Using the Web to Conduct_ Manage and Disseminate Research by SupremeLord

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									Using the Web to Conduct,
Manage and Disseminate
               Starting Points
 What kind of research do you do?
 What do you find difficult about doing research online?
 What would be your dream tool for improving research

 Open up a discussion about the significance of
  digital resources and tools for research
 Introduce you to some useful tools that can help you
    Find information
    Organize information
    Visualize information
    Disseminate information
     The Internet was designed as a
           research platform…
 In 1945, Vannevar Bush
  proposed the Memex, a
  system that would store and
  rapidly retrieve information&
  allow researchers to make
  trails (links)
 In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a
  researcher at CERN,
  developed a plan for Web as
  digital library system for
  physics researchers

                                  The Memex
   Internet as Research Platform II
   2004 NSF Cyberinfrastructure report proposes
     developing tools to advance e-science:
       Intense collaboration
       Data acquisition
       Data management
       Simulation
       Educational applications

NanoHUB: Web-based resource for nanotechnology offering
collaborative workspaces, simulations, teaching materials
  Information Explosion:
  A Challenge &

 Dutch researchers estimate that the Indexed Web
  contains at least 30.24 billion pages
 The hidden web is estimated to be 500 times bigger
  than the Indexed Web
 Approx 7 million books have been made available by
 See for up-to-date
  ticker of amount of data produced in 2008
Challenges of Doing Research in the
          Web 2.0 World
   There’s so much information it’s difficult to
       find what you need
       discern quality
   Not everything is in a digital form—you may be missing crucial
    information by ignoring print (Anthony Grafton, 2007)
   Searching may diminish the chance of serendipitous discovery
    & reduce the number & quality of citations (James A.
    Robinson, 2008)
   It can be difficult to focus when so much information is swirling
    around you (Nicholas Carr, 2008)
   Search engines such as Google evaluate “popularity,” which
    may not correlate to quality
   Learning new approaches & tools requires time & sometimes $
 Advantages of Doing Research in the
           Web 2.0 World
 Access to richer variety of resources, from archival
  materials to scientific data
 Speed & efficiency: you can search vast databases
  from your desk
 Software + human intelligence enables
    Manipulation & analysis of data
    More quickly determining quality & relevance
    Organizing your research
    Sharing your research
 You can increase your visibility as a researcher by
  using the Web effectively
     Finding Tools to Manage
    Information: The DiRT Wiki
(Lazy) Lisa’s Criteria for Choosing
               a Tool
 It does what I want it to do
 I can learn how to use it in 5 minutes or less, or it’s
  worth investing more time in.
 It’s either free or I can try before I buy
 There is an enthusiastic & significant user community
 I can get data that I put into the tool out of it if (when) I
  need to
I. Finding & Evaluating
What makes it difficult to find
    information online?
1. Fondren Goes Google: Aqua
       Aqua Browser/ Search 360
 Search across content (catalog + 50 major databases)
    with a single query
   “My Discoveries”: save, tag, review, rate resources
   See TOC, summary, cover of books
   Refine searches through facets, e.g. filter by date,
    subject heading
   Caveats:
      This is “beta” software. Feedback welcomed.
      There is some lag time.
      Some find the interface overwhelming.
      Another option for “universal search”: Google
       2. Google Show Options

 Click on “Show Options” to filter search by:
    Type (video, forums, reviews)
    Time (last 24 hours, past week, past year)
    Sort by date
    See images or more text on the page
    Related searches (often narrower)
    Timeline
    Wonder Wheel (visualize search & related terms)
3. Find Facts: Wolfram Alpha
               Wolfram Alpha
 Developed by Stephen Wolfram of Mathematica
 Aims to make knowledge “computable”
 Works best with numbers and facts, e.g. calculations,
  places, dates
 Sample searches:
    harris county texas income per capita
    (28 base 16) + (30 base 5)
    Hurricane katrina
    United States vs. Rwanda
  Coming Soon: Google Squared

• Extracts facts about search topic & displays in
• Competitor to Wolfram Alpha?

