Week 9

4 Apr

The End!

Welcome to the final week of 25 Research Things @ Huddersfield!

25th Thing – Reflection

Yes, you’re nearly there! A bit of a different exercise this week as there’s nothing for you to discover, but we want to learn from you. Spend some time writing your blog to summarise what you think you have learnt during the 25 Research Things programme. Tell us what you have enjoyed most and what least and what you think you might carry on using, if anything. Will any of the Things be useful in your research and work? Let us know.

Is there another Thing that you’ve heard about and would have liked us to include?


If you’ve made it this far, then we’d like you to take another survey so we can see how much you’ve learnt over the course of the programme.

Something fun

This is a tool which was introduced to us by a ‘Thinger’ from our first round of the course. It analyses your blog to tell you, among other things, how happy you are! Give it a go…


Well done for making it all the way to the end!!!

(Graduation Cap Cupcake by clevercupcakes)


Week 8

28 Mar

Normal service is resumed

We’re back! Hope you enjoyed the ‘Easter’ break? You’re on the home straight now with just 3 ‘Things’ to go – 2 this week and the final ‘Thing’ next week!


23rd Thing – You Tube

YouTube is probably the biggest and most well known of the online video sites. We are sure we probably don’t need to explain any more about YouTube, but just in case, read the entry in Wikipedia.

You’ll find everything from vintage Top of the Pops to extreme ironing. For a bizarre sock puppet take on library information literacy search for “Randy Weasel” or check out what we missed out in 25 Things:

So what has this got to do with research?

There are more and more research orientated videos out there, for example, take a look at this PhD presentation:

Huddersfield’s own Rob Lycett has a poetry workshop & installation video on YouTube:

Step 1:
Go to YouTube and do some searching to see what is out there.

Step 2:
Blog about what you have found. Try placing the video inside your blog by copying and pasting the code in the embed box, you’ll find this below and to the right of the actual video clip.

Note: Videos, like music downloads are bandwidth hogs. It is recommended that you complete this exercise on the University network unless you have broadband at home.


24th Thing – Podcasts

“Podcast” is a former word of the month in the Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary.

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minute commentaries to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.

(Apple Ipod Generations by Brendan Wilkinson)

iTunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple, is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options.

Some popular podcast sites that do not require software to download are:

Take a look at some of the podcast directories out there and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. Add the RSS feed for your podcast to your blog. Create a blog post about the process; is there anything useful out there?

Week 7

14 Mar

Is it nearly Easter yet?

The 25 Research Things team think it should really be Easter by now, so we have designated this week, ‘Play Week’ for all 25 Thingers. We hope this will give you chance to catch up if you need to, but we also have two things to keep you busy!

Easter Morning by testpatern

21st Thing – MyExperiment or arts-humanities.net

We have two options for you this week both JISC funded projects. You can either check out myExperiment.org if you are science, technology or social science based, or arts-humanities.net if your research is in these areas. You may want to look at both!



The myExperiment Virtual Research Environment was launched in November 2007 and is brought to you by the Universities of Southampton, Manchester and Oxford. It enables researchers to share digital items associated with your research, in particular it enables you to share and execute scientific workflows. It is used by 3,000 members ranging from life sciences and chemistry to social statistics and music information retrieval.

Take a look at this video which explains more about the project:

Step 1:
Have a look around the myExperiment site, you can register and search for groups or people in your research area.

Step 2:
Blog about what you found, will you use this for your research? Will you create your own group?


arts-humanities.net: guide to digital humanities & arts

Another project, this time supported by the JISC, the Arts and Humanities Funding Council and Kings College, arts-humanities.net supports research in the supports and advances the use and understanding of digital tools and methods for research and teaching in the arts and humanities.

Step 1:
Have a look around the arts-humanities.net site. Anyone can join, as a member you are encouraged to contribute information about your projects, tools and research, to publicise events and conferences, and to take part in and set up discussion forums register and search for groups or people in your research area.

Step 2:
Blog about what you found, will you use this for your research? Will you create your own group?


22nd Thing – Wikipedia

You either love it or loath it, but we admit that we use it all the time! Wikipedia is often the first place people look for information.

No matter what your view on Wikipedia is, watch this short film to see just how useful wikis can be…

Step 1:
Search Wikipedia for a research topic that interests you. Write about it in your blog; is it accurate, does Wikipedia flag it as not citing any references or sources? Be sure to click on the discussion tab on the article to see what people are saying about it.

