Thing 17: Screen Capture

A lot of people find it easier to learn how something is done by watching so video can be a great way of doing this when you are trying to show people who are not with you how to do something. I have used them professionally for how to videos but also personally when friends or family have asked how something is done.

Screen capture tools record your mouse as well as everything you click on and show on your screen. Screen capture is a great way for showing students, colleagues or a wider audience how to use an online tool.

There are a number of screencasting tools available, both free and for purchase. Often short videos convey as much information as needed without the need for fancy editing.

Some general tips:

  • If doing a voiceover speak slowly and clearly
  • Write a script if talking
  • Run through what you’ll be demonstrating in advance

Screencast-o-matic is fairly intuitive, so you can get started right away. You may want to create an account (so that you can store and keep track of your videos), and you can also watch a short demo that walks you through the recording steps.

screencast o matic

1. Press ‘Start recording’ in the top right hand corner.

2. A frame will appear (make sure Java is enabled); you can drag and resize this frame to suit your needs, and you’ll also see some options for size, etc.

3. press the red button and go. If you don’t want to record anything, make sure you mute your computer’s microphone (otherwise you’ll get a lot of white noise).

When you’ve finished, press the ‘done’ button and choose where to upload your video.

You can upload direct to YouTube.

Here is one I did earlier on Finding Exam Papers:

Thing 17

Why not record a short video? You can use the Library’s Screencast-o-matic account (details to be given in sessions or email Helen) if it is library related!

If you don’t want to do that take a look at some screencapture videos on these YouTube accounts:

RHUL Library

City University Library YouTube

Judge Business School

Don’t forget to blog about your experience and share your video!


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Thing 18: Podcasts

What makes a voice recording a podcast?

Despite many audio and visual sources being available on the internet, the term podcast really only comes into play when that content can be subscribed to or syndicated, or downloaded automatically (e.g. via RSS) when new content becomes available.

Podcasts can be listened to via your PC or downloaded onto your smartphone or ipod/mp3 player. If you are an Apple user then there are thousands to choose from on iTunes or iTunesU . For those visual learners out there, here’s a Common Craft YouTube clip on Podcasting:

So how do I find podcasts that interest me?
You can use one of the podcast directories (PodcastAlley or the wonderfully named Podcast Ferret ) or take a look at podcastnation where you can submit your own. A quick straw poll of colleagues highlighted the following but of course there are many library-related ones available.

I sometimes download some for long train or car journeys – if you have an MP3 player you can do this easily through iTunes or directly from the sites below.

BBC has loads – Radio 3 Composer of the Week, The Archers, Books and Authors, Desert Island Dics, Lauren Laverne
Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time
Joshua Rozenberg’s Law in Action
Dilbert Animated Cartoons
Alexander McCall Smith’s online novel Corduroy Mansions(Telegraph)
David Mitchell’s Soapbox (Guardian)
National Gallery monthly


The service was created to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content and PDF files for students within a college or university as well as the broader Internet; it has since been updated to include schools..



Open University

Oxford University

Library ones
Library of Congress – featured podcast series include Digital Preservation Slave Narratives and Music and the Brain
British Library – talks, lectures, discussions as well as those focused around current exhibitions. I liked: Educational standards: not as good as in my day and Who owns the future of the story?
Goldsmiths has a podcast tour of their library to help new students,  whilst other universities Oxford Brookes) use podcasts as guides for their services.
There are loads of reasons why libraries might find podcasts useful – in the public sphere, things like storytime and author talks can be great, academic libraries generally tend to focus on the areas mentioned above: tours and guides. from the University of Leeds also have podcasts on essay writing and critical thinking for their students.

The article Higher Education and Emerging Technologies: Student Usage, Preferences, and Lessons for Library Services discusses how students find podcasting an effective learning tool and academic librarians have been amazed by their popularity when they created one!

What do i do with them?
Click on the orange RSS logo to subscribe or pull into Google Reader.

How can I create my own? 
Audacity is the tool of choice for many but there is also Audioboo.

