, which is available under the
‘Essential’ tab. Add that to your collection on the page and open the edit option:
You can import bookmarks, but at this point just add one or two. Type in the title of the
bookmark (Phil Bradley’s website for example) and the URL. Then add a tag which
describes the link, but which is common enough for you to want to use again – something
like ‘Librarian’ should work well enough. Click on add. That assigns my site to the
Librarian tag. Do the same with another site, such as the BBC site and tag that as News,
then click Add. Your bookmark widget will look something like this:
If you click on the ‘News’ tag, my site will disappear, and the BBC site will appear. This
way you can have many sites listed under different tabs, making it easy to move through
them as appropriate.
The Netvibes page that you have been working on is the ‘General’ page (unless you
renamed it), but you’ll see other tabs:
Each of these tabs can be regarded as individual, and you can place whatever material on
them that you wish (although if you add another bookmarks tab it comes with the same
content, hence the use of tags)
Adding an RSS or newsfeed is very straightforward. Visit a weblog and take a note of its
URL, open up the ‘Add a feed’ option and choose RSS.
Type the URL into the address bar and click ‘Add Feed’ (If you simply want to try this
out, try adding http://www.philbradley.typepad.com to add mine). Click on the widget
that is created and choose to add it to your page. (If you are given multiple options just
choose one, it doesn’t really matter which.)
Alternatively you may see Subscribe options that include Netvibes, such as this one from
This is also a common way to add a feed:
Finally, you can make pages public, so that anyone else can see them. In order to do this
you need to click on the ‘Go to my public page’ option in the top left hand corner:
(You may need to reconfirm your account with Netvibes before you can create any
content.) More details on using public pages is available at
Using Bloglines as a newsreader – getting started.
1. Opening screen
2. Create an account.
You will need to provide Bloglines with an email address that you can access during the
course – until you have validated the address Bloglines will not let you continue, so I
would suggest giving it something such as a Hotmail or Gmail account.
3. Using Bloglines
Once you have clicked on the validate account from your email you will get the screen
you see in Fig 3. Scroll down the list of Quick picks and Most popular subscriptions and
add some that take your fancy – you can always get rid of them later if you change your
mind. Then click on ‘Subscribe to my Selections’ (bottom right of the screen above).
You will then see a screen that looks something like the one below, depending on your
selection of feeds:
If you click on any of the feeds that you have selected in the left pane, the content will
appear in the right hand (larger) pane as you can see in Fig 5.
You can scroll down through the list of entries, and if there is something that takes your
interest, you can simply click on the link in the right hand pane and you will get taken by
the browser directly to that specific story or weblog entry.
4. Adding content
You will want to add more content as time goes by, when you find interesting RSS feeds
to look at. Let’s use the BBC site as an example. Point your browser at www.bbc.co.uk
and choose the NEWS section, and click on the RSS feed link. This will then take you to
the page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/rss/default.stm and if you scroll down and look
at the right hand side menu, you will see a list of different feeds that you can take as in
Choose one that interests you, and you will be taken to another page – I chose UK and
was redirected to http://newsrss.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_uk_edition/uk/rss.xml Scroll
down the page again, and you will see on the right hand side a button ‘One click
subscriptions’ with a Bloglines icon, and click on that. This will then open Bloglines up
for you (or you may have to log back in), and you can then decide on various aspects,
such as adding to a folder, or creating one. Click on Folder and then New Folder and type
in News into the dialogue box. That creates the folder for you. Ignore the rest of the
options and just click Subscribe. In your Feeds section in Bloglines you will now have a
By clicking on Edit in the left hand pane in the feeds section you can create new folders,
move subscriptions to feeds from one place to another and so on, as in Fig 7. You may
wish to add a feed to Bloglines that doesn’t have an obvious option available to it. Simply
click on the ‘Add’ option (also shown in Figure 7). This brings up a dialogue box for you,
and simply cut and paste the URL of the site that has a feed you’re interested in, or the
URL of a weblog – almost anything. Bloglines will then try and work out for itself if
there is a feed available. Try this with my weblog – simply type in the URL
http://www.philbradley.typepad.com/ and hit subscribe. Bloglines will then try and find a
feed, and in that case, it will find several. It doesn’t matter which one you choose to add,
Bloglines will take care of it for you. Choose the options that you want, and the feed will
be added to your list. Alternatively you can install the easy subscribe bookmarklet to your
browser, which is a much easier and faster way to work.