Step 2:
If you have found an entry that does not cite any references or sources, why not create an account with Wikipedia and improve the entry using your research knowledge. Or why not write your own entry? Don’t forget to blog about it!

Week 6

7 Mar


17th Thing – Flickr

Photo sharing websites have been around since the 1990s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web and it was one of the first websites to use keyword “tags” to create associations and connections between photos and users of the site. To date, over 5 billion images have been uploaded to the Flickr site!

[ “Old and New Huddersfield” by nualabugeye ]

For this Thing, you’ll take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the cool things that people are using Flickr for.

Take a few minutes to explore these links…

Take a good look around Flickr and look for an interesting image that you want to blog about.


It might be a picture of somewhere you’ve gone on holiday or maybe a photograph taken near where you live. Be sure to include either a link to the image or, if you create a Flickr account, you can use Flickr’s blogging tool to add the image in your post.

When looking at images on Flickr, check to see if the image has a list of tags — these are keywords or labels which help you find images. For example, here are all the images that have been tagged with the word huddersfield.


Optional extra

Another option you have for including images in your post is to use the WordPress photo upload tool.

So go ahead, explore the site and have some Flickr photo fun and if you’re interested in looking at some photo hosting sites, then why not check out this story on the Wired website.

Another optional extra

If you’re feeling really keen, take a look at this website, which allows you to spell out words using photos of letters that are on Flickr. Fun!


18th Thing – Upload a Photograph to Flickr

Flickr currently has over 3 billion images, so we’re sure they won’t mind if you add a few more!

Step 1:
Create a Free account in Flickr (you will be able to use your Yahoo account, created in Week 1) and use a digital camera or mobile phone to capture a few pictures of something interesting. Upload these to your Flickr account and tag at least one of the images “25researchthings” and mark it public.


Step 2:
Next, create a post in your blog about your photo and experience. Be sure to include the image in your post. Once you have a Flickr account, you have two options for doing this: through Flickr’s blogging tool or using the WordPress photo upload feature.

If you don’t have access to a digital camera, then browse through some of the pictures from The Commons, download one of them, and then upload the picture to Flickr. The Commons is a collection of copyright free images from museum and library image archives.


Photo Etiquette

A quick word about photo posting etiquette! When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially children) is it advisable to get the person’s permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren’t taken by you (unless you have the photographer’s consent or the image is in the Public Domain) and always give credit when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog. For further information about UK photography rights, see this blog post which includes a guide written by Linda Macpherson (lecturer in law at Heriot Watt University).


Traditional copyright is very restrictive and limits what you can do with someone else’s creation. A number of alternative licensing models have appeared in recent years which allow you to share your photographs more freely.

Last week we looked at the Creative Commons (CC) license . Use the Advanced Search tool on Flickr to locate a photograph that has been released under a CC license. Think about what benefits a photographer might get from using the CC license.


19th Thing – Mashups

[ “Mash and Gravy” by chotda ]

One of the benefits you might have thought of is that using a CC license allows other people to play around with the image and perhaps combine it with other stuff — this is sometimes referred to as a “mashup”.

Like many Web 2.0 sites, Flickr has encouraged other people to build their own online applications using images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups that use Flickr images. Here are just a sampling of a few…

  • Mappr – allows you to take Flickr images and paste them on a map
  • Flickr Color Pickr – lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific colour
  • Montagr – create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr
  • Multicolr Search Lab – find images which match multiple colours
  • retrievr – find an image by drawing it!

Step 1:
Discover more mashups, web applications, and Flickr tools.


Step 2:
Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there. Then create a blog post about one that intrigues you.

20th Thing – Online Image Generators

[ image created using Spell with Flickr ]

And now for a bit of fun 🙂

These are websites that allow you to manipulate images easily. To get you started, here are a few sample sites:

Often adding the image you created to your blog is as simple as copying and pasting code that the page provides. If not, you may just need to right click on the image and then save it to your hard drive before using the blog image button to add it to your post. If you’re having difficulty getting your image added to a post in your blog, ask a colleague for help or email the team.

Have a play around with some of the image generators we’ve linked to and maybe see if you can find some more via Google.


Week 5

28 Feb

Sharing content you’ve created

14th Thing – SlideShare and Prezi

SlideShare, launched in 2006, does for PowerPoint presentations what YouTube did for videos. The site, which gets an estimated 12 million unique visitors per month, allows you to share PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote and OpenOffice presentations.

