Sunday, 22 November 2009

Cool tools

For people who want to bring together different services to create a unique blend (also known as a mashup), there are some really useful and easy to use tools out there.

Widgetbox allows you to develop small applications for embedding in webpages. The easiest widget to set up is the blidget, which fetches an RSS feed (from a blog, news service such as the BBC or the University's News pages, tags, Yahoo! Pipe or Flickr) and creates a shiny widget for embedding in a web-page, or for turning into a Facebook application or Google gadget.

Yahoo! Pipes allow you to bring together (aggregate) several different RSS feeds, filter out duplicate items, add author information, and so on.

Flickr is an online photo storage site, where you can display your photos (either publicly or so that only friends and family can see them), and you can use advanced search to obtain photos for use in presentations and on websites under the Creative Commons licence. is a social bookmarking site, which means it is like bookmarking a favourite page in your web browser, but the bookmarks are saved on the website, and tagged with labels to make them easier for you and others to find. Each page on (whether it's popular tags, all tags, your bookmarks, or one of your tags) has an RSS feed associated with it, which can then be imported to a blidget or an RSS reader.

Jotform is the first web based WYSIWYG form builder. Its intuitive drag and drop user interface makes form building a breeze. Using JotForm, you can create forms, integrate them to your site and collect submissions from your visitors.

Google Scholar provides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. You still need an Athens account to log in to many of the resources you can find via Google Scholar, but it searches across all of JSTOR, Ebscohost, Blackwell Synergy, the DNB, Google Books, etc.

Google Books - Google have digitised many books libraries around the world. If the book is out of copyright, you can download the entire book, and search all of its content. Books that are still in copyright only allow a limited search. » More information

These are just two of the many tools offered by Google.

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