Archive for the ‘Web 2.0 & all that’ Category

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Personal brand. I hate to say it, but it’s important

In Continuing Education,social networking,Uncategorized,Web 2.0 & all that on September 21, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve always disliked the term “personal branding”; it sounds, well, very impersonal, really. Makes me think of the Prisoner: “I am not a number, I am a free man” and all that kind of nonsense.  Heavens, people have charisma, personality, charm…, not branding! No, I’d decided, nothing to do with me, thanks.

But then I read somewhere, and I really can’t remember where (isn’t that terribly rude, not to link to your sources? Oh well) that it’s useful to think of your brand not in terms of what cut of suit you like to wear, or scent you care to sport, but rather as what comes up when someone puts your name into Google (I should point out here that “other search engines are available”). Now I’m sorry to say that if you put my name into Google I don’t even make it onto the front page of results. Oh dear. I do though have a couple of entries in results 11 to 20. My Linked in profile comes up, which I’m quite chuffed about as I only put it in recently, as does my Bazian (my company) bio. If you put in me + health or me + bazian then you get more hits about me (as opposed to Alan Lovell the actor, or the CEO of Jarvis etc), and I have to admit that I’m relieved that my Twitter page rarely pops up, as that’s pretty pathetic really (I should either start tweeting properly, lock it, or delete it).

But it has made me think. If at work or indeed in my personal life I come across a new person that I might have some interest in, the first thing I do is Google them. And I think nowadays we all do this – it’s second nature. While it may be argued by some that we don’t really have much control over what comes up about us in Google (or Ask, Bing, Yahoo etc) I think that on the contrary we do – we can do search engine optimization of our own pages, e.g. on Linked In or perhaps on our institution’s site, or we can start our own blog or a static webpage with a personal/professional statement as necessary. We might not like it, but for many people in our professional life their first contact with us will be through a computer screen, and not in real life; and as we all know, first impressions count.

So I still might not like the term “personal brand”, but I do think we have to acknowledge that our “online” self is important, both personally and, particularly, professionally. My online self is not the same as me, therefore terms such as “charisma” or “personality” won’t cut the mustard. For example, next time I go for a job, the interviewers are bound to Google me. I need to take control of the information they’ll find about me. You’ll need to do the same.

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The death of bloglines

In Eresources,How to work better,Web 2.0 & all that on September 16, 2010 by africker Tagged: , , , ,

My much loved bloglines account has got to go.  After 6 plus years of faithful service (an eternity in web terms) Ask have seen fit to kill it off

Apparently no one reads RSS anymore (stats for Google Reader use suggest something different) – all part of the death of the blog meme (see also, Death of the blog comment and so on).  All the cool kids are on twitter.  So why am I so annoyed?  Bloglines didn’t ever develop much (I tried the major revision they released and soon retreated to the basic old version) but it did a pretty good job of the task in hand.  Reading was quick and I saved the things I either couldn’t follow up immediately or wanted to hang on to.  I never noticed the problems others alleged with outages and the Bloglines Plumber.

So what?  Just move to Google Reader like most people have already. Problem is I already have a Google Reader account used for a Current Awareness Service. I can have two Google Accounts logged in at once but it gets all tangled on itself quite frequently.   Thus far I don’t particularly like Google Reader as a user experience either.

Oh and of course I work mostly in IE6 land.  So everytime I go into Google Reader it suggests I need to upgrade my software.  And Google are definitely starting to get more aggressive not even allowing IE6 folk to use some of their products (hurrah no Google Instant for me!) so I may be out on my ear in the not too distant future. 

Others have said it but once more with feeling – thanks Ask – thanks a lot.

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(the) health informaticist now on Twitter

In Blogging on Blogging,social networking,Web 2.0 & all that on August 25, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: ,

Yes, we’re really motoring now and part of the social revolution. (the) health informaticist has joined Twitter and hopefully, with a little bit of luck, this story will automatically get posted to our new page – I’m just so looking forward to clicking “publish” to find out if it works or not. Do please follow us. No really, please…

*update 30 secs later*

It worked!

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Clinical queries & custom filters in PubMed

In Evidence-Based Medicine,How to work better,Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on July 7, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , ,

PubMed has a new clinical queries page, apparently. To be honest I used the old one so infrequently that it could have changed six months ago and I never would have noticed. I tend to use PubMed for quick and not so dirty searches of the literature but if I’m doing a “real search” I use Ovid because of its slight value-add functionality plus it has our company’s access to Embase. Perhaps because of this access to Ovid I’ve never really paid all that much attention to the development of PubMed which, particularly over the last six months or so, seems to be whizzing ahead.

