Embed Slidehare Presentations in HTML5


I am not a fan of Flash, but I see it as a necessary evil to share things like my tutorial videos and presentations on my various different sites. However it looks like that might not be the case for much longer. Slideshare has announced that they now have HTML5 embed code for presentations.

As part of our transition to HTML5, we are pleased to let you know that embedded presentations are now Flash-free. We have also made several other improvements to our embed code:

  • Embedded presentations can be viewed on iOS devices
  • New features in embedded presentations will be updated dynamically
  • The embed code is shorter and simpler
  • The embed has new Twitter and Facebook share buttons (we find that presentations with share buttons get shared 30% more)

Ironically, the button to copy the embed code is still flash … but that little bit of info aside, here’s my first attempt at using the new embed code:

No more Meebo?!


I don’t use Meebo regularly, I’m an Adium fan, but today Adium was acting up so I went to Meebo to try and log in to my chat clients and found that Meebo has been acquired by Google. Looking at the list of discontinued apps I noticed that it looks like pretty much everything … so I’m wondering what libraries are using these days? I know that many of you had Meebo widgets on your pages to facilitate chat reference. What have you replaced it with?

Google and Data

Two new(ish) tools from Google make it easier to examine and organize your data. Back in November they announced Google Refine (which looks totally awesome if I do say so myself):

Google Refine is a power tool for working with messy data sets, including cleaning up inconsistencies, transforming them from one format into another, and extending them with new data from external web services or other databases. Version 2.0 introduces a new extensions architecture, a reconciliation framework for linking records to other databases (like Freebase), and a ton of new transformation commands and expressions.

And this week was the announcement for opening up the Public Data Explorer to be used against your own data:

Today, we’re opening the Public Data Explorer to your data. We’re making a new data format, the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL), openly available, and providing an interface for anyone to upload their datasets. DSPL is an XML-based format designed from the ground up to support rich, interactive visualizations like those in the Public Data Explorer. The DSPL language and upload interface are available in Google Labs.

If I had more time to play with organizing and analyzing data I would be playing with these tools! Instead I’m sharing the info with you all so you can tell me your experiences!!

Mapping Friends

I’ve been on the road a lot this month and last and have had friends on Facebook and Twitter comment on my Foursquare checkins asking why I didn’t let them know I’d be in their area. Well the reason is simple – I can’t remember where everyone I’m friends with lives :) This is the new world of virtual relationships and for me many of these relationships are just as good with people I know online (and at conferences) as those I know in my everyday life. My point here is I wish I did know where all my friends were before I headed in their direction – so I asked on Twitter and I got two answers to my problem.

The first is using Bing to map your Facebook friends.

Now of course I need all my friends to put their locations on Facebook and share them with me so I can find them :)

The other option was Google Latitude, but I’m not sