Friday, 30 March 2012

Social media: A tool for research and collaboration

the research cycle - from the Research Information Network's
 'Social media: a guide for researchers'
I had a great day at Edinburgh University last Friday (23 March) as the guest of the Scottish branch of the CILIP Universities, Colleges and Research Group, who'd put on a event entitled 'Social Media: tools for research and collaboration'. I'd been asked to present by the lovely Sheila Williams, Liaison Services Manager  at Queen Margaret University (aka @Budsmam). I first met Sheila some years back, on a Webquests (whatever happened to them?!) training course and she feels like an old friend (old in a good way!). Although, as she reminded me on the day, we've only actually met on three occasions!

I kicked off the event with a fairly general intro to social media as a tool for research and collaboration (pinching lots of stuff from the rather excellent Research Information Network's 'Social Media: A guide for researchers') - identifying some examples of social media being used at all points of the research cycle. I also talked a bit about online identity. My presentation is available on Slideshare. And I've put together a list of relevant resources on Diigo.

Helen Muir, Research Support Librarian at Queen Margaret University (@HMuir), then spoke in a bit more detail about why researchers really need to get on board with social media (the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is beginning to have a big impact) and highlighted some tools that may be of particular use for researchers. Helen's rather super presentation is on Prezi. I was a bit concerned when Helen said she'd used Prezi - they generally give me a headache - but Helen's presentation makes great use of Prezi's features. Helen's presentation has prompted me to take another look at, a sort of Linkedin for academics, that allows you to share your papers and to follow the work of other researchers.

Perhaps the biggest revelation of the day for me came in Helen's presentation. I cannot believe that I've not come across Bright Club before. Researchers doing stand up! Or as the website puts it: 'researchers become comedians for just one night'. How brilliant is that?!

After lunch, Phil Bradley (internet search expert extraordinaire, current CILIP President, all round nice chap and @PhilBradley on Twitter) took us on a tour of the impact that social media is having on search. Phil's presentation is also available on Slideshare. We were in a computer lab for Phil's session, so could play around a bit with some of the tools covered in his presentation. I had a look at - which promises spam free search (by only crawling 3 billion pages, focusing on 'quality websites'). Blekko also has a tool called a slashtag that organizes websites around specific topics and improves search results for those topics. It's worth a look if you want an alternative to the 'tyranny of Google'.

There was some great tweeting on the #UCRSocMed hashtag throughout the day. Particularly from Sheila (we even had the odd tweet from Sheila's dog @Budthepuppy :)). And I've had fun putting everything (presentations, resources and tweets) into Storify. It's a bit back to front...but hey, it was my first time :)

No comments: