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Archive for the ‘Web 2.0 Tools’ Category

Follow Changes to Any Website with Google Reader

Have you ever wanted to receive notification when a web page changes or adds new information, but were unable to do so if the website did not have an RSS feed? Google Reader has just added a new feature which will allow you to keep up with changes to web pages that do not have RSS feeds. For more information on this feature and instructions for setting it up, see this article on Google’s blog:

Re-format Web Pages for Easy Reading

Have you ever wanted to “cut the clutter” from web page articles and just be able to read the content without the ads and other extraneous information?

A simple, free online tool called “Readability” will let you do this. Readability installs into your browser as a “bookmarklet.” When you’re on a web page you’d like to re-format, click the bookmarklet and Readability will replace the page with the content only. The content can be re-formatted in newspaper, novel, e-book or “terminal” styles, and you can pick the size of the text and the margin.

I found Readability did not work as well for “discussion thread” sites (it would only pick up the first thread in the page), but worked well for news sites and the other sites I tried. If you give it a try, post a comment about your experience!

What will the web look like in 5 years?

What will the web look like in 5 years? Find out what Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, has to say about this. Some intriguing thoughts: the web will be dominated by the Chinese language and today’s teenagers will provide the model for how the web will work in the future. You can read highlights, along with a link to listen to the full 45-minute interview, here:

Curious about Google Wave?

Google released Google Wave, a new real-time collaboration and communication tool, to 100,000 beta testers yesterday. If you’re not one of the early testers but are curious about what Google Wave can do, check out this detailed description in the LifeHacker blog:

The Ribbit Wave gadget for conducting conference calls sounds particularly interesting!

Hospitals and Social Media — a Quick Note

Connie Schardt, President of the Medical Library Association, recently posted the following notice to several listservs. Her main point is importnat enough to reprint here.

“An interesting blog post: — How Hospitals are Quietly Leading the Way with Social Media at Perhaps attitudes are starting to change about the use of social media within hospitals.”

PowerPoint(less) Alternatives on the Web

Are you still using PowerPoint for your teaching? Kay Deeney recently attended the Annual Distance Teaching & Learning Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. One of the interesting talks was on Presentation Blogs by Ray Schroeder and Carrie Levin from the University of Illinois at Springfield. They used their blog, Power Point(less) Alternatives to demonstrate how to give a presentation via a blog. They also highlighted social networking sites such as NING as another alternative to PowerPoint. The speakers felt that blogs allow interaction through comments; facilitate hyperlinks; and provide a lasting and evolving resource to a topic via RSS feeds on the sidebar. See for more information and other links to interesting teaching ideas from these two!

MedlinePlus on Twitter

We are happy to announce that MedlinePlus has launched a Twitter feed! You can find the link on the home page in the lower right hand column. 

The new feed is called medlineplus4you.  When you get a chance, take a look at the other feeds that medlineplus4you follows; there are a number of feeds from other organizations that you might find useful.  For instance, one of the links is to LungAssociation from the American Lung Association, which currently has excellent references to information about air quality and wildfires.  Another is ReadydotGov, the Twitter feed for FEMA website for personal emergency preparedness.

100 Best Twitter Feeds for Librarians

If you’ve been wondering how to find librarians who share valuable information on Twitter, take a look at the “100 Best Twitter Feeds for Librarians” post at

This page lists the kind of information you can expect to find from the librarian’s Twitter page. Note that you don’t have to join Twitter to access other librarian’s Twitter pages; just click on the link in the article.

Buzzword: New Online Collaborative Document Tool

Adobe has released the beta version of Buzzword, a new online collaborative document tool and word processing program. With Buzzword, you can create, edit, and share documents with groups of people. Buzzword keeps a history of changes to the document, and allows you to export and import content from other programs.

Buzzword is a free service. I found the interface very easy to use and responsive to my actions. The export to Microsoft Word produced a document with the same formatting as I had created in Buzzword.

Buzzword can be accessed at You may also wish to view a YouTube tutorial on Buzzword’s features at

TwitCam: Live Video for Twitter

TwitCam ( is a new free service that allows you to stream live video to your Twitter followers. You must have a Twitter account to use TwitCam.

TwitCam posts a video description and link for your Twitter followers to find your video. When you are broadcasting from your camera, you can chat with your Twitter followers directly from the broadcast page. You can also record an archive of the broadcast.

Although this is intended for live broadcast to an audience, it could also be used to create a promotional or informational video that you want others to view asynchronously.

At the moment the service has a lot of test videos as examples. It will be interesting to see the videos that are created as the service grows!