Tag Archives: web 2.0

weird twitter projects and vuvuzelas

Of the numerous weird yet useful yet interesting things I’ve been exploring on Twitter is the potential for collaborative projects/thinking.  Especially in the realm of libraries/books, there seems to be ample innovation for imaginative brainstorming.  Here are two projects that I’ve come across.

Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer), extraordinary author of le nouveau weird, has come up with an interesting project based on the World Cup.  His World Cup of Fiction is a chance to display your hysteria for the tournament by reviewing works from those countries that are participating.  So far I’ve chosen Brasil’s Rubem Fonseca and his work The Taker and Other Stories, which certainly made an impression.  Hopefully I’ll make another submission soon enough.  At any rate, it’s a good way to generate more interest in what we consider ‘the foreign’ and reading in general.

Another interesting project is Lee Barnett’s Fast Fiction Challenge.  Budgie (@budgie) asks his troupe of followers for a title, consisting of a maximum of four words, and if he’s keen on your idea he’ll compose a 200 word virtual scribble of literary frenzy. Anything to keep the creative juices flowing.  See, it’s not just a virtual vuvuzela, though there are sites for that.


I’ve finally been sucked into the supermassive vortex of Twitter.  I suppose it was inevitable, but I’ve actually become intrigued by its potential, rather than simply skeptical and fearsome of the thing.  There’s a bit of a learning curve in terms of familiarizing oneself with what replies actually are, retweets, hash tags and the like, but it is an enchanting RSS type of device.

One reason I see for its popularity is how personal it can make the user feel.  Receiving updates to your device directly from types like Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) or Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) or whomever else you follow is beyond cool, almost as if the messages were sent with you in mind (which often can be).

Downsides can include the uberspam if you follow too many users and the certain time suck if you continually carry and monitor your device.  The main realization I’m getting is that it’s useful if you have specific people you’d like follow, but takes more effort to build a following with a consistent stream of updates.

Tweet Poetry

Web 2.0 in its highest form.  Egads.



knowledge is good

The University of Nottingham is definitely on to something.  What with their wildly popular and scientastic Periodic Table of Videos, it looks as if they’ve unveiled a new venture that’s rampaging through the Interweaves.  It’s called Sixty Symbols, “a channel devoted to those funny letters and squiggles used by physicists and astronomers.”

As evidenced by the rejuvenated popularity of Star Trek, I think people’s minds are melding to the idea that the 21st century is more about learning than it is about greed. Huzzah.


Egads…it looks like the web 2.0 / social networking movement is really picking up steam in academia.  There seems to be a new online lecture-cast platform that’s unveiled every week.  Inevitably it’s an encouraging movement, as colleges and universities are realizing they have the ability to capture lightning in a bottle as it strikes on campus.  Librarians are cashing in as well, as increasingly we are the ones who are doing the recording, organizing and disseminating of such content.

The movement toward increased lecture-cast only makes perfect sense.  A special event happens on campus, and with the permission to record and eventually post said lecture, an institution not only contributes to the overall body of knowledge, but also promotes itself and faculty in the process.

Notable platforms

  • YouTube – EDU – With brilliant examples like the periodic table of videos, more and more schools are uploading content, forcing YouTube to organize a separate space for the professional geeks.
  • FORA.tv – Focuses more on the prestigious speakers than the institutions. Important indeed.
  • Academic Earth – currently featuring lectures from Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.
  • iTunes U – Virtual beheamoth that it is, iTunes U is a subset of the iTunes Store contaning massive amounts of lectures, supplementary course info, and stuff of a general academic nature.  Typically free, of course.

infomaniacs hang out @ FORA.tv

fora A colleague just passed along a link concerning FORA.tv, and I must admit it looks exceedingly captivating.  Like academia.edu, FORA.tv is another piece of the academic’s puzzle for marketing ideas by and for those in the academic world, or rather anyone who wants to learn for learning’s sake.   What is FORA.tv all about?

