October 14, 2007

Cool Tools for Scholars -- Help Wanted

I've somehow been recruited (thanks, Stacy!) to give a brownbag presentation session in a few weeks with the title, "Cool Tools for Scholars." Not having actually chosen the topic, I feel that I can range pretty far and wide from what might be expected and zoom into the stratosphere on this one. Of course, I'm not limiting myself to tools for scientists but for all scholars.

So far, my idea is to roughly follow the research process and highlight a couple of tools at each stage that scholars might find interesting or useful but that many librarians or scholars might not have heard of or used.

I'm thinking of an outline more or less like this:

  • Invisible College

    • Social Networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Nature Network

  • Literature Search/Environment Scan

    • Social Bookmarking: Del.icio.us, Connotea
    • Recommendation Systems: Digg
    • Citation Management: Zotero, CiteULike
    • Blog Aggregators & Tools: ScienceBlogs, AcademicBlogs, Google Blog Search, Technorati, Scintilla, Post Genomic

  • Executing the Research

    • Wikis (ie. for labs or keep track of any kind of notes)

  • Writing up the Work

    • Document Preparation: Google Docs, Zoho
    • Publication: Lulu, CreateSpace

  • Disseminating the Results

    • Presentations: Google Docs, Zoho & SlideShare
    • Papers: Institutional and Disciplinary Repositories (ie. exploring what they are and finding applicable ones)
    • Publicity: Project/Lab/Research Group blogs and wikis

Now, I know that's a lot to cover in 90 minutes, especially since I hope to have a really interactive session with a lot of input and ideas from the audience, so I'll probably only end up covering one tool per category. What I was hoping to get from you, my faithful audience, was some feedback on what might strike you as the most important things to cover in such a presentation. In particular, are there any great tools out there that I've not included on my list, especially ones aimed at non-scientists?

As usual, just drop a comment here or on Meebo or email me at jdupuis at yorku dot ca.


Anonymous said...

Hi John, You have not mentioned Google Scholar? Is that on purpose?

John Dupuis said...

Hi Carolyne, Yes, it was more or less on purpose. I really want to stick to tools that are less well known and Google Scholar is perhaps a tool that might be more popular than it deserves to be (my beefs are currency and the fact that we don't know what they index). I might mention it but probably not.

So from the Google family I'll definitely mention Google Docs as a collaborative document creation tool because I use it so often and like it so much. I might also mention using Google Books as a way to search inside books in our collection. I also like Google Custom Search and may mention it.

Dymphie said...

Perhaps Twitter?

Dymphie said...


Perhaps Twitter?
Really cool, but for scientists ... i'm not sure :-)

John Dupuis said...

Twitter? Hmmm. Interesting idea. Let me think about it a bit.