As well as being able to annotate and add audio, comments and tags (like we saw in week 3) to your uploaded presentations, you can easily embed the slides into a WordPress blog post, just like this…

Adding your presentations to a site like SlideShare allows others to easily find them and is a great way of forging new contacts.

Prezi, which officially launched in 2009, provides a different approach to developing a presentating – rather than using multiple individual slides, you use a single canvas. Prezi allows you to zoom around the canvas from item to item.

To get an idea of how Prezi looks, view this presentation by Adam Somlai-Fischer: “Why should you move beyond slides?”. Once the page has loaded, use the large arrow to move forward through the presentation. You might like to see if you can figure out how to make the presentation play automatically.

To learn a bit more about Prezi, read this blog post by Ned Potter (University of Leeds): “Prezi For The Win? Ten Top Tips To Make a Good One

Step 1:
Search SlideShare and Prezi and looks for some presentations relevant to your interests of areas of research. If you find a particularly useful presentation, write a short blog post about it.

Step 2:
Do you prefer the more traditional style of PowerPoint presentations or do you like the more dynamic Prezi style?


15th Thing – Google Documents

So, what happens if you are working on a collaboration with colleagues from different universities, or even the commercial sector? If you have a document you are all contributing to, how do you know which version 2.1 is the correct one! Where do you store the master copy?

Google Docs may be just the thing for you!

Google Docs is a tool that allows you to share work online. This could be documents, spreadsheets, presentations and/or drawings, which you can upload from your PC or create from scratch within the tool. The video below will show you the benefits of using Google Docs:

Step 1:
Using the username and password for your Google account (the one you created in Week 1) log on to Google Docs.

Step 2:
Click on the ‘Create New’ button beneath the Google Docs logo and then decide whether you’re going to create a document, spreadsheet, presentation or drawing.

Step 3:
Depending on your choice, you’ll now be in a word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation or drawing area. Enter text or data as appropriate and use the formatting toolbar to format your work. N.B. Detailed support pages are available from Google.

Step 4:
When you have finished creating your masterpiece, click on ‘File’ and then ‘Save’.

Step 5:
Now share your work with another 25 Thinger. Click on the ‘Share’ button in the top right hand corner of the screen and then select ‘Sharing settings’. Enter the e-mail address of the person you would like to share this item with in the ‘Add people’ box and decide whether you’re going to allow them to edit or simply view it. This person will then receive an e-mail containing a direct link to the item.

After coming up with the idea for 25 Research Things @ Huddersfield on Twitter, we used Google Docs to plan, write and share the original outlines of this course!


16th Thing – Creative Commons

Next week we are going to look at images, but before we do, ever wondered about who owns the copyright of images on Flickr etc.?

Ever wondered what the Creative Commons licence is on this blog?

Creative Commons has released several copyright-licenses which allow creators on content to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.

Visit to the Creative Commons pages to learn more about sharing, remixing, and using creative works.

Step 1:
Visit the Creative Commons pages and assign your Blog a CC licence. You can download the logo, type of licence and link to appear in the blog.

You will also find Creative Commons licences appearing as an alternative to ‘copyright transfer’ for academic journal publishing. Open access publishers such as Biomed Central and journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals use Creative Commons licences to allow authors to share and remix their work. The University Repository also gives you the option to assign a Creative Commons licence to your work.

Step 2:
Blog about your thoughts on using a Creative Commons for you research? Who should own the copyright to your research? Would your research benefit from a Creative Commons licence, rather than a publishers “copyright transfer agreement”?

Week 4

21 Feb

25 Thingers Blogs

Don’t forget to check out the other Thingers blogs this week. You can find them on the right of this page under ‘Blogroll’. Take a look at what everyone is saying and don’t forget to leave a comment.

The 25 Research Things Team

Social Networks

This week, we’re focusing on social networks. These are websites which allow you to keep track of and interact with people. Some are very simple indeed; others are more complicated. Facebook is the most famous, but we’re going to look at some that are perhaps less widely-known, but very useful for researchers.


11th Thing – Twitter

Twitter (n) ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’. The site founders read this dictionary definition, and decided that it pretty much summed up what their microblogging service offered to users. However, as of April 2010, 100 million people worldwide were using Twitter to share their thoughts about current affairs, celebrities and – inevitably – cats. So there must be something in it. Take a look at this short video to learn more.

