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Archive for the tag “collaboration”

LibGuides – Enterprise 2.0 for the Library

Currently I am completing a Request for Proposal document outlining a web 2.0 implementation plan for the QUT Library. After investigating the Library’s current situation and identifying the tools they are currently offering their clients, I have come across one in particular which I am going to discuss in this post. This tool is known as LibGuides.

LibGuides is a software package developed by Springshare, a company who has made it their goal “to develop practical web 2.0 applications built specifically for libraries and educational institutions,” (Springshare, 2009). LibGuides is a “web 2.0 content management and library knowledge sharing system” that can be used to create attractive, multimedia rich web pages to share resources, content and knowledge collaboratively amongst users. LibGuides puts the power of content creation in Librarian’s hands. It provides a flexible and easy to use interface from which Librarians can create customised pages specific to the content they wish to display.

Below is a fairly long and unintersting video about the uses and benefits of LibGuides… but if you don’t feel like watching it all (Iwon’t blame you) I’ll give you the low down of how LibGuides works, what it offers and the benefits it provides.

How does it work?
The benefit of LibGuides comes from the ability for Librarians to customise the look and feel of the website and add content modules to the page similar to MySpace’s Profile 2.0 system. Dragging and dropping modules onto the page is simple and these modules range from plaintext modules to fully-fledged RSS modules, multimedia modules, Delicious tag cloud modules and so on. These modules or widgets depending on what you prefer, can be further customised to enable commenting, polls and so on to enable participation from its users.

What does it offer?
LibGuides offers Librarians with an unlimited potential to create meaningful, attractive and useful content for their clients. With the ability to drop LibGuide modules onto the page, multimedia, tag clouds, polls, commenting systems, social media integration and sharing are all at the finger tips of the Librarian without the need for profound technical knowledge.

What are the benefits of LibGuides?

  • Integrating and embracing Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter, syndication in the form of RSS feeds, social media sites such as Facebook, wikis and blogs has never been easier and with thousands of pre-made templates designing is even simpler.
  • Creating communities, sharing resources, monitoring usage and catalysing learning is much easier.
  • Receiving user opinions and running polls or questionnaires is as simple as dropping a module onto the page and customising a few fields. But for advanced users, customisation is powerful and can be used to adjust the appearance, look, behaviour and content of a module.

All in all I believe LibGuides is a huge step in the right direction for Libraries wanting to embrace web 2.0 concepts. It offers more flexibility and control in areas such as subject guides, learning portals and so forth allowing content to be customised and encouraging, enhancing and increasing collaboration and sharing in ways that Web 2.0 can only offer. You can try out LibGuides in use at the QUT Library’s subject guides: http://libguides.library.qut.edu.au/
Or if you are looking for more information on LibGuides you can visit their website at: http://www.springshare.com/libguides/index.html

Wikis in the Enterprise

What is a wiki?

Wikis were first introduced in WikiWikiWeb a website designed by Ward Cunningham in 1995. A wiki is the term given to an online document that many people can collaborate on. That is, they can edit, update, delete, add pages/links, change content and so on to wiki pages. The most common and well known wiki is: Wikipedia.

What is an Enterprise wiki?

Infoworld declared 2004 as the Year of the enterprise Wiki, as wikis began to emerge in businesses across the globe. Bascially, a wiki that is used for conducting work in an enterprise is an Enterprise wiki.

What is so great about wikis?

  • Collaboration. Participation. Harnessing collective intelligence (Tim O’Reilly)
  • Wikis provide users with simple and easy to use methods of content creation via a wiki markup language.
  • Linking -> An important part of the SLATES paradigm in Andrew McAfee’s blog, wikis make linking to other wiki pages easy by stripping it down to the bare essentials in the Wiki markup language. Provides an easy ability to forge deep interconnections between data sources.
  • Edits and history of the document is tracked so you can return to previous versions and look at differences between versions.
  • User access control: Wikis can have the power to allow and deny users. Users who are not registered can be disallowed the ability to edit. Registered users will have their username fixed to edits so that these changes can be tracked to particular users.
  • Modern wikis can integrate with other tools such as e-mail, RSS and blogs.

