What I mean is that I don’t have enough followers on Twitter for each of them to realise that I can’t keep up with them all. At the time of writing this post, I’ve 3,615 Twitter followers – 3,465 more than Dunbar’s number. In other words, people expect me to be able to remember my conversations with them when I can’t even remember who they are.
This is potentially embarrassing within the increasingly business-focused world I’m operating. I need a quick way to find out if I’ve spoken/tweeted/emailed/shared a doc with someone very quickly.
Enter Greplin. When I read about it on TechCrunch yesterday, it was a bit of a eureka moment:
It’s a personal search engine for all that data you keep locked away in the cloud. If you’ve used desktop search like spotlight, you’ll get Greplin right away. It’s like spotlight for your cloud data.
After you use it for the first time you’ll understand that you’ll never not use it again. And there are nice touches like showing real time results as you type. And Greplin only uses OAuth and other APIs for authorization, so they never see your third party site credentials.
I’ve signed up and added the services (GMail, Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Google Calendar, Google Docs) that I want Greplin to index. If it’s as good as it look in the video below, I may just drop the $45/year required to ‘go Pro’ and unlock indexing of Evernote and email attachments…
I have unlimited love for Google Scholar, I really do. It’s the one tool that I really wouldn’t be without for academic purposes these days; I really wish it had been around when I was doing my BA in Philosophy and MA in Modern History. Still, I’m not grumbling – it’s around for my Ed.D. research! 🙂
There’s two really powerful things you can do with Google Scholar. The first, which I’ve mentioned to many people many times before, is click on the ‘Cited by…’ link underneath search results. This helps you find seminal papers fast.
The second is the subject of this post – integrating your access to electronic journals with Google Scholar. I’m fortunate in having two methods now – through Durham University because of my Ed.D. research and now through Northumbria University, hosts of JISC infoNet (for whom I now work).
Enter the name of your university/institution in the ‘Library Links’ box and click the button ‘Find Library’.
When Google Scholar comes up with some suggestions, click the ones that are appropriate. Then click the ‘Save Preferences’ button.
Search using Google Scholar as usual. Links to PDFs, etc. will appear to the right. Click on them and then login using your university/institution password. You will be directed straight to the PDF without having to login to various repositories.
Searching for the name of your subject plus the word ‘forum’ in a search engine should bring up some promising links. Alternatively, try the excellent Shambles.net. Links galore! 🙂
What about if you want do something original or obscure, though? That’s when finding websites that previous visitors have marked as especially useful would help you on your quest. Enter social bookmarking services. There are many of these, but the two main ones are Delicious and Diigo. The former has been discussed on elearnr before, but in a slightly different context.
The idea behind social bookmarking sites is that instead of saving your ‘favourites’ or ‘bookmarks’ in the web browser of one computer, you store them in an account online. You can then ‘tag’ these with keywords and make them visible for others to see. These sites then, as you can imagine, become very useful as hotbeds of links to fantastically useful websites.
Have a go right now. Head over to Delicious and Diigo and type in the name of your subject followed by resources. Click to enlarge the images below which show the results I obtained when entering history resources!
The ultimate targeted resource and lesson idea finder
All of the above are great ways of using the power of communities to help you find something, but what about if you need something very, very specific – and fast? Enter Twitter.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social network. It’s like text messaging meets Facebook in that you have 140-characters to send a message. Educators worldwide use it en masse to share good practice, ask questions and find fast answers. A future E-Learning Staff Session and elearnr blog post will tell you all you need to get you signed up and interacting. 🙂