Twitter really took off thanks to a film festival and conference in 2007, where it allowed delegates to communicate with each other via a completely open ‘back channel’. It’s no surprise, then, that Twitter is starting to appear regularly at academic conferences. Funding councils also use Twitter as a way to communicate news and opportunities, and you can even find collaborators via the service (this 25 Things programme began following a Twitter exchange at a conference in July!). So there are many reasons to explore Twitter a little further…

This week, if you’re not already on Twitter, we’d like you to sign up and start using the service. If you are on Twitter, we’d like you to blog about your experiences to date.

For Twitter newbies:

Step 1:
Go to the Twitter home page and create an account for yourself.

Step 2:
Search for someone or something to “follow”. If you have any friends that you know are already using Twitter, search for them and click on the “Follow” button. Otherwise, search for “bbc” and follow one or more of their Twitter feeds. Or why not try to find your research council – most of them now have official Twitter feeds as well.

Step 3:
Over the next few days, try to remember to occasionally update your Twitter status.

If you’re interested in following them, here’s our selection of Twitter feeds:

You might also be interested in the recent Digital Researcher conference, which encouraged delegates to talk to each other via Twitter – this included virtual delegates from as far away as Canada and Brazil. You can view the archive of these Tweets at an archiving service called TwapperKeeper!

12th Thing – Lanyrd

We are not the only ones to have spotted the link between conferences and Twitter. Some clever developers have created a Twitter application which allows you to share the conferences you’re attending, and see where the people you follow are going to be as well.

It’s still in its early stages, but Lanyrd is an interesting model and we think it’s worth your while to take a look around.

Step 1:
Go the Lanyrd home page and sign in using your Twitter ID.

Step 2:
Take a look around and see what conferences are happening, and maybe think about adding one that you’re attending.


13th Thing – LinkedIn

One of the big challenges when using social networks is keeping a distinction between your personal and professional lives. While it’s great to have another way of keeping in touch with your work contacts, you don’t necessarily want those people to have access to your holiday photos!

LinkedIn draws a very clear line between the two. It’s a social network that’s designed specifically for professionals, and most of its members are there for work-related reasons.

The basic premise is that you, the member, are at the centre of an ever-expanding social network. There are people that you know (your direct connections). Then, there are people that your direct connections know (your second-degree connections). And there are the people that your second-degree connections know (your third-degree connections).

LinkedIn thinks that, when it comes to solving work-related problems, staying up-to-date in your sector or finding a job, the people that are a degree or two removed from you are just as helpful as the people you already know. So it provides a way for you to see and connect with those people. Watch this short video for a bit more detail.

So the final Thing we’d like you to do this week is to experiment with LinkedIn.

Step 1:
Go to the LinkedIn home page and sign up to create an account.

Step 2:
Search for people you know. Add them as contacts. See if they know anyone else who could be useful to you, and consider asking for an introduction. Also, look and see if there are any groups you could join – starter for ten; if you search for Huddersfield you’ll find the university alumni group.

Don’t forget to blog about your experiences with social networks this week. Have you made any new connections? Learned anything new? Will you stay a member of these networks after 25 Things finishes?

Week 3

14 Feb

Organising your favourite content

7th Thing – Tagging

Last week we looked at Technorati and the blogosphere, this week we’ll spend a bit more time looking at tagging.

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorising things that allows users to associate keywords with online content (webpages, pictures & blog posts). Tagging is designed to be both personal – you choose which tags you want to use – and collaborative – others can see the tags you’ve assigned, and can choose to follow you in using them.

[ Image by cambodia4kidsorg from Flickr ]

You may find this idea inspiring or think it is opening the door to anarchy, however, tagging is perhaps one of the defining elements of web 2.0’s user-generated content, and it’s not going to go away.

Step 1:
Look back on your blog posts and organise them by adding more tags. This can be as formal or as fun, as workmanlike or as personal, as you like – you decide how you want to present your information! Blog about whether you think this is order or anarchy.


Know how when you save a bookmark in the ‘Bookmarks’ menu of your browser, you have to choose a folder to put it in? And it can only go into one folder (unless you want hideous duplication)? Irritating, isn’t it …

In the first 25 Research Things we talked about using Delicious, but the very week we promoted it, Yahoo seemed to start to wind it down after many years as THE social bookmarking site – see the End of Delicious.

