Are you ever overwhelmed by the sheer number of online tools available for librarians and other tech-savvy people? I will freely admit that I am. Nevertheless, I find myself wading through the multitudes to find the tools that best help me navigate my day-to-day work and teaching activities. While I am certainly no expert, I’ve taken the time to make a list of the online tools that have proven useful to me as a librarian swimming in a constant flood of information. Feel free to add your own favorites to the comments below!
Scoop.It – A platform that allows you to gather, organize, and share content from all over the internet quickly and easily. You can install a Scoop.It bookmarklet to easily scoop things you encounter, but I just use the website to scoop things and it’s worked fine for me. For each link you post, you can categorize it, comment on it, and easily share it via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. I’ve found it useful for keeping track of useful instruction ideas and things for LibGuides (when my library eventually gets them) and visually nice to look at. Recommended for those who often find themselves at a loss for where to store that perfect website they’ve found or are sick of searching through millions of bookmarks.
LiveBinders – Like Scoop.It, this tool allows you to gather information found on the web and categorize it for easy access, but LiveBinders also allows you to upload PDFs, Word Documents, and other files. LiveBinders can serve as an alternative to LibGuides and seems especially useful for instructional purposes, but I just discovered it (thanks to my tech-savvy boss!) and I need to explore it further. Recommended for educators or others who are looking for a way to organize their documents and websites all together.
Jing – A free software that allows you to capture screenshots and short screencasting videos, download, and share them. The software includes a little web-app that lives on your screen and allows to easily capture images on your screen–a tool that I’ve used countless times for LibGuides and PowerPoints (and this blog post). Many people have probably already discovered the joys of Jing, but I continue to find ways to use it in a wide variety of projects. Recommended for anyone who creates online projects that use visuals, or for those interested in making short tutorials.
Slideshare – a presentation-sharing tool that allows you to upload Microsoft PowerPoint slides or create slides from scratch that can be viewed online. This tool, when used well, makes presentations more palatable by focusing on visuals and making click-through easy for the viewer. I like it as an alternative to PowerPoint in LibGuides and other online platforms like blogs. Recommended for those who need to present information (with sparse text) in an online environment in a visual interesting way.
Poll Everywhere – a tool that allows you to poll audience members during a presentation using their cell phones and show results in real time. The program is automatically embedded into Microsoft PowerPoint, allowing you to add polls to slides easily. I haven’t actually tried it in a classroom yet because I’m still iffy about the idea of assuming that all students have cell phones or barring students from participating that don’t have cell phones with them (which is usually kind of a nice thing). Recommended for educators or presenters who want to make their presentations more interactive and interesting and know their audience members have cell phones.
Diigo – a free social bookmarking, research, and knowledge sharing tool created to mimic the ease of taking notes while providing a network for sharing and discovering information. Like ScoopIt and LiveBinders, Diigo can help you organize information you encounter on the internet, although the emphasis here is more on the social aspect of sharing the information. Diigo makes it easy to create groups, follow users, and follow the activities of those in your Diigo community. Recommended for those who like to share found online resources and gain inspiration from the findings of others.
Of course this only scratches the surface, but I thought these tools might be new to some readers and I found them especially useful as a librarian. Is there a tool that you use often that would benefit other librarians? Share below!