Instructional Design Resources

Librarians sharing cool stuff

Session B301 – Mashups & Data Visualizations: New Breed of Web Applications October 31, 2007

Filed under: IL2007,resources — ellenh @ 12:18 pm

Darlene Fichter, Head, Indigenous Studies Portal, University of Saskatchewan

Web 1.0

  • realm of the HTML coders

Web 2.0

  • don’t need to know HTML
  • citizen journalists, stock photo sites
  • DIY Programming

What is a mashup?

  • uses content from more than one source to create a new service.
  • uses an API or RSS feed
  • sent in an XML stream

Mashup Ecosystem

  • Open Data
  • Open set of services and applications (APIs)
  • Us

The library could be one of the sources of content, as well as the place that creates the mashups that use content.

  • is a great website for sources of mashups.
  • Mapping, photos and shopping mashups are really hot right now.


  • Fastest growing ecosystem – Most of the sites we’re going to right now are mashups
  • Questions of authority and province – where is the data from? Is it reliable?
  • Don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to use APIs

Mashup Tools

Google Maps

Yahoo Pipes

  • A little more complicated than some of the other mashup tools
  • Except that it uses types of advanced database queries – boolean terms, etc. which librarians are pretty good at, so it’s not impossible to use
  • Cambridge Public Library – top book covers

Unintended Consequences

  • Garbage In, Garbage Out. If you don’t know the real source of the data
  • Client side scripts that modify the pages that you look at.

These days there are so many information rich data visualizations in newspapers and magazines. There are some really good tools out there to help you do that kind of thing.


Social Sites for Data Visualization

  • Important new medium
  • an individual should get value from their contribution
  • these contributions should provide value to peers
  • the organization that hosts the service should derive aggregate value and be able to expose this back to the users


  • Many Eyes – from IBM, will analyze text and display tag clouds. View and discuss visualizations, view and discuss datasets, create visualizations from existing datasets, upload your own data, topic hubs, select items to watch, track contributions, see comments
  • Swivel – tasty data goodies. Shows you teh source, gives lots of graphs. Very cool.
  • LivePlasma – shows relationships between actors, directors and movies
  • Gapminder / Trendalyzer – bought by Google

This was an amazing session – I learned a LOT about some really cool tools for data visualization and mashups. I’m really excited to explore some of these tools and see what could be useful for my library.


Session C105 — Cool Tools for Library Webmasters October 29, 2007

Filed under: IL2007,resources — ellenh @ 5:32 pm

Cool Tools for Webmasters

Frank Cervone and Darlene Fichter

Communicating Ideas:
    Use Jing during IM reference?
Picnik – online photo editor
    firefox plugin
– KerPoof (?)
    animated video tool
    sharing powerpoint, presentation slides
    also can use Scribd (can search text), SplashCast (combine ppt, mp3, images), Zoho Show (edit slides online), SlideAware (best stats, limit access)
– Visual Page Rank
IBM Unstructured Information Modeler
    load in unstructured datasets
    automatically classify and create categories
    works for 1,000-10,000 records


DiffDaff – compares files across directories (thumb drive and desktop?)
– LogView


– SOAP Sonar
    Testing and analyzing Web Services
Perl Express

Fun with Images:

Photo Slideshow
Flashgallery Generator

Search and Indexing:

Google SiteMap
LibraryFind (Oregon State)
dbWiz (Simon Fraser University)
– MasterKey (IndexData)
– IBM Omnifind Yahoo Edition
– Google Coop CSE
– OpenURL Referrer Toolbar
– FlogBlog


– Portable Firefox
– Asterix Logger v1.02
– Undelete
– Unstoppable Copier
– Simple File Shredder
– KeePass


My thoughts:
I’m excited about the two tools by IBM that they talked about – the Unstructured Information Modeler and the Omnifind Search product. I also like the idea of using Jing for quick visual help during IM reference. I’m going to try some of these things out.


More on testing websites in IE October 2, 2007

Filed under: resources,web design — ellenh @ 10:47 am

Thanks to this post at Smashing Magazine, I’ve found a couple more resources for doing cross-browser testing.

IE Web Renderer is great – you just have to put in your URL to see how your site looks in IE 5.5, 6 and 7. You can also get a shot of what the differences are between how your site is rendering in 6 and 7.

Browsershots will give you screenshots of how your site looks in Firefox, IE, Opera and Safari as well as a host of lesser known browsers.

And that’s just a taste of what else this article has to offer. Plus it gives the startling statistic that the percentage of people on the internet who use IE7 has surpassed the percentage of Firefox users. (I just feel sorry for them, really…)