Highlight the Web With Diigo from CogDogBlog

The good news is that Diigo (pronounced as Dee’go. The name “Diigo” is an abbreviation for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff.”) is a looking to plug the gap. The even better news for Delicious users is that you can migrate your old Delicious bookmarks to Diigo.

Here’s a video clip to introduce Diigo …

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

…or take a tour to learn more

How is that social?

Diigo is much more than a place to keep tabs on your websites. It allows you to share what you have found with others via Twitter, blogs etc. You can build a personal learning network to see what others are reading. You can set up research groups (public, private or semi-private) and group tag! Everything on Diigo is there because someone has thought it’s worth saving; it can be nice having a human filter for the endless amount of stuff out there!

Step 2:
Now create a Diigo account for yourself and discover how this useful tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. Now use their ‘Send to Blog’ feature to share your research..

Step 3:
Is tagging a good idea? Create a blog post containing your thoughts.

You’ll be doing more with tags in some later Things, particularly Flickr.


8th Thing – LibraryThing

As a researcher you will soon build up a collection of your own books. But are they hidden away on a shelf somewhere? Or left in a box? Do you enjoy finding lost and forgotten gems on the shelf to read? Then LibraryThing may be just the tool for you.

Developed for booklovers, this online tool not only allows you to create an online catalogue of your own, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes. Add a book to your catalogue by just entering the title and find other users who share your reading tastes. There are lots of ways to use LibraryThing. You can even view your books on a virtual shelf, add a widget to display titles that are in your catalogue.

Watch this short video which tells you about LibraryThing…

So why not create your own library online. With over 1,000,000 users and 50 million books catalogued, you’re bound to discover something new.

Step 1:
Take a look around LibraryThing and create an account.

Step 2:
Add a least 5 books to your library.

Step 3:
Blog about your findings and be sure to link to your LibraryThing catalogue. How popular were your books? Did you find any discussions about your favourites?

Here are some useful LibraryThing links:


9th Thing – Mendeley

Cited in the Guardian as ‘most likely to change the world for the better’ in July 2010, Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network founded in 2007 in London. It combines Mendeley Desktop, a PDF and reference management application (available for Windows, Mac and Linux) with Mendeley Web, an online social network for researchers.

In the Guardian article Victor Henning, founder and director, was quoted as saying:

“What’s more, our database of research papers is doubling every 10 weeks. We’re now reaching 30m papers – we’re confident we’ll overtake the 40m papers at Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge by the end of this year.”

Here’s a video clip to introduce Mendeley…

Dr. Michael Hohl in the School of Art, Design and Architecture uses Mendeley:

What I like best about Mendeley is being able to see what other researchers are reading at the moment. It helps to keep track of trends but also get new ideas and find new connections of bodies of knowledge.

It allows me to add and manage references that I regularly refer to, such as books, newspaper articles, journal articles, web pages and even films. Managing means I can group references around a certain topic and also add notes and tags.

All of this usually takes time but there also is a ‘web importer’ button that allows to easily add an item found on the web.

Extremely helpful is also the instant conversion of citation styles which can be a tedious and time consuming business, such as manually converting from “Chicago” to “Harvard” style.

Step 1:
Take a look around Mendeley and create an account.

Step 2:
Take a look at the research papers in Mendeley by searching for your research interest and see if there are any groups out there that you might be interested in joining, or why not create your own group!

Step 3:
Blog about what you think to Mendeley. Did you find some interesting research? Have you made contact with any members?

You may wish to download Mendeley to your desktop, although you will need admin permissions to do this on your PC in the university. Don’t worry Mendeley works just fine from the web.


10th Thing – CiteULike

CiteULike, is a free service for managing and discovering scholarly references. It is sponsored by the publisher Springer although founded when its originator was attached to the University of Manchester in 2004.

Here’s a video clip to introduce CiteULike…

Take a look at the article, Citeulike: A Researcher’s Social Bookmarking Service, in the open access journal Ariadne.

Step 1:
Try searching for your research interests (or even your research!) and see what comes up.

Step 2:
If you like what you see, why not register and start tagging your own results? Here’s a video clip to introduce using CiteULike and RSS feeds to filter through articles quickly.

So what did you think of tagging? We realise that there is a lot to take in this week, but we hope there is something out there for you. Will you be using any of the things you discovered this week to help you organise your research? Don’t forget to blog your thoughts and tell us which method you prefer, or do you use something else?