Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Week Two: Slideshare and Meebo

I spent some time today goofing off on Slideshare, which is exactly what it sounds like: a site for sharing, among other things, slide shows. I'm actually pretty happy about this website, because I frequently create PPT presentations, and I suffer for a lack of creativity. It's nice to have a place to go to see other people's ideas, and to steal them!

My first issue with the site was that when I created an account, it accepted my information and then sent me to a 404 page. This is really just annoying. Luckily, there "confirm your account" email had just popped up in the old inbox, so I could link back to the site that way. I was also pleased that I could link my Facebook and LinkedIn pages to my slide share account. I have a lot of friends on FB that are other archivists, and who might be interested in any presentations that I make, as well as colleagues and potential employers on LI that might be interested in my presentation talents.

I did not like that there is not an advanced search option on the front page of Slide Share. I understand the timeliness of a Google-type search box (easily recognizable and usable), but I would have liked to see an immediate link to an advanced option. Once I did get to the advanced search, I thought it was brilliant that there is a "Creative Commons" limiter for the search, which makes stealing easier and legal. Excellent!

Just a few returns down was "Using Facebook for Advocacy and Social Change", which is totally in my wheelhouse subject-wise. Unfortunately, it was not an example of making good presentation choices; the text looked atrocious and was hard to read.

I looked at a lot of the presentations on harnessing Web 2.0 for outreach and advocacy purposes, but clearly even my advanced search for "Web 2.0" was just too broad. I tried again using "Web 2.0" and "archives". With all of my filters, there were very few results. Checking the tags on the side bar of each presentation showed me how poorly I was conducting the search. One, with the interesting title "Tragedy Remembered-and Forgotten: The Politics of Memory and Technology"didn't actually have "Web 2.0" and just "archive", and had very little to do with memory in the way that archivists think about it. I tried a couple other searches and went back to the home page for the tour. All of the search tricks that I am used to (ie, "", *) were not getting me good results.

There was no search guide. When I went back to the search box and tried "Archives", I could find no search help, under the basic box or the advanced option. Boo to you, Slide Share!

I was delighted to see a result for "Archives of African American Achievement" (I work in the archives of an HBCU library, so this topic is also close to the heart), but since I needed to find a favorite Web 2.0 presentation, I saved that one for "Courtney Time" and kept searching. I got very, very confused by the search parameters, because I was clearly not searching the tags.

I gave up on the search and tried the browse, choosing "Education" as a category. I was very disappointed to learn that I could not search within the category. Again, I gave up and went to the Help/FAQs. No dice. Damn you Slide Share!

Head hanging low, I went back to the basic search box and took the advice of the site: when I started to type in "archives" it suggested "archives wiki web 2.0". Following that search, I found this delightfully funny presentation from the UK National Archives:

A few more comments: The "share" options on this site are tremendous. So many options! But what was more interesting to me was how old some of the presentations were. Several that I looked at emphasized MySpace over Facebook, and clearly had screenshots of FB several generations ago. Isn't it a current trend that MySpace is losing users to FB? Aren't they very different audiences at this point? How useful are these older presentations?

And now...Meebo!

I've used Meebo before, and will update this space once me and my 23 Things mentor arrange for a time. From experience, it's a good chat solution for folks who have a ton of different email accounts.

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