ORB – Oregonian Research Blog

February 10, 2009

Come Play in the DiRT!

Filed under: research,tools,web 2.0,wiki — Lynne @ 3:39 pm

Digital Research Tools (DiRT) is a collaborative wiki that lists dozens of useful web 2.0 research tools for inquisitive people (like us!) to do our work better.

Created by Lisa Spiro, the director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University, this wiki displays tools by topical headings including: “Mapping”, “Mashups”, and “Data Mining”.

December 16, 2008

Cool Tool!

Username Check is a free, and fast, web tool that searches by username on over 60 membership websites.

September 3, 2008

Usable URLs from TinyURL

Filed under: tools,Uncategorized — Lynne @ 11:45 am

A few months ago I had a post about URL shorteners that allow the addition of personal nicknames.  TinyURL, the most popular shortening service,  wasn’t on that list. That was then.

TinyURL now supports “custom alias”. The service is optional. Just type in a word or phrase that of your choosing.  You may use letters, numbers and dashes.  Note: If someone’s already used the URL, you can’t use it.

August 22, 2008

Dipity Wilco Timeline

Dipity is an interactive timeline sharing website. Timelines can be created from scratch or by grabbing a feed (blogger, twitter, RSS).

Timeline entries can contain text, video, photos, or maps.

Viewing timelines can be tricky. The default view is a left to right scrolling view, but depending on the computer or browser you use you may or may not have a scroll bar. If you don’t have a scroll bar, you can drag the timeline, use your mouse scroll, or view full screen. Flipbook view is another option.

Dipity has also created some cool mashups. TimeTube uses your supplied word or phrase, then searches YouTube and generates a timeline based on the video creation dates. Tickr generates an interactive timeline using Flickr.

Anyone can create an account and build a timeline.  Dipity also allows mulitiple editors to work on a timeline. Here is a link to one I created for the band Wilco. The timeline is also available on OregonLive.

July 31, 2008

Delicious 2.0

Filed under: Social Networking,tools,web 2.0 — Lynne @ 3:07 pm

Delicious has a new domain name, a new look, AND more features.

First off, the entire site has been moved to a new domain. The confusing del.icio.us web domain has been replaced with delicious.com. The change requires a new login cookie, which is why you’ll be asked to log in again. The old del.icio.us url will stay active.

Along with the domain change, the Delicious site has been redesigned. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the redesign. I really like the new homepage. I am not a huge fan of the bookmarks page yet.

The new search engine is impressive. Searches no longer take eons to return results. Also, you can now search within one of your tags, another user’s bookmarks, or your social network (yes! finally).

For more info on the changes check out Delicious blog and be sure to read about all the new features on the What’s New guide.

July 18, 2008

Friday ORB Roundup

July 8, 2008

SeeqPod – Music Search Engine

Filed under: lawsuit,search engine,tools,Uncategorized,web 2.0 — Lynne @ 4:47 pm

I spent some time checking out SeeqPod (as promised) – I was happy that I did. This is my new favorite site. Why? Because I love music, but more importantly because I am a news researcher and SeeqPod is a killer MP3 search engine.

Anyone who tried the music search engines from a few years ago would have been disappointed with the volume of broken links in the search results. SeeqPod doesn’t just find links, it finds playable MP3’s. I am not saying there aren’t any broken links, just that I haven’t found any. Also because the music listed is hosted on other sites the quality isn’t always perfect, but again, I have had great results so far. And, it not only finds what you are are looking for but offers suggestions based on your search. This is especially helpful if you aren’t sure of the correct spelling of an artist.

SeeqPod also succeeds in its presentation. Search results are presented in a simple search box on one side of the screen. The other side is a moving tracker of the site’s latest finds. Click the options button to embed a playlist or to find out more about the artist or song, including lyrics. Although, I had the least success with the lyric feature.

My one quip with their presentation is that I had to try too hard to find the pre-filled playlist feature. Not good for new users because the playlists are a great way for users to get a feel for the site and the quality and variety of music on it.

As with other Web 2.0 companies, SeeqPod is currently in the middle of lawsuit. Warner Music Group has sued SeeqPod (docket, PDF) over copyright infringement (complaint, PDF). Read more about this slightly unique lawsuit at the Listening Post, Bit Player, and the Electronic Freedom Frontier.

June 25, 2008

Internet fun: Wordle

Filed under: design,tools — Lynne @ 4:50 pm

Wordle is a site where you type in text to create “word clouds”. A word cloud, or text cloud, or tag cloud, is a pattern that displays the most frequently used words larger and brighter than the lesser used words. To create a cloud just enter words or import tags from your del.icio.us account. I typed newsresearch in the del.icio.us box, and viola this appeared:

Pretty cool. I can certainly see using this tool in a presentation. Wordle also has a customizing feature so you can play around with different layouts, fonts, and and colors.

May 10, 2008

Creating Memorable Links

Filed under: Friesen,tools,web 2.0 — Lynne @ 12:44 am

I was wishing I had a memorable URL to give people for a presentation I did in Google Docs. My Google Docs URL wasn’t too long but it contained about 20 characters of random letters and numbers. My first thought was to use TinyURL but that would have still created a link with random letters and numbers. What to do? What to do? Good thing I sit next to Mark Friesen. He suggested I check out Metamark.

Metamark not only shortens a link, but it also lets you add an optional nickname to a link. My link will expire after 5 years, but that will be far beyond the memory of this presentation.

There are other web tools similar to TinyURL and Metamark. You can read a great review of them all on Webware: Cool apps for everyone.

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