Using Google Reader as an RSS Reader.
Create an account with Google if you don’t already have one, then sign in. Top left menu
contains a pull down ‘more’ option and you can click on the Reader option. Alternatively,
In the top left corner is the ‘Add a subscription’ option. Click on this and then enter a
search term or paste in the address of a weblog that you already know. A good choice
here is to simply search for librarian.
Scroll through the list, clicking on any feeds that interest you. Once you have found one
or more that you like, click on the ‘subscribe’ option. This will add that feed to your
subscriptions (A) and will also allow you to Add to a folder (B)
You can create a new folder to put subscriptions into, in order to keep things neat and
You will see that the subscription has been added to the appropriate folder. I’ve added a
few more subscriptions and folders for you to see.
Clicking on a folder will display all the new posts in a list or expanded format (option top
right) and you can view a post in more detail by clicking on the title.
Alternatively, click on an individual subscription to just view that. The number in
brackets tells you how many unread posts you have. If you wish to keep posts, click on
the star to the left of the title in the main window and it will be retained for you.
You can also subscribe to feeds directly from sites. Most feeds will have some RSS
option available (look for the orange icon) and click on it.
Simply click on the ‘Google’ option and follow the onscreen prompts. Alternatively, if
you see a page of what appears to be gibberish text you’ve reached the actual feed itself.
Simply copy the URL, go back to Google Reader, open the Add Subscription option as
detailed above and paste in the URL, then add the page as normal
Creating your own search engine
There are various different options available to you –
• Rollyo at http://www.rollyo.com
• Yahoo Search Builder at http://builder.search.yahoo.com/m/promo
• Eurekster Swicki at http://www.eurekster.com/
• Google Custom Search Builder at http://google.com/coop/cse/
They all do a similar job in a similar way. Rollyo is perhaps the quickest, so we’ll use
2. Creating the search engine
Register with the resource
Either add in your own email address (which means that you’ll be able to get back to
your search engine if you forget the password) or if you prefer to use a temporary one,
you can get one from http://10minutemail.com/10MinuteMail/index.html
Next you want to create your search engine, so…
Click on ‘Create Searchroll’
Give your searchroll a name
Add in URL addresses of sites that are appropriate – if you can’t think of any check out
their examples, which will pre-populate the box for you. NOTE: You don’t need to add
http://www. – just start from there, so it would be bbc.co.uk or philb.com for example.
Choose a category if you wish, and tags if you wish.
Rollyo will then create your searchroll for you.
Click on your Dashboard to see what searchrolls you have created.
3. Adding the searchroll to your site
Obviously we won’t be doing this step today, but in order to add the searchroll to your
site, click on Tools
Follow the on-screen prompts, copy and paste the code onto your site and you’re done.
4. Using the Google search engine
First of all, visit http://www.google.com/coop/cse/ and choose to create a search engine.
In order to do this you do need to have a Google account, so use yours to log in if you
have one, or follow the on screen prompts to get one (it’s free, other than giving your
soul to Google forever of course).
Simply fill in the boxes as provided by Google – search engine name, description,
keywords, resources to use, and some sites to use.
When you’re happy with what you’ve got, continue to the next stage, try it out in preview
mode and then save it. You can return to it via a URL Google offers you, or you can take
the HTML code – cut and paste it and put it onto your own site.
Setting up a weblog using Blogger
1. The basics
First, visit Blogger at http://www.blogger.com
We’re going to be creating our first ever blog, so we need to click on the ‘Create your
blog now’ arrow.
This then takes you to the basic registration screen.
Put in an email address – don’t worry about this, since you never get any spam from
Blogger – in fact I don’t ever recall getting anything from them, so your email address is
Enter a password – a combination of letters and numbers is a good idea. Then retype it.
The display name is the name that will identify you as the person who wrote a particular
post, so you might choose your first name, or your job title or a nickname. You’ll be able
to change it in the future, so don’t worry about it too much.
Copy the characters for the word verification process – this is to prove that you’re human,
then click on the Acceptance of Terms (having read them!) and continue.
Next, you have to give your blog a little bit of character.
Give it a name to start with. This can be anything you choose, though it may take you a
while to find a name that hasn’t already been taken.