FORA.tv helps intelligent, engaged audiences get smart. Our users find, enjoy, and share videos about the people, issues, and ideas changing the world.

We gather the web’s largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates going on all the time at the world’s top universities, think tanks and conferences. We present this provocative, big-idea content for anyone to watch, interact with, and share –when, where, and how they want.

I’m not sure, but it looks as if FORA.tv gathers its content from institutional organizations themselves rather than indexing from sites like YouTube or Google video, etc.; still a little uncertain on this one. Uploading video also requires a submission process, obviously for weeding out the less educational content.  But if you wanted to find the latest high-profile speech on the economy or were even wondering what it would be like to die via black holes, FORA.tv is the place to be.


I’m perpetually amazed at how I’m always late and a day behind regarding stuff like music and Web 2.0.  Case in point: I’ve just noticed the additions to the image editing site BeFunky.  As if the functionality wasn’t groovy enough,  they’ve compiled even more options for optimizing the gonzofication of your photos.  Use the cartoonizer, warholizer, scribbler, inkifier, charcola, etc to add varying degrees of wowza to your pics.  It’s a perfect tool to use for editing when using comic life.  Not to mention seamless integration into your networking sites has been taken care of.


I almost feel badly that the site is free and I have little creatistic ability to begin with.

LibraryThing assimilated?


Like pixels across the interwebs:

Under the terms of agreement, CIG has purchased a minority stake in LibraryThing and has designated Bowker as the exclusive worldwide distributor for the library marketplace of LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL), LibraryThing’s flagship library product. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The addition of LTFL to Bowker and ProQuest’s growing suite of offerings, including AquaBrowser Library®, demonstrates CIG’s continued commitment to helping librarians and their patrons embrace Web 2.0 technologies to enhance and improve the efficacy of their book search and discovery efforts.

Tim Spalding, el jefe of all things LT, is confident this minority buy-in is a win-win situation:

Our shot. I have a simple internal label for this deal: We are going to get our shot. LibraryThing has done very well considering its humble origins and structure. If we had gone the venture capital route we’d have started with a lot more money, but we’d have to “flip it” about now–just when things were getting exciting. Instead, this deal means we get to keep our souls, and get our full shot at making LibraryThing.com and LibraryThing for Libraries everything we want them to be. That’s a wonderful opportunity.

For members, this is also great news. You’ve waited a long time for some features, and scaling has been a problem. Everything can’t happen right away, but it can happen. With your help and criticism we can continue to build the site you want, and support the community you created.

Not sure how this will play out.  Obviously, both sides get something out of this deal, though for posterity I will remain borderline skeptical.  Either way, now we play the waiting game.

academics + web 2.0 = academia.edu

One functionality our faculty continually requests is the ability to have some sort of space of self-promotion aside from our Web presence; short of time spent training them on developing Wikis (they routinely don’t enough time to spare) or attending meetings centering on  how were going to find the time to attend additional meetings for proposing the creation of an institutional intranet, they still lack a veritable and virtual posterboard for themselves and their research.

Academia.edu is a an online directory of institutions and researchers who want to promote their work in hopes of finding contacts and collaboration.  A typical Web 2.0 app, functionality seems to be fairly complete: add content to your profile, upload papers, talks, adding folks as contacts, as well as research interests. It even boasts the addition of such illuminaries as Paul Krugman, Richard Dawkins, and Stephen Hawking.  Too good to be true?

Academia.edu appears to be in its initial launch and is growing exponentially.  Browse or scroll a list of participating institutions and researchers;  departments are displayed hierarchically.  Aside from the browsing capability, the only minus of the site is that it’s not very intuitive or well-explained in terms of directions, from the signup process to the display.  Working out the kinks, I’m sure.

It’s a good service though, one that prompts the question why it wasn’t done earlier.  But I suppose that’s the nature of academia; ironically, we surprisingly (ironically?) just haven’t got the hang of that self-promotion thing.