Anyway, the clinical queries page is quite fun. You put in your term and get results for “clinical study categories”, “systematic reviews” (not really so much “systematic reviews”, more “aggregate research” or “tertiary research” or similar), and “medical genetics”; you can then click “see all” for, well, seeing all, and there are drop down menus for whether you want therapy or etiology etc, and broad or narrow filters. It’s easiest just to play with it. I like the fact that at the bottom of each list if you click the word “filter” it will show you the actual search string being used to filter your results (for therapy or etiology, broad or narrow etc) and the sensitivity/specificity scores of  said filters (precision would be helpful too) along with the reference to the original paper in which the filters were based. All nice and transparent, and helpful if you wish to translate e.g. the prognosis filter to use in another database.

Of course though many of us want to add our own favourite filters. I always had a rough idea you could do this but had never bothered to really look into it, but it’s an absolute breeze. Fortunately I don’t have to describe how to add your own filters as Laika has already done such a good job of it (with screenshots and everything), and you can now add up to 15 of your own favourite search strings. Not sure what to add? Your friends at CRD/InterTASC will help you out. Once you get started you’ll  be having such a whale of a time that you’ll be looking for excuses to do quick and, as mentioned before, not so very dirty searches in PubMed for all and sundry – dragging people in from the corridor – that sort of stuff. I’m sure you’ve been doing this for years, but it’s all new to me.

I’m really beginning to like PubMed. A big thank you to the US taxpayer.

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Group blogs – what is your experience?

In Blogging on Blogging,Conferences,Web 2.0 & all that on June 11, 2010 by africker Tagged:

Two tHI bloggers are going to be speaking about the group blog experience at HLG Conference 2010.  Our paper is “The Health Informaticist: collaborative blogging for health, fun and, erm, profit” (PDF).  As part of this paper we plan to talk about what makes a group blog different and highlight some good examples / practice.

Reflecting the fact that professional learning extends beyond the Health Informatics domain  we are interested in all great group blogs.

A few group blogs that we read include:

inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe really shows what a group blog can do with collaborative posts and interesting varied view points.  The latest post is a highly pertinent one to current debates (ahem cilipfuture ahem) on the real work of librarianship

TechCrunch and TechCrunchEurope both written by lots of different people, frequently updated and with a good mixture of new developments, product reviews and more in depth debate. Not very health informatics but definitely web 2.0 

Its All Good A blog from five OCLC staff about all things present and future that impact libraries and library users.  A bit of everything library related.

PubMed Search Strategies A highly specialised use of the group blog format.  Brilliant sharing tool for no cost but a little time.

BoingBoing Regular items from Cory Doctorow (and others) on copyright / IP and plenty of library love mixed in with all manner of interesting stuff from the web and beyond.  Once got me summoned to my managers office to explain what I was doing looking at website with the url boingboing.net – answer trying to read an item on censorship only to find it blocked by websense.

So over to you… Do you group blog?  Which ones do you read?  What makes a great group blog?  And have you ever had a disaster through participating in one?

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Transliteracy – new word, same old web 2.0?

In Blogging on Blogging,Information industry,Knowledge Management,Professional Organisations,social networking,Web 2.0 & all that on June 2, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , ,

I went to a really interesting LIKE (London Information and Knowledge Exchange) meeting last week about transliteracy. What is transliteracy? I’ve blogged at LIKE so take a peek to find out! They use Posterous to post via email, very intriguing…

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Similar sites and related articles

In search engines,Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on March 29, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , ,

I like “similar sites/related articles” or whatever it might be called from one site to the next – in Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, Scirus etc – as I find it a useful way to develop and “flesh-out” a search. I was therefore happy to hear about similarsitesearch.com. It does what you would expect it to do. You tell it the web address of the site you’re interested in, click the relevant button, and it gives you a list of similar sites; should you like you can install the Firefox extension. The “don’t get it confused with similarsitesearch.com” website Similarsites.com does something very similar, but looks nicer; should you like you can install the Chrome extension. (I’m writing this in Chrome as we speak, though I do like the themes in the new Firefox).

The trouble is, and it’s a shame to report it, but Google’s similar sites feature seems to give better results. Similarsites.com and similarsitesearch.com can get rather surreal at times. Mind you, if you like living on the edge this could be considered an advantage; you never know where you might end up.

It would be nice if Bing could try their hand at this, now that they’re hoping to be taken seriously.

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Google buzz and the iPad

In Information industry,Web 2.0 & all that on February 15, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , , ,

A sort of twitter shared Google buzz was launched this week, I certainly noted it had started without my input with someone eagerly waiting to follow my updates. Oh well, nothing is free as an interesting documentary on the consequences of not paying for web services The cost of free explored. The cost of gmail is that when you email or search for anything this data is fed into marketing and you are targeted according to this information is all well and good if it’s stuff that’s useful but it delved into the case of a woman whose identity was figured out by looking at the searches she did which included her friends’ health problems so the old nugget of freedom v privacy.

The iPad may make ebooks interesting but this has knock on effects for the print industry. Paul Carr on TechCrunch says we’re back to the days of the Net Book Agreement as publishers struggle to scrape profit from something that more and more is becoming like the music industry.

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Twitter, Tweetdeck and the attraction of cute apps

In Blogging on Blogging,social networking,Web 2.0 & all that on January 4, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

So I’ve decided to try twitting, in tweeter. I’ve not got anything to say and will have to decide at some point what I want to get out of tweeting. I mean, is it a way of allowing far off friends to keep a handle on what I’m doing (do they care), should it have a professional slant and try and get followers in the library world, or should I just try and entertain by offering wry, sidelong glances at the little follies of being a commuter in London. Not that I’ve necessarily the talent to do any of these things, but one needs a strategy however talented or talentless one is, doesn’t one? Still, my twitter user name is, rather originally I think, “alanlovell”: http://twitter.com/alanlovell.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve downloaded this smashing little app called TweetDeck. I suspect everyone knows about it, but in case you don’t it’s a nice little downloadable free program with a cute user interface that allows you to login, read, post etc tweets, in a much more manageable way than if you were doing it online via the Twitter website. It also allows you to do the same thing with Facebook. I’ve not liked logging into Facebook now for a long time, just because the whole thing seems messy and unsettling to the finer me. But now I can keep up with the singularly useless but occasionally amusing things a select group of my friends are getting up to; it’s the genuine social networking possibilities of Facebook without having to log and navigate through the flippin’ thing.

So that’s TweetDeck for you, and from looking around I see there are other cute apps out there for you if you’re a tweeter, such as Seesmic, Twittelator etc – for Windows, Macs, iPhones etc etc – and I do wonder, is it the cute apps that are the real attraction of Twitter? Maybe I’m just following the wrong people? Who should I be following, by the way? Any must reads in the information world? At the moment I’m following a few friends, some cricketers and cricket commentators, and the obvious ones such as David Mitchell, Stephen Fry, Jimmy Carr etc. I tried the Guardian for a while but just got bored with being sent links after links after links. I want to filter the information that gets to me, not just find another route through which I can get drowned by it.

Well, anyway, happy new 2010 all. I’ll try and blog a bit more this year (been a very poor few months – work has, honestly, been very busy…).

p.s. is there a way we can set up an ‘auto-updated’ (the) health informaticist twitter account one wonders? Hmm?

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Usefulness of social networking for scientists: greatly exaggerated?

In Web 2.0 & all that on November 4, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

A study of research patterns in life scientists found that (duh) they all have different patterns of accessing information. Of course we knew this, or at least suspected it, but I can’t help but be pleased that the British Library found space for this news on its Press Room page.  It shores up the notion that libraries and ‘resource centres’ need to be flexible with different users.

“Researchers use informal and trusted sources of advice from colleagues, rather than institutional service teams, to help identify information sources.” Yes they do-another reason why perhaps an information professional must inject themselves into the teams with which they work, rather than sideline themselves. Depending on how an organisation is set up, this can be quite natural and easy (if one’s desk is ‘integrated’ into the team area, for example, as proximity tends to predict positive regard) or difficult, if the information team is isolated or in a ‘bricks and mortar’ library away from the clients.

I thought it interesting that the report highlighted that social networking tools (blogs, podcasts, social bookmarking, etc) had not proven terribly appealing to life scientists.  The full report elaborates that, firstly, “there is not the critical mass of individuals using such services to make it worthwhile” to use them to “enhance research”. Secondly, and I almost choked while reading this, “the time required in order to become a proficient user is prohibitive.” Don’t give me that. These are highly trained people who, as it says in the next sentence, may use “grid technologies” and “an intricate array of analytical tools” in their day to day work.

What do you think about the ‘not enough time’ to learn simple, user friendly web-based software argument?

I really think that the report should have written: “the scientists can’t be bothered with this social networking stuff because of general complacency and then notion that Twitter and the like will only be around for a few years before we get something new, so, again, why bother?”

Nor is this attitude unique to the life sciences. I know someone very influential, at a Canadian charity, who is crying out to use Twitter for fundraising and marketing. But she is sadly also ‘too busy’.

In other news, the “Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has acknowledged that social media has contributed significantly to the income it has raised for its current appeal. In the first week of the DEC’s appeal for Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, over £3 million was donated,” mainly via the BBC website, Twitter and Facebook.

A spokesperson from the DEC said “the biggest risk we faced was not that we might make a mistake [with using Twitter], it was that we would miss a chance to help save more lives.”

Check out #casestudieslife on Twitter to contribute to the discussion about how researchers use and access information (or not!).