The blog address takes the form of http://myblogname.blogspot.com and is the one that
you’ll use to link to from your website for example, or give to your contacts so that they
can subscribe. So choose something memorable if possible, but don’t be surprised if most
of the options that you try are taken. Blogger will be hosting the blog for you, although
you can always host it on your own site if you prefer, but that’s a slightly more technical
option than we’ll be looking at in this tutorial.
Click continue, and you’ll then be taken to the template screen.
This gives you the opportunity to decide what your weblog is going to look like. There
are a fair number of options – just scroll down until you find one that you’re happy with.
Click in the little circular radio box and then continue.
Woohoo! Major excitement now – you’ve actually got your weblog. Just click on the
‘Start Posting’ option to continue.
2. Writing a weblog entry
You can now start to write an entry into your weblog.
If your screen doesn’t look quite the same, make sure that the ‘Compose’ tab is on top –
the ‘Edit Html’ is less friendly.
The title is obviously the title of that particular entry.
The link option is the URL of the story/website/whatever that you’re writing about. If
you’re just sharing your thoughts, ignore this field.
The options are fairly straightforward, and if you’ve used a word processor you won’t
have any problems with them.
1. You can choose your font and
2. The font size
3. Text can be bold or italic
4. With a choice of colours
5. If you’re linking to a URL, highlight your text, click here, type in the URL.
6. Paragraph justified left, right etc
7. Bullet points, numbered or block
8. Quoted work
9. Spell checker
10. Adding in an image
11. Upload a file
12. Remove formatting
13. Preview what you’ve done.
When you’ve written what you want to say, you can either just scroll down and publish it
there and then, save it as a draft (useful for when you’re annoyed about something –
never, ever blog when you’re cross!) or preview it.
When you’re happy, save the post. You may get a status message telling you that the post
is being published. It’ll look something like the image below, but don’t worry if you
don’t see it.
3. Setting the rest of your weblog up correctly.
There are a number of other options available to you. In the ‘Posting’ section you can
obviously create a post, or you can edit/delete weblog posts as necessary. You can choose
to moderate the comments that people make on your weblog, or disallow people from
making comments at all. Clicking on that link will take you to a dialogue page where you
can choose those options that you think are appropriate. You can always change your
mind later of course and change this as often as you like.
The settings option provides you with a number of other things that you may want to
consider doing with your weblog.
Settings Basic includes:
Title and description of the weblog
Adding your blog to the Blogger listings (unless you want to keep it private, go with yes)
Show quick editing (your call)
Show email posting links – if you want people to be able to email your entry to friends
Global settings – allow the use of the WYSIWYG editor
Delete the blog – probably not!
These options refer to the situation if you’re publishing the weblog on your own site, not
having it hosted by Blogger.
Show – the number of posts on the weblog page
Date format – UK/US etc
Archive format – UK/US etc
Timestamp and zone – obvious
Language – obvious
Encoding – ignore this one and just leave it as it is
Convert line breaks – your choice
Show title/link field – your choice but I’d suggest that you show both
Float alignment – ignore
Template option – ignore
If you allow comments on your weblog I would strongly suggest that you ensure that they
are moderated, so that you don’t end up getting a lot of spam.
Blogger can automatically archive all your postings for you. Since they’re hosting the
space it’s a sensible option.
This will create an RSS feed for your weblog which means that the data can be
manipulated and made available in other formats.
You can email blog entries to Blogger via the secret email address you set up. You can
also be informed via email when entries are added, which may be useful if you are not the
This is an option that allows you to add new members to the blog who can also post.
The template option allows you to change the look and feel of the weblog, and to add a
search box. Unless you’re confident at editing code you should leave this alone, or only
use if you are sure of the instructions that you’re following.
This allows you to add Google AdSense adverts to the blog to make you a bit of cash.
Allows you to change the general template that you’re using.
This allows you to edit the archive, but again, unless you know exactly what you’re
doing, it’s best to leave this alone.
4. The dashboard
The dashboard option is up in the top right hand corner of the screen. This allows you to
add/change/edit your personal profile. You can also use this section if you have more
weblogs to manage.
Using Zimbio to create websites
1. Visit Zimbio at http://www.zimbio.com/ and either login or register. Zimbio is a site
that you can use to create content on the web that is shared with other people. This can
either be public or private. Nothing is stored on your own system, so if you’re being
blocked at work from producing content, this is a good way around that situation.