Search for
“small dogs”
     4. SearchMe: Visual Search
 Flip through images
 Add images to “stack”—share your stack
           Evaluating Citations
 Determine how often an article you’re interested in has
  been cited
    Google Scholar: see who cited a work

    Scopus: sophisticated citation analytics

 Evaluate who links to the site that you are looking at:
    In Google, enter “link: {url}”
            Exercise 1: Search
 Visit
  b=250 for links to search tools
 Select a research topic
 Experiment with at least 2 of the search engines we’ve
    What’s easiest to use?
    What seems to give you better results?
    What effect does changing your search terms have?
II. Organizing Digital Information
    1. Saving & Sharing Links with
 Free, but ad-supported
 With Diigo toolbar, easily
    save & annotate your
    bookmarks online
   Tag bookmarks so you can
    find them
   Highlight & annotate web
   Email pages to pals
   Create groups and lists
   Find web pages others have
2. Organize Research Materials Using
 Zotero:
    “a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you
       collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It
       lives right where you do your work — in the web
       browser itself.”
      Developed by scholars at George Mason’s Center for
       History & New Media
      Efficient: Supports tagging, automatic download of
       citation information and PDFs of articles
      Search your collections
      Innovative: Will ultimately support groups and
       recommendation system, ability to store citations on
       server, text visualization
      Cite as your write once you install a Word plugin
             How to Use Zotero
 Click on the page icon in
    the address bar to
    automatically download
    citation info & assoc.
   Alternatively, you can
    add item from Zotero
   Manually add cites with
    the green +
   Organize cites into
   Add tags & relationships
    to make everything more
   Take notes
     Zotero 2.0: Share Bibliographies
           with Groups Online

   3. Create a Personal Portal
     How & Why to Create a Portal
 Aggregate online resources (a bio, publication list, RSS
    feeds, images, etc) at a single site with minimal effort
   Can serve as a start page for your research, a page
    that you use to inform others of your research, or both
   Information is online and available from any computer
   “Widgets” include to-do lists, RSS feeds from news &
    info sources, search tools, etc.
   People can subscribe to the RSS feed for your portal
   May be especially useful as a teaching tool, e.g.
   Free services for creating research portals:
      PageFlakes:
      NetVibes:
           Portals Use RSS Feeds

 RSS feeds allow you to subscribe to online content &
  automatically receive notification of updates.
 Identify sites that have RSS feeds by looking for the
  RSS icon
    Publications, e.g. the New York Times science
    Blogs, e.g. Lifehacker
    Journals, e.g. Nature or Victorian Studies

 You can use a service like to
  create an RSS feed for pages that don’t support RSS
              How to Use RSS
 Set up a feedreader such as:
    GoogleReader: (web-
     based; translate feeds, share them, star them,
     organize them, view trends, etc.)
    Portal, e.g. NetVibes
 Subscribe to the feed
    Browsers such as Firefox will usually display an icon
     in the address bar if the site has a feed.
    Look for words such as subscribe, feed, rss, xml,
     atom, or icons such as
                      Web Alerts
 Google Alerts:
   Be notified by email when
    Google picks up results
    relevant to search criteria
   Specify how often you’re
    notified & what you search
 Filtrbox
    Specify search restrictions
    Get email alerts or view online
    View “trends” in alerts
    Share articles
        Other Tools for Managing
 Mendeley: “free social software for managing and
    sharing research papers.”
   Devon: Store files, categorize them, take notes, run
    sophisticated searches (Mac)
   EverNote: Take notes, synchronize across devices
   CiteULike
   Connotea
   Papers (Mac)
   See
                   Exercise 2
 Play with a tool for managing information (Diigo,
  Zotero, Pageflakes, Netvibes, etc.)
    How might you use this to support your research?
    What are its limitations?
        III. Visualize Information
Examples of Visualization Tools
        1. Creating a Tag Cloud
 Visualize word frequency by creating your own tag
 Paste an HTML, Word, plain text, etc version of your
  document into the software to make a tag cloud
 Tag cloud services:
    TagCrowd,
    Wordle:

