Posts tagged ‘Google’

5 great tools and techniques for developing presentations

Hi, everyone! One of my favorite librarians and open source advocates (Nicole Engard) just Tweet DMed me and asked if I ever shared officially the tools I mentioned in a discussion session on Presentation Tools and Techniques at Pres4Lib at Princeton Public Library. I replied no, with regrets. I figured if she’s wondering about it, maybe you are too!

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I use a pretty well structured, personally vetted workflow for developing presentations and blog posts that involves developing an outline, collecting images, preparing images, research and citations. Let me share some of the tools that I use to accomplish these tasks just about every time.

Google Docs
Image via Wikipedia

Google Docs Presentations

I stopped using Microsoft PowerPoint a few years ago and have not looked back. While I would consider using the open source alternative of OpenOffice.org’s presentation tool, by instead choosing a presentation tool in the cloud, I get the ability to edit and present anywhere where I’m connected, the ability to edit offline with Google Gears installed on Firefox, the common ability to add images, draw pictures, embed my slideshows (!), allow people to automatically see the latest greatest embedded versions of my presentations up to the second after I’ve updated them, allow for collaboration and co-viewing and if I absolutely must, export to a PDF for offline sharing and presentation disaster backup. I can even make a PPT for someone who insists on it.

I typically log in to Google Docs, create a title slide for my topic, and then immediately develop an agenda slide, which I then begin to outline with the topics (and slides) that I want to cover in my talk. My style emphasizes simple broad topics which I elaborate on in spontaneous ways. I try to keep the number of words on slides to an absolute minimum. I usually make a slide for each of my topics, and I then try to look for stories, photos, and illustrations that lead the people in the audience to start thinking about my topics before I introduce them verbally or textually.

Image representing Google Images as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

Creative Commons vetting via Google Image Search

Google Image Search is far and away the best image search tool I’ve come across (with the ability to search for line art, faces, and by color, etc.), especially now, since the recent addition of the license search feature in the advanced image search tool, which allows me to search according to Creative Commons licenses applied by designers and photographers to their images all over the web. This is especially important for me because I don’t just want to just use other peoples’ images in my work without their consent. I want to respect the wishes of image creators. By using the license restrictions, I can quickly find images available for commercial use, images allowed to be modified, images that simply require attribution, and even images in the public domain.

When we respect the rights of creators and innovators, and celebrate others’ work properly, I believe we engage in modeling important aspects of information literacy, if not common humanity.

I’ll search for a topic keyword, often choosing CC-attribution licensing, which allows me the greatest flexibility with which to use the images, to modify them, use them in commercial situations, and promote creative commons licensing, while simply being required to include attributive references to the original image author. I will very often name the file locally with the name of the author of the image, in the format “by username.jpg” or “from nameofwebsitedotcom.jpg” so that I have a built in back-reference.

Image representing Picasa as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Picasa

Once I have the images I want to use in my presentation saved to my local hard drive in a project folder, I often need to tweak, categorize, combine, title, tag, and integrate the images. While I can do this in a myriad of different utilities, tools, and applications, none of them have quite the combination of speed, comprehensive toolset, ease of use, functions, smoothness, or slickness of Google’s Picasa. Once you have downloaded and installed this free tool, you can use a Google account to store images in free named online galleries and keep them synchronized for free. With the number and variety of images I work with in my design and presentation work, I am thrilled that I have Picasa to help me wrangle them all.

I use it to tag, group, move, geocode, describe, upload, tweak, collage, print, and watermark my images for presentations, design work, papers, and everything else. It is a free, versatile, and irreplaceable tool in my personal tool set.

An example of both Zotero and OpenURL referrer...

Image via Wikipedia

Zotero

Zotero is a Firefox extension that allows for the single click based collection, categorization, tagging, editing, and even full text storage of web based database entries, books, articles, presentations, images and other standard citable sources. The amazing thing it that it automatically recognizes and collects metadata when it is present in a form that Zotero understands. This might sound like a difficult thing for content providers to implement, but all I had to do to make my WordPress blogs compliant was to install a single metadata-providing plugin (COinS) that offers my name, the title of posts, the publication date and other automatically generated metadata in blogging to Zotero users. Other sources who provide the relevant metadata to Zotero include major scholarly databases like Ebsco, newspapers like the New York Times, online booksellers like Amazon, and blogs and wikis around the world.