2. You’ll end up with something a little like the following – although since I have already
created a lot of ‘wikizines’ I’ve got a fair list! Simply click on ‘Create a Wikizine’
3. Follow the on-screen instructions. It does help to have some sort of idea of what type
of Wikizine you’d like to create before you start however. So – got a favorite hobby?
How about a fan site for your favourite football team (extra points given if it’s Everton,
don’t expect help if you create one for Man Utd), or perhaps something that’s work
related? Or a fan site for an author, singer, band, book, film, or even a family site that you
can share with loved ones!
4. Once you have added in everything that you need, you can then create the Wikizine.
Next comes the fun part of adding content. You can choose to add links to other sites,
news feeds, video links, blog searching – all automatically – just choose the terms you
want to search on. Click on the menu top right:
5. This then brings up the following menu, with the rest of the screen blanked out.
Choose the option that you want and click on it.
Here’s one for adding a link:
6. When you’ve added what you want, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t automatically
appear on the page. Simply go back to the menu and this time click on ‘Edit layout’. This
will then bring up a list of all the sections that you have added, and you simply click and
drag them to where you want them to go, as you can see here:
7. Explore and play around! If you want to see an example there are plenty you can
search for. The one that is the companion site for the book is at: http://www.zimbio.com/
Using del.icio.us as a bookmarking service
1. You can use del.icio.us (hereafter called Delicious to save my full stop key excess use)
to store URLs and to tag and comment them. This is different to Furl, in that Delicious
works much more along the line of a traditional bookmarking system, though once again,
the details of what you bookmark are stored on their system, rather than your own. You
can visit Delicious via http://www.delicious.com or http://del.icio.us/
2. You need to register to use the service and once again I would recommend adding the
Delicious browser icons to your browser bar – they’ll look like this:
(The two on the right – the first takes you to your collection of bookmarks, and the
second will add a bookmark to your collection.) If you’re using Internet Explorer they
will look like this:
The installation is easy, as you’ll be prompted to do so while you’re setting your account
up. (Please note that you shouldn’t add these to a training machine if you’re doing this on
a course, since the buttons are associated with your own account!)
3. When you’re ready to add a bookmark to Delicious, simply click on the ‘tag’ icon,
which will then pull up a dialogue box for you similar to this one:
As you’ll see, the URL and a title are already included for you. You can add any notes
that you want, perhaps a clipping from the page for example. Then you add any tags –
these are simply keywords that help you describe and recall the bookmarked page in the
future. Delicious will suggest tags for you based on the content of the page, previous tags
you have used, and any tags that others have used to tag this page before you.
4. You can then search for bookmarked pages in the future using the search option:
Delicious will then return matches for the search that you’ve run.
5. Delicious provides a lot of functionality and you can of course share your bookmarks
with other people either in the form of an RSS feed for example, or you can put a feed
onto a webpage.
Creating a wiki using PB Works
1. Visit the website at http://www.pbworks.com/ and click on the ‘get started’ option in
the right hand pane.
This will give you a chance to view the different types of wiki that you can produce –
educational, law, general, personal and so on. When you’ve explored, click on one of the
‘Try it now’ options. This leads to another screen with pricing plans – you’ll obviously
want the basic/free version to start with.
Choose an address for your wiki. If the address is taken it will tell you. Decide if the wiki
is for individuals, education or business. (It doesn’t really matter that much at this stage
since you’re just exploring.) Next choose company type and workspace purpose as you
feel appropriate. Finally create an account if you haven’t got one already. Finally, check
your email account for a validation/confirmation email.
You’ll next get to choose security settings – who can view it, who can edit it. Choose
your options as appropriate, and then click to go to your workspace.
Clicking on ‘Edit Page’ brings up a copy of the text of the page with editing buttons, just
like a word processor.
As you’ll see, you can bold, underline, italic, bullet point and so on. You can also add in
links, images and so on. Feel free to edit the home page if you wish to. You can add new
pages by either choosing a default template from the ‘Insert links’ option, or simply type
some text, highlight it and choose the link option from the menu.
Remember to save your work as you continue! (Save option bottom left).
You can add in more information in the form of plugins. You can also embed video files,
either ones that you have uploaded or that you’ve got via YouTube. It’s also possible to
add files that you’ve uploaded, although you’ll need to download them before you can
actively use them – you can’t edit online.