     Tag Crowd of Ch. 8
     of Kelty’s Two Bits
       2. Visualizing Data with

 Motivation: with visualization, “an unwieldy, unyielding
    data set is transformed into an image on the screen,
    and suddenly the user can perceive an unexpected
    pattern…. Visualization is a catalyst for discussion
    and collective insight about data” (ManyEyes)
   Founded by 3 visualization experts working at IBM’s
    Visual Communication Lab
   Founders aim to “Democratize data”
   Participatory: upload or download data; add
    comments; participate in forums; rate data &
   Interactive: query data, change parameters, zoom in
    and out
 How to Create a Many
  Eyes Visualization

 Find data, e.g.
    Data that you have collected
    Census data
    Other data sources
 Massage data
    Get it into Excel or tab delimited format
    Standardize the values
 Upload into Many Eyes
 Select the appropriate visualization
 Example:
    CO2 Emissions by State
    Survival on the Titanic
 3. Visualizing Data Using Swivel
 “Swivel's mission is to make data useful so people
  share insights, make great decisions and improve
 Free data upload & visualization (fee for keeping data
  private & secure)
 Features:
    Comparison
    Correlation
    Combination
    Toolbar for Excel (on PC)
 Example: Primary Education in Mali

       4. Google Spreadsheets +
 Create spreadsheets using Google Docs (free)
    Collaborate
    Publish
 Visualize using charts & gadgets
 To create a visualization, select Insert> Gadgets> [type
  of visualization] in Google Spreadsheets
 Getting the data into the right format can be tricky…
 Motion Chart example
   Exercise 3: Data Visualization
 Working with a partner, explore the visualizations at
  ManyEyes, Swivel, Wordle, or Google
 How might this tool be used to support your research?
  What are its shortcomings?
  IV. Share Your Research and
        Raise Its Visibility

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself
without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine,
receives light without darkening me.” (Thomas Jefferson)

The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority?
 Information abundance = shift in
  establishing scholarly authority
 Old model: scholarly credentials,
  peer review, # of citations
 Web 2.0 model: “collective
  intelligence,” e.g. Amazon
  recommendations, votes, tagging
 Web 3.0: “algorithmic filtration” of
  authority based on…
    Prestige of publisher, author,
    Links to article
    Discussions in blogspace,
                                          Michael Jensen, “The New
      comments in posts, etc.             Metrics of Scholarly Authority”
    Nature of the language in            Chronicle Review (6/15/2007)
      comments: positive, negative
    Inclusion of a document in lists     41b00601.htm
      of "best of," in syllabi, indexes
    Types of tags assigned to it
    Etc.
Increasing Visibility: The Case of
  1/29/2009: 69 visits to
   home page
  1/30: DiRT included in
   Scout Report: 902 visits
  2/3: DiRT blogged by
   Cathy Davidson &
   referenced by Brett
   Bobley: 492 visits on
  2/4: DiRT included in
   MetaFilter: 730 visits on
 Contribute to Rice’s Institutional
    Finding Information at Fondren
 You can type the name of a favorite database into the
    search bar at the Fondren web site
   To get a list of resources relevant to a particular field,
   Follow the Full Text at Fondren link to get the text, if
   Ask a reference librarian for help (you can even do so
    through online chat)
   Get research tips from Fondren Library on Twitter:
 Tools come and go. To avoid getting trapped,
  choose tools that:
    Are fairly mature
    Have a number of adopters
    Allow you to easily export data in standard formats.
 Watch out for viruses.
 You may be sacrificing some privacy (or dignity) in
  exchange for access to some tools.
 Sometimes you can waste a lot of time learning a
  new tool that doesn’t do what you thought it would
                      More Info
 Find links cited in this talk at
 Visit DiRT ( to
  find more information about digital research tools--and
  please provide feedback

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