If I haven’t hooked you in to using Zotero yet, did I mention that with two clicks, you get properly formatted bibliographies in APA, MLA, and other citation styles? After I’ve visited books on Amazon and collected their data, or after I’ve found articles on Google Scholar and collected their data, or after I’ve grabbed creative commons licensed images from Flickr and collected their data, I can simply select all of them in my Zotero database, right click, and choose “Make bibliography from selected sources” which I then choose to send to clipboard, then paste right into my final slide, reference area of my paper, or wherever else I need to respect copyright or usage license. It is also a phenomenal way to meet the requirements of CC Attribution.

QuoteURLText

Number 5, QuoteURLtext (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4292) is another Firefox Extension that does one thing, but does it exceptionally well. It copies the highlighted text on a page along with the date and time, URL, and page title to the clipboard so that you can easily paste some casual piece of information (such as a tasty tech tip, a quick statistic, a delicious quotation, or a little known fact) into a slide, paper, or post without having to go so far as to reference it in APA style. It’s like a casual little sister utility to the powerhouse that is Zotero.

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

<Jeopardy Daily Double Music> Bonus Tool: Zemanta: </Jeopardy Daily Double Music>

Finally, Zemanta (a play on semantic) is another Firefox extension that shows up in a sidebar when you are using supporting applications, such as Gmail, Blogger, WordPress, and other applications (check out their site for more). I desperately wish it worked with Google Docs Presentations, but nothing hints at that yet. Here’s why I care: All of the photos, captions, tags, post story articles, and even some of the links to referential sources were all suggested, generated and placed with a single click each using Zemanta. As I type, Zemanta autoscans sources with CC licensed imagery, content, and resources related semantically to my content. Let me reiterate: As I type.  All I need to do to add it to my post is simply to click. Clickety-clickety.

A pleasure to speak with you as always, I hope you learn to love these great free tools for developing your presentations just as much as I do.

John LeMasney

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November 16, 2009 at 9:00 am 1 comment

Friday Fun: Google Street View "Outtakes"

You never know what Google Street View will find — some of it is pretty funny and some of it is downright embarrassing. Some random surfing today brought me to this article posted by the Telegraph in the U.K which also includes a slide show of more than a dozen street view images that have been pulled from the service following complaints or requests since the service went live recently in the U.K. and other European cities.

Not sure if the image with Paddington Bear in Trafalgar Square was pulled — I found it cute and appropriate. But then again, there is some question about whether Paddington was actually stalking the Google cam team.

How fun that they built in a Where’s Waldo game to the Street View as well — and even cooler that Waldo was found!

Of course, many questions could be (and have been) raised about privacy and the “Big Brother” aspect of street views… but that is a whole other post for a different day.

March 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm 2 comments

Gphone? Now we’re talking pure technology bliss!

If I get one of the new generation phones, I don’t want to have to re-invent the wheel.
No new calendar
No new photo program
No new notes
And please, no new desktop program that I have to upload to my computer and, possibly, have to constantly connect to in order to keep both phone and program in synch. Palm OS, I’m talking to you.
But what if Google made a phone and it was designed to work with all of my pre-existing apps, then we’d have something!
In a way, it is a backwards approach, creating the content before creating the hardware. Google already has all the applications in place along with millions of dedicated users. Creating a phone that will allow users to bring their pre-existing applications with them, without having to reset or rebuild, is an extremely enticing idea.
Just imagine, all of your mail, docs, notebooks, readers, photos, maps and videos readily available at a moment’s notice. Yeah, I know you are probably already telling me that iphone, Treo and all the other ones have the ability to link to the mobile versions of these programs but it is not the same.
I’m talking about a phone where I place in my one username and password and then all the applications are ready-to-go (think a mobile version of google desktop); ideally, they are just a simple click away from the phone’s desktop. No jumping to various websites and no downloads of new applications. Think plug’n’play, take’n’go w/ my phone.
The expectations for such a phone are huge, in fact, Gizmondo has already released their wishlist of apps they really want to see the phone contain.
The only thing I would add is that the “gphone” has an adequate harddrive right at the start… not a 4-8GB version that will become obsolete within the first 6 months of manufacturing.
Not mentioning anyone in particular, I’m just saying…

October 23, 2007 at 9:45 am 2 comments

News from Oregon Virtual Reference Summit 2007 – QandA and Ready Reference from Texting Google Mobile SMS (Beta)

I just recently returned from giving a keynote address on June 1, at the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit 2007. Caleb Tucker-Raymond, Oregon Statewide Digital Reference Services Coordinator, organized this wonderful conference that drew participants from Oregon, Washington, and California, but was mainly designed to bring together librarians who participate in L-net: Oregon Libraries Network. My plenary was called “I Was Kind of Confused b4” Interpersonal Communication Research in Virtual Reference” and I gave a workshop on “Exploring Encounters with Chat Users: Analyzing VR Transcripts.” I am willing to share ppt and handouts to LG readers if you send me an e-mail request. The plenary was videotaped and may be on the open web at some point, I will blog about it if/when this happens.

While at the conference, I attended a fascinating panel on: “What Students Need, What Schools Need.” This program brought together the viewpoints of middle and high school librarians, public librarians, and a delightful young junior high student who spoke about VR from the student perspective. After the panel, I congratulated her on her presentation, poise, and enthusiasm for VR. She mentioned that she had heard me speak in the plenary, but at first had not know what the word “plenary” meant, so she had sent a text to Google. I said: “You did WHAT???” She said: “I sent a text to Google (466453) and I put in define plenary and it gave me the definition.” I had her show me and saw that it also returns the URL where the answer was found on the web.

Some of you may already know about (or use!) this service (which is in Beta testing), but it was news to me! (It was also news to my 16 yr. old daughter, the text maven in our house, which helped me to decide to blog about this). Later one of the helpful L-net participants printed out the Google Mobile info page and I found out that not only are word definitions possible, but also you get info on weather, flight updates, movies, translations, currency conversions, driving directions, QandA and more. Google’s example for using their QandA is: abraham lincoln birthday. If any of you have tried this service out please leave a comment telling me what you asked and how it went!

Here we see Google testing the waters, as some libraries are doing, with text reference services. The latest start up I have heard of SMS for libraries was in Australia as reported on the dig_ref listserv this week by Colin J. Bain, Library Services Manager of Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Their SMS service just started this past Monday (June 4th) and Colin told me that they have only had 2 queries so far about library opening hours. Since they haven’t done any publicity yet, traffic will surely pick up.

Hmmm, now I am definitely going to have to spring for unlimited text messaging on my cell phone.

June 7, 2007 at 3:02 pm 4 comments

OCLC WorldCat = GoogleLibrary? Wow, It’s Official–and Lots of Changes are Coming!

We all read about OCLC and the Research Libraries Group (RLG) joining forces, very recently under “OCLC Programs and Research,” and some saw that coming—but I don’t know about this! I just read several notices within the blogosphere about Google throwing its hat into the ring, because they have just acquired OCLC and all of its holdings, although I see nothing about this on any of their respective official sites on this, yet. Very, very interesting…. Check out Karen’s, Andrew’s, and Jenny’s take on this very new development. It is April Fools’ Day, though. Hmmmm….

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April 1, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Update on U.S. Web Search Market–Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, & Time Warner

In this morning’s USA Today Tech section, a short article was written about the U.S. search market from comScore Networks, showing that in December 2006,…

* Google sites were ranked as #1 with 47.3% of U.S. search market
* Yahoo sites as #2 with 28.5%
* Microsoft sites as #3 with 10.5%
* Ask Network as #4 with 5.4%

Also interesting from the article…

* “An estimated 6.7 billion searches were conducted by U.S. Web users in December, up 1% from November.”

“The number of U.S. Web search queries has grown 30% since December of 2005, comScore said.


Go to the actual January 15, 2007 press release of comScore Networks survey cited for some more detail, which also lists…

* Time Warner Network as #5 with 4.9% of the U.S search market,

and it states there that “Google Sites led the pack with 3.2 billion search queries performed, followed by Yahoo Sites (1.9 billion), MSN-Microsoft (713 million), Ask Network (363 million), and Time Warner Network (335 million).”

January 16, 2007 at 10:59 am


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