Things Begin…

This is my first post as part of the Cambridge 23 Things programme, Cam23 for short. I might be heading up the (very lovely) Cam23 project team but like each of them I’m also participating fully. For one thing, there are quite a few Things on the programme that I’ve never explored properly before, for another I’m after a shiny certificate (with curly-swirly writing) and a voucher too.

Thing 1 and 2 are iGoogle (and other startpages) and RSS feeds. iGoogle is a nice idea in principle and plays to my super-organised side but it doesn’t really fit with the frankly chaotic way that I use the web. I tend to have about 3-5 different browser sessions or tabs open at any one time and these are rarely on the default homepage which I tend to only see first thing in the morning. Besides I’m not that keen on the mushed up nature of the gadgets or the fact that they seem to take an age to load up. They don’t actually take ‘an age’ of course it’s just that I’m now pre-programmed to expect websites to open within a fraction of a billisecond.  However, my Delicious bookmarks do open that quickly (my preferred home page) as do the links on my web browser toolbar.  Having said all that, I am going to try iGoogle out as my homepage for a while to see how I get on. Maybe I’ll warm to it?

Another thing that has put me off in the past is that some of the gadgets die off  over time, when I returned to the page I created just a few months ago, three were out of action. Interested to read Emma’s take on iGoogle over at The Mongoose Librarian and Lottie’s at Adventures of a Blogging Trainee Librarian. Both well worth a read.

NetVibes is a different beast altogether. From what I can understand it has rebranded recently as a ‘dashboard engine’  rather than just a startpage which allows you to set up hubs from which to monitor information on people, topics, industries, countries and companies from many different platforms (video, social networks, blogs, search engines) in real-time. I can see a possible application for the library service here at Judge but haven’t quite worked out what, certainly embracing the real-time element and the auto-refresh of information is appealing. Perhaps setting up subject-based dashboards?  Below is a Netvibes dashboard that I set up on ecotourism, a topic we had a detailed enquiry about recently. Just creating this in front of the MBA project team I met with would have instantly led them down some interesting and relevant avenues.

As for Thing 2 I already access all my RSS Feeds through Google Reader and find it completely invaluable. For quite a few years I randomly checked in on blogs I liked but as the number of blogs I visited increased so did the need to access them in a different way and to be prompted as new posts became available. I installed the Google Reader widget in my iGoogle page so I have a window into the blogs I subscribe to there but I’ll continue to just go to it direct I think. Adding the Cam23 blog to my iGoogle was surprisingly seamless.

Pleased to have got started on Cam23, and to find, as I imagined i would, that I’d learn stuff I didn’t know before.

Roll on the Things…


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