Netvibes

We have been using the free web service Netvibes to set up some pages for the subjects we support (e.g. our Business & Economics Netvibes hub).

We think Netvibes is a great way to bring together a lot of information – the site markets itself as a “personal dashboard” and it is very easy to build a useful site for current awareness of your subject (or hobbies) using RSS feeds. If you need an introduction to RSS, there is an excellent short video by Commoncraft.

Netvibes is very quick to get up and running – you just need an email address to register, then you can create your own personal Netvibes site (you need to be logged in to view it) or a public one (which can be viewed without being logged in – all our Netvibes sites are public). You can only have one public site per Netvibes account. You can switch between your private and public sites using the Dashboard:

Screenshot showing the dashboard option

You add content to your site by clicking on the green cross in the top left corner “Add Content”:

Screenshot of where to add content on Netvibes

There are many different “widgets” to choose from but the ones we found most useful are:

  • Link module: displays a thumbnail of a website and a link to that site
  • Web page: displays a working web page in a box. The usefulness of this depends on how much you have to scroll around.
  • Webnote: add text to your page.
  • HTML: useful if you are cut and pasting code from another site to embed a feature e.g. a video or map.

The best use of Netvibes is as a dashboard for a multitude of RSS feeds (e.g. our Journals tab). To set this up, use the “Add a Feed” option:

Screenshot of where to add an RSS feed

Feeds for journals are usually available on the journal home page or explore via services such as http://www.journaltocs.ac.uk/. You can also follow relevant blogs or news services (the BBC and the Guardian have many useful RSS feeds). Keep an eye out for library training sessions on keeping up to date with RSS and alerting services.

As with all free web services, there is always the possibility that Netvibes may suddenly cease to exist or start to charge for use. However, Netvibes is a well-used and reputable site so hopefully this is an unlikely scenario!

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Do you know what this is?

This is a QR code or Quick Response Code and it’s basically a type of barcode. We’ve added them to the library catalogue, iFind Discover, so you no longer need to write the book details down – just scan the code and it will save the Location, Title and Call Number of the item you are looking for on the catalogue so you can find it on the shelves.

Try it out – all you need is a mobile phone with a QR Code Reader application installed, you can then use the camera on your phone to take a picture of the QR Code. There are a lot of applications you can install free of charge, here are a few links to the most popular:

The Kaywa Reader
QuickMark
Nokia Barcode Reader

Look out for them over the next few months as we start using them around the Library…

Forthcoming Library Developments

Several new developments are coming to the library over the next few weeks. The Study Hall space is being reconfigured to act upon requests from the students for more computer spaces. We will also soon be taking delivery of some new “study pods” for group work:

Library Study Pods

There are also some new display cases near the self-issue machines which hold A4 promotional materials. We will be using these to showcase research output, publications and events from across the University’s Schools so if any member of staff from Business & Economics wishes to promote their work here, we would be happy to display it!

Please also note the following planned activity for the 15th-18th April:

The East Wing of the Library will be closed to students and staff from 6pm Friday 15th April to 8am Monday 18th April due to a power shut down.

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the lack of floor and stair lighting, as well as no working fire alarm system, the book stock will not be accessible.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.