So it’s over to you! Why don’t you blog about the great podcasts you’ve found? Or maybe about where you think RHUL Library could be dipping its toe into podcasting – what should we be using the medium for? The lecture theatres are set up to record lectures and the Liaison team have been asked to do this.
You could always record one yourself …

Credit – Verena Price and Emily Allbon at City University who’s post I borrowed.

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Cool Extra thing: Fotoflexer, Photfunia, Speechable and History Pin

Fotoflexer allows you to mess around with your photos to your heart’s content – you can add any number of different effects. You can change colours, distort, beautify, animate or decorate. Here’s a few of me below!

Original Image

Original Image

Me as a diver

Me as a diver

Put borders on the photo

Put borders on the photo

PhotoFunia is an alternative to Fotoflexer which allows you to put your face on any number of scenarios: billboards, statues, famous films, paintings, surfing, being Father Christmas and playing sports.

Hosted by



me pop art

Speechable is a great tool for adding speech bubbles to images like this:

History Pin is another photo related ‘thing’, but is all about historic photos.  The site allows users to pin historic photos on to a map, and also to post comments about the photos.  It is great fun to browse around and see any historic photos that have been posted for your area.  Also make sure you take a look at the photos of Royal Holloway, which include some posted by the Archives.

The site is owned by google, who have supplied all of the map data.  This has been put to interesting use with a few of the photos, which have been overlaid over the modern google street view.

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Week 6: Information Literacy

What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.

Cilip, Information Literacy Definition, Source: [Accessed 17/2/2013]

It is one of the key areas of work for the Liaison team. It’s not just a skill for getting through university which is then discarded at graduation. Information Literacy is a lifelong skill for academic, work and everyday life. It starts (or should start) well before a student gets to university and should continue throughout our lives.

Some examples of lifelong IL would include

  • using your your IL skills to assess online offers e.g. are you being ripped off by an online scam? Is the offer too good to be true?
  • A student about to go on a workplacement researching their employer, finding out their journey to the placement and assessing the work culture required e.g. what clothing is suitable for a work placement in an office rather than in a factory
  • Making sure you’ve used copyright free images or lyrics on a party invitation or on your blog
  • Referencing web resources clearly in a project report for your employer
  • Not falling for an internet hoax

The lifelong importance of Information Literacy is shown via Barack Obama’s Presidential Decree

Information Literacy Theory

There are lots of theories on Information Theory which allow us to benchmark our services against other institutions. These are some of the most well known:

SCONUL Seven Pillars

CILIP Definition

American Library Association (ALA) Information Literacy Standards

ACRL Competency standards ACRL is the Association of College and Research Libraries division of the ALA

Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework(ANZILL)

Six Frames for Information Literacy Education

I have put some articles and useful links in the 23things Diigo Group, you can view them here.

Methods of Information Literacy Delivery


Information Literacy is a large area and can be delivered in a variety of ways. For example on YouTube, face to face or online via Moodle.

These are some good examples:

Our new Moodle Area




Cardiff University Information Literacy Resource Bank (I have used some of this in the Moodle area)

Further Reading

This week’s things look at Search Engines Beyond Google  and also Memrise which is a type of Information Literacy tool.

Don’t forget to look at the Cool Extra thing this week – lots of interesting things that Google can do!

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Thing 14: Search Engines – going beyond Google

Search engines market share

Market share of Search Engines Feb 12 – Jan 13. Source: StatOwl

When you search for things the chances are you use google (80 % of us do) but there are other search engines.  .Your  laptop possibly defaults to searching via Bing! Should you try another search engine?

This week  take a look at some other search engines, and blog on which ones you prefer, and what you would use in future

There are lots of different search engines out there, but the main rivals to Google are



Ask (was Ask Jeeves)

Try running the same search across each of these and see how results compare.

University of Berkley has a  search engine comparison guide which also includes the Exalead search engine.
SearchEngineLand has useful guides to using Google, Bing and Yahoo

You can see some very extensive lists of other search engines from the SearchEngineList and from internet guru Phil Bradley

Other search tools enable you to focus on specific types of data or on particular subjects. These allow you to cut out some of the less relevant or less academic results. Here are a few for you to consider – don’t forget to blog about ones for other subjects so as to share with other participants.