Using Twitter as a microblogging tool
What is Twitter?
It’s a tool at http://www.twitter.com that allows you to microblog – broadcast content of
140 characters or less. You can subscribe to other people’s tweets, publish your own onto
your weblog, search Twitter to see what people are talking about, keep up to date and so
Go to https://twitter.com/signup and you’ll need to choose a signup name, which will
then also become your personalized URL at http://www.twitter.com/username
Providing Twitter with your email details allows it to check to see if any of your contacts
are already signed up. You don’t have to do this however, if you prefer not to.
You’ll then go to the Twitter screen:
And you can simply type in what you’re doing. This doesn’t do much as this stage
because you’re basically just talking to yourself. So really what you need to do is find
some friends that you can follow, and who can follow you.
At the top of the screen you’ll see:
In the search box, type Phil Bradley and this should bring up my profile, with a picture of
me, just to be certain. To the right there’s a ‘follow’ option, and you can click on that to
follow anything that I twitter about. (You can always drop me later if you want to!)
Under the search results box there’s also an option to email friends to see if they want to
If you want to follow a few more people, search for BBC and follow a newsfeed; they
have lots. Or @DowningStreet to follow the Prime Minister.
When you want to send a message to a specific person start with d username and then
your message. It will be sent directly to their email box. If you’re happy to chat rather
more publicly, just include @username in the body of your message, and it’ll be brought
more to their attention.
You can also search for content on Twitter (without registering for the service) at
http://search.twitter.com/ to see what people are talking about, and this may give you
more people to follow.
If you want some ideas for how librarians can use Twitter try http://tinyurl.com/2ljtmr
If you want some applications you can use, try http://twitterapps.co.uk/
Using Wallwisher to share content
Visit Wallwisher at http://www.wallwisher.com/
Create an account or login.
Choose to create a new wall.
Choose the various elements as preferred to create your wall and make it look how you
want it. When you have created your wall, double click anywhere on it to add content:
Please try this out using my Wall, and add some content to it http://www.wallwisher.com/
Creating an online survey
Visit SurveyMonkey at http://www.surveymonkey.com and register. (No online
validation is required – just go in and use it!) Follow the onscreen instructions:
Enter a title, then create the survey.
Choose your first question, and then question type.
Add in your question and possible answers, depending on the question type that you have
chosen. Feel free to explore the different types of question before deciding on your type.
Ask some questions, prepare some answers. When satisfied, click the Preview survey
(top right) and make sure that it’s what you’re expecting. Next, click on the ‘collect
responses’ tab to choose the way in which people can access the questions.
You can then choose if you wish to email the survey to people, or to link to the survey.
As a quick tip, click on the link, go to the question page and cut and paste the URL. Then
visit http://www.tinyurl.com and create a short link to make things more manageable.
The link for my Web 2.0 questionnaire is at http://tinyurl.com/ko4t6f Please do feel free
to visit it and add your own responses – it’s entirely anonymous, so do be honest!
Creating a Google Maps mashup
Go to Google maps at http://maps.google.co.uk/ and login if you have a Google account.
If not, you’ll need to create one. Click on ‘My Maps’ (top left)
Then click on ‘Create new map’ and give it a title and description.
Next, move around the map and use the tools to add places, draw lines, shapes etc.
Add a place with the pin option and then add in details about it using the dialogue box:
You can add in an image by clicking on Rich Text. Find an image in Flickr that you can
use (Advanced Search using Creative Commons), click on all sizes, copy the URL. Click
on the Add image option and paste it in.
When you’ve finished editing, click on Done (left hand menu off the map) and you’ll
have your map saved.
You can then invite others to Collaborate and/or click on the menu option Link to embed
the map on another webpage, site or blog.
Other interesting applications
This is a resource that allows you to quickly share web space with other people, or just to
store content for yourself. It’s great when you’re looking to cut and paste content
between machines or people. Simply go to http://cl1p.net/ and follow the instructions, or
just jump right in at http://cl1p.net/textyouaddhere to immediately create your own. You
can just use the page, or you can register and own the page.
Create your own chatroom in seconds with http://www.chatmaker.net/ Go to the site, fill
in the section where you decide on the name and you’ve created a chat room. It’s very
basic, but it does the job.