Weaknesses of wikis?

  • Giving many users access relies on their ability to contribute effectively and advantageously.
  • Spamming can be possible when masses of users can contribute anonymously.
  • Control is sacrificed for empowerment, that is managers lose control while users take/get control.

Businesses using wikis?

  • Disney:
    Disney’s Digital Media faction started using a wiki when its team decided they needed a tool that matched their department. They needed speed and collaboration, so they create an internal website without consulting their boss. They just did it. The project was not seen as defiance of their management but rather a tool to enhance their performance and better use the resources of their 150-strong team. Reader here – Online version of the magazine article.
  • Dell:
    Socialtext co-founder discusses how their product helped Dell:

    “The second use case is a participatory knowledge base. So at Dell, for instance, we did a knowledge base for their call center. Their call center handles exceptions. That’s what they do all day long. Answer a call, hear the problem, look for an answer, and then they don’t have the information. Now, [with a wiki], they tap the informal network that exists inside the call center and document the solution. 99 percent of the pages created [on the wiki] and tagged allow the call center to go from 20 clicks to find information to four, substantially decreasing search costs and decreasing the average call time by 10 to 20 percent.” (Source: Discussing the role of enterprise wikis).

  • Yahoo:
  • “…we use TWiki internally to manage documentation and project planning for our products. Our development team includes hundreds of people in various locations all over the world, so web collaboration is VERY important to us. TWiki has changed the way we run meetings, plan releases, document our product and generally communicate with each other. We’re great fans of your work!” (Source: The Yahoo Twiki success page).

  • Others:
    See the Twiki (Wiki product provider) customer list with quotes from users of the software. Customers include: Nokia, Yahoo!, Oracle, Trend Micro, Sony, United States Coast Guard, Allergan, etc.

Increase your productivity with web 2.0

The rise of web 2.0 is perhaps more famous for its social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but underneath the hype of social media websites there are a myriad of tools made simply to make our lives easier. This blog post is designed to give you guys some links to great web 2.0 tools to increase your productivity in everyday life.

Collaboration is at the very heart of web 2.0 and as such these tools can bring a new meaning to sharing and collaboration. Almost every tool in this blog post gives users the ability to share their findings with the world. The network effect is a term used to describe the added value a user gives to an application. The greater the number of users of an application the greater value that application will have for its users.

Tools for the workplace or study environment

  • Take Google Docs for instance. Signing up allows you to create and share online documents and invite people to view or edit them AT THE SAME TIME as you are. Check out the video here.
  • Need to create a mind map for an upcoming project? Why not do it online at Thinkature.com. This site makes mind mapping easy, and editable. Plus you can share it with co-workers to work on collaboratively.
  • Many people find it hard to update and manage their personal and work calendars. Get rid of the old paperback calendar and upgrade to Google Calendar. This tool allows you to manage your calendar online from any computer or internet-capable mobile device so you can take it wherever you go. It also allows you share your schedule with family or co-workers. And if you really don’t have time to check the calendar, why not let it remind you via an email or sms reminder?
  • Need a job? Or looking to increase your network to increase job opportunities? Why not check out LinkedIn.com, the tool that lets you link with networks of people and collaborate on business ideas or share your expertise.

Tools for more personal use

  • Bookmarking used to be a personal, home computer sort of thing. But with sites like delicious, you can take your bookmarks with you anywhere. Furthermore, delicious organises and allows you to share these bookmarks with the world so everyone can have the best links to the best information.
  • YouTube.com is an extremely popular website for viewing videos. Anything you’ ever need is one there, and if its not, upload a video yourself. YouTube is also a hugely popular advertising tool for viral ads, company ads or personal advertising.
  • Amazon.com lets you find books for personal or study use in their huge range of products. Its your one-stop-shop for books, DVDs and CDs.
  • Flickr.com – Upload your pictures for friends and the world to view. Customise the  privacy settings and invite friends to view your pictures all for free.

I hope you have found many of these links useful for increasing your productivity in the workplace or at home.

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