Wolfram Alpha Not a general search engine – rather a ‘computational search engine’ so great for finding statistics, mathematical equations, data, musical chords etc. You can check their subject examples for a suprisingly wide range of topics

Scirus for scientific information including journal articles, researcher information etc

TechXtra for engineering, mathematics and computing

Zanran for Statistics

Google Scholar  for scholarly papers.

Open Access Repositories
Repositories can contain full text access to pre-print versions of journal articles, theses, working papers etc. Much research is freely available, although sometimes there will be time delayed embargoes. This can mean that you will find different versions for example you may find the authors finished word document rather than the actual typeset and published article. Visit the Royal Holloway Repository here.

Many of the hits you find via Google Scholar are mined from open access repositories. You can also search repositories via Opendoar a world wide repository listing and directory. An alternative is Oaister which is now part of WorldCat. You can also go directly to a University’s homepage and search to see if they have a repository. This can be  useful if you’re looking for a thesis from another country or are looking for further information on a project associated with the university in question.

Meta Search engines and comparing search results from different search engines

You can compare the different number and type of results you’ve found between different search engines and Meta Search Engines allow you to do this easily. You may want to think about whether the quality of results vary and if different search engines offer different types of materials e.g. images or data? Can we ever search everything via a single search box? How much stuff is not included in search engines? This is something we are always telling students – search engines only cover a small part of the web.

Meta Search Engines

Meta Search Engines search across several search engines so that you don’t have to repeat your search in each one.  searches google, bing and yahoo and will state if results are exclusive to any of the providers Dogpile seems similar as it searches google, bing and yahoo and will state if results are exclusive to any of the providers. The design is quite cute with dog images though! You can search the UK version and compare results Zuula searches several different engines in addition to google, bing and yahoo. You can see results by each provider in results tabs at the top of the screen. You’ll see very wide variation between the different sets of results – you may also discover some odd results
Thing 14 Compare search engines

Try searching for your name in Zuula. How do the results compare? Why do you think that is? Is Google still your favourite search engine? Try running your search in one of the engines directly, and then compare the number of results you find running the same search using one of the meta engines – do you get the same number of results or not?

Adapted from the 23things City post on Google.

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Thing 15: Memrise

Thing 15 is Memrise – – a site that aims to make learning facts fun.  Particularly strong as a way of learning new languages – everything from Finnish to Mandarin! – it also provides a fun way of learning new trivia or even just improving your memory.  Memrise is also an interesting example of innovative ways of teaching and learning.

Memrise works in 3 ways:

1. By making learning Fun.  It aims to get you to associate silly phrases and images with the facts you are trying to learn.  These are called ‘Mems’.

2. By exploiting the Science of how the brain works.  It does this by firstly getting you to make associations between the pictures and the facts, then by testing you on those facts, but in slightly different ways and over a period of time (through 3 stages – Plant, Grow and Harvest).  In doing so Memrise aims to embed the facts in the brain.

3. By building a Community.  Most of the courses and the Mems are submitted by users and if you don’t like the courses that are on offer or the Mems that have been suggested then you can always suggest another one.  This means that you could potentially teach your own courses using Memrise.  Cambridge University Press for example use Memrise to provide an English Language Tutorial.

Plant a short term memory

For Thing 15 you need to visit the Memrise site – – and complete a Course.  You don’t need to log in to do this.  Once you have completed the course you need to blog about what you thoughts are on Memrise.

The Memrise site provides all the information you need on completing a course and a simple tutorial should pop up when you start to complete a course.  If you have got any questions or need any help then pop along to the 23 things training hours.

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Cool Extra Thing: Google Fun

There are lots of fun things you can do that use Google. Here are three of them (warning some may be addictive)

A Google a Day 
On this site they pose a question every day and you have to use Google to find the answer. The questions are not always easy.

Let Me Google That For You
Do you get fed up with people asking you a question they could just as easily google for themselves?
Let Me Google That For You shows them how they could have done it.
You enter the question and then send them the link.
Here’s an example of the results:

Google Classic

Google Gravity

Google Pacman

All the Google Doodles

Over the years, Google has released several of its “doodles”—a temporary re-design of the Google logo made as a tribute to a historical event or the birthday of someone who has changed the world for the better. Through the link below, you’ll find all of the Google Doodles, not only the American versions.

Fun Searches

Search Google for the Answer to Life the Universe and Everything

Type “french military victories” into the search field and click “I’m feeling lucky

Type “Do a Barrel Roll” into Google.

Google Tilt or Askew

Typing the word “tilt” or “askew” on Google (specifically if you’re using the Chrome or Safari browser) commands the search engine to “tilt” the whole screen slightly to the right.

 Zerg Rush

A game which encourages players to defend the search results against the miniature Google logos which attacks them.

Flight Simulator
What started as an Easter egg became so well-loved that Google eventually turned it into a regular feature of Google Earth.

Download Google Earth and go to Tools > Enter Flight Simulator, and you’re off to make a round-the-world tour.

Google Zeitgeist

This provides a review of the year using the google search trends.

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Week 5: Office 2.0

What is Office 2.0?
Office 2.0 includes online web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets). These applications allow users to create and share documents over the internet without the need for installed desktop applications.

Some speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death of Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office.

One benefit of such web-based applications is the elimination of different software versions and file types when emailing documents or moving from PC to PC. They also allow for greater collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file, simultaneously in some cases. It is easy to save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf).

We will look at Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and Prezi this week.

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Cool Thing 5: Slideshare

Whether you’re looking for information, inspiration, or a place to share a recently given presentation, SlideShare ( is this thing for you. Slideshare is a website where users upload their own PowerPoint presentations, allowing others to view and share them, as well as commenting and interacting with other viewers (think YouTube for PowerPoint presentations).

SlideShare is a great way to share information. Try searching for some Library-related presentations and see what you can learn.

(Why not start with this one on Blogging and Twitter?

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Thing 13: Prezi

Prezi brings even the dullest subject matter to life. It emphasises the connections between ideas and you certainly won’t experience death by powerpoint. Using Prezi can be a good way to ensure listeners remember your message!

It isn’t just for presentations but can be a very effective way of delivering information to be accessed without a speaker.  For example this guide I use on evaluating information.

Advantages of Prezi
Here is a video of Prezi’s Founder introducing Prezi:

This Prezi produced for 23 things City shows you why you should get prezi-ing.

Prezi is very flexible and  has two main advantages:

  • It presents ideas as continuous, not broken into slides. This ‘open canvas’ approach allows you to scale information and images according to importance. It is also useful to focus in on detail, then zoom out to show the bigger picture.
  • It does not require extra software. All you need to run Prezi is an online computer with Adobe Flash 10. This is particularly helpful in a conference situation, where laptops and flash drives can prove incompatible!

But there are others:

  • You can show online or download for offline use
  • Easily shared – you can work collaboratively on them too
  • Easily modified – and once embedded any changes will be automatically done
  • Good content can be killed by a bad PowerPoint but in prezi it’s probably harder to create something that doesn’t look visually exciting (even if the content is a bit iffy…) Remember we’re a shallow bunch.
  •  You can break free of the linear slide tyranny and tell a story in a dynamic stylish way.
  • Access anywhere!

‘Power corrupts. Powerpoint corrupts absolutely!’

This striking statement comes from Edward Tufte, Yale Professor of Political Science, Statistics and Computer Science, quoted in the London Evening Standard. Tufte is one of the most vocal critics of Powerpoint as a presentation tool, arguing that it eradicates nuance and limits creativity.

See the links under further information for other reasons to use Prezi over Powerpoint.

Creating your presentation
For Thing 13  we want you to create a simple Prezi presentation and blog about how you get on with it.

Here are some instructions on how to get started with Prezi.

Or watch this video:

Further information

How to create a good Prezi (a useful guide by Prezi founder Adam Somlai-Fisher)
Tips on navigating the canvas
Tips on grouping, framing and zooming
Sharing your Prezi
‘Why Powerpoint makes us stupid’ (an article that explores the dangers of presentation software)
Top 5 reasons to use Prezi instead of Powerpoint
Learn Prezi:

Prezi For The Win? Ten Top Tips To Make a Good One

How to Create a Great Prezi by Adam Somlai-Fischer on Prezi

How To Make a Fantastic Prezi by Rochelle Mazar on Prezi


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