Archive for the 'Software Stuff' Category

Jan 31 2009

User Submission: Cool Tools for School

Sharing is Fun!

This isn't a picture of Kristen M., but she understands sharing too!

Here at SfSS we’re celebrating today! We’ve had our first user submission of a resource, and we couldn’t be happier. Kristin M. sent us to to this list of handy tools for students, and there’s a lot of great stuff here. Some of our favorites:

  • This dynamic, interactive periodic table lets you quickly and easily visually filter the elements based on any number of criteria.
  • LiveMocha is a social network for language learners. It can help you connect with other students around the globe who either speak the language you’re learning or are learning it at the same time.
  • FoldIt is a game that lets you attempt to solve scientific puzzles — specifically, by competing with others to fold proteins in the most efficient way possible. The solutions you provide could be used by scientists to predict actual protein folding patterns!

One of the most intriguing tools (and one that’s received a lot of attention in the press) is wePapers, which is basically a site for sharing, browsing, and reading academic papers and participating in virtual study groups. There’s a wealth of academic information here, and many institutions are participating. In many ways, it embodies the greatest features of the Web by creating a platform for anyone to teach and learn. However, some folks worry that it’s just a huge repository of papers to be plagiarized. (NOTE: Here at SfSS we NEVER condone plagiarism. Not only is it a serious violation of UMW’s honor code, it’s just a sign of intellectual laziness and an unwillingness to really commit to your own education. Don’t plagiarize. It isn’t cool.) We’d be interested in hearing our readers’ take on sites like wePapers. Do you see yourself using it as a valuable study resource? Or do you think many students will just abuse the access to all of that academic content?

BTW, we’d never seen the site where this list came from: makeuseof.com. It’s a pretty cool tool in it’s own right. There are regular posts similar to what we’re providing at SfSS, pointing you to interesting online tools and tips. Check it out.

Thanks again to Kristen M. for the contribution. Keep sharing!

Creative Commons License photo credit: clapstar

One response so far

Jan 02 2009

Zotero-iffic

The Dock and KM2P

Never Use These Again!

In our last post, we were up-front with you and admitted that we’re Firefox fanboys and girls. We hope you appreciated our honesty. Today, we want to share about one add-on that made us fall in love with Firefox in the first place: Zotero.

If you’ve ever struggled with keeping your research sources straight — particularly the ones you find while traversing the tubes, you’ll love Zotero. Once you download it, a spiffy little “Zotero” icon will show up in your browser’s bottom menu bar. Click on it, and a small panel will appear. This spiffy little panel is desisgned to automagically gather information about internet sources by scraping data off Web pages.

Basically, whenever you visit a site that has a source which can be captured, a small icon will appear in your browser’s address bar. When you click on it, Zotero will grab the bibliographic information and populate a little virtual index card. You can edit the card, tag it, annotate it and link files to it. You can also organize all those cards/sources into various collections and export them into standard bibliographic formats.

Right now, your Zotero collection can only live on one computer, but a new version is coming that will allow you to sync your collections across multiple machines.

Zotero can scrape information out of all kinds of Web sites: library catalogs, newspapers, journals, even some blogs. And if a site doesn’t work automatically with Zotero, you can always add items manually.

Remember, our philosophy at SfSS is to just try it out. So, if you’re not sure how Zotero could work for you, download it, install it, and start playing.

Creative Commons License photo credit: hawkexpress

2 responses so far

« Prev

css.php