Friday, 27 June 2008

MySpace Study

Results from a study by Mike Thelwall of the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wolverhampton (UK), entitled "Social Networks, Gender and Friending: an analysis of MySpace Member Profiles" were published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology June 2008.

With two small samples of 15,043 and 7,627 member profiles, Thelwall was able to extract data to give a representative idea of the makeup of MySpace users. To summarise, Thelwall found that:
  • the median representative age is 21 (only representative because it is based on what the profiles say their age is)
  • women tend to be looking for friendship, men for dating
  • females and younger users have more MySpace friends
  • approximately 60% of MySpace accounts are inactive
  • many users only had the obligatory Tom as their friend
This study gives an insight into our users, both actual and potential and for those libraries who opt to inhabit MySpace, gives useful information to help best focus their virtual services.


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Listen to blog posts with Odiogo!

Today I have enabled my posts to be listened to using the free service Odiogo. It is NOT my voice!! "Odiogo takes an existing textual RSS feed and creates a new one, identical to the original one, enriched with an audio file for each piece of content. RSS feeds can be viewed and listened to with RSS readers such as FeedDemon, or FeedReader or through personalized Homepage/RSS reader services such as My Yahoo!, Netvibes or Pageflakes. With an MP3 player or an iPod one would use podcast management tools such as Apple's iTunes or iPodder." This means that you could use the "subscribe to my podcast" link at the bottom left of my blog and can get the content as podcasts via i-Tunes for example! The idea is then that you save time by listening to the posts rather than reading! I thought I'd try it out. If anybody fancies trying it and it works it would be good to hear.

Do you Twitter?

I don't twitter, but I know some who do...Therefore if you want to get some good tips, try 5 Twitter tips for college students by Laura Milligan. There are some academic uses - but I can't imagine that all professors will enjoy getting Twitter questions whenever their students want! If they are super keen about a lecture they might just Twitter each other about it.

Anybody think Twitter can be used to further Information Literacy??

Ways to search Wikipedia

With over 10,000,000 articles in 253 different languages, users naturally want to get the best out of their own online encyclopedia. ReadWrite Web featured the 10 top ways to search Wikipedia. I liked Wikiwix because it also searched for images (not faultlessly but still useful),
Qwika for the large coverage of other wikis and comprehensiveness, and WikiMindMap for suggested subheadings and exploration.

Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica

Just in case you don't know Encyclopeia Britannica have anounced that they are going to open their doors to user content. It will be limited to scholars and experts, who will be named, and have to provide a profile. How far this wil be open to abuse is unclear so far. There will be "a reward system and a rich online home for them to showcase and publish..."(acc. Britannica blog). Content will be separate from the main Britannica material. Guess this is a good thing, but how far this will affect Citizendium or Knol is hard to predict. Wikipedia will keep steaming on I suspect.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Facebook concerns

It is interesting that concerns over data privacy etc. aspects of Facebook and other social networking sites seem to be global. Lyn Parker and I have given a couple of sessions on "What does your Facebook say about you?" at Sheffield University (see and there was quite a lot of interest around this topic from all parties. I'm in Australia at the moment and in yesterday's newspaper there was an article reprinted from the Washington Post:
Hart, K. (2008) "Face like an open book." Sydney Morning Herald. The guide section. 23 June, 10.
It mentions studies by people in the US, including a study by Adrienne Felt at the University of Virginia who looked at 150 popular Facebook "applications" and found that the majority "have uneccessary access to private data". More info on her study is at

Friday, 20 June 2008

Who will rule the new internet

I read an interesting article in TIME (Who will rule the new internet, by Josh Quittner)while coming back from Austria. It was about how Apple, Google and Facebook all want to build the next great platform on the web. "The winners of the platform wars stand to make billions selling devices, selling eyeballs to advertisers, selling services such as music, movies, even computer power on demand. Yet the outcome here is far more important than who makes the most money. The future of the Internet—how we get information, how we communicate with one another and, most important, who controls it—is at stake." It's a good read. I see Ellyssa Kroski has blogged about it too and by chance we've both chosen the same quote!

BBC Topics

BBC have just unveiled a new project, BBC Topics, to gather content from across the BBC, showing you the most relevant content they have to offer on a range of specific topics. They've just a small sample of topics to begin with, but will be adding many more soon. Topics include cancer, climate change, inflation; countries include Russia, and Personalities include David Cameron and Nigella Lawson...

Death of Live Search Academic and Live Search Books

So Microsoft have pulled the plug on their Live Search Academic and Live Search Books programmes. The content as exists will remain in the generic Microsoft Live Search, but the two separate search facilities will be no more. Set up to rival Google's digitisation projects and Google Scholar, the hope was that the content would lure more users to go to Live Search. This did not happen, and there was found to be no sustainable business case for continuation, which means that Google has moved into an even stronger position with its Scholar and Book Search.

Universities with channels on i-Tunes

University College London have begun a channel which will feature lectures, interviews via i-Tunes. This follows the example of Open University's channel. Maybe this free educational provision will attract a new type of student and encourage them to take the paying courses.

Guides to Second Life

If you want some quick fire information about Second Life and what it is, you should try the new Educause guide Seven Things You should know about Second Life.

More from LOEX 2008

Came across a LOEXCollaborate 2008 Learning Wiki, using PBWiki which may be of interest. There are some examples of student class wikis. I liked the interactive annotation session where attendees to the session were given first-hand experience of how to create an annotation for a scholarly article using the CRAP test (currency, reliability, authority, purpose/point of view) : I'll have to use those acronyms for my evaluation teaching...

Monday, 16 June 2008

I am not dead!

It's been 4 weeks or so since I lasted posted....thanks to some contributions from Sheila Webber, you may not even have noticed! Back from vacation in Austria I've been getting over the shock of 320 e-mails on return plus a heavy teaching load last week, taking part in a seminar in Bradford and refereeing contributions for the Online Conference in December ....look forward to posting again later in the week. Austria was great -recommend it for cycling, walking, eating, drinking....

Monday, 9 June 2008

User created content

Gerry McKiernan just alerted us to a book that has a free pdf version:
Vickery, G. and Wunsch-Vincent, S. (2007) Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking. Paris: OECD. ISBN: 978926403746. The free version is at
This was originally prepared for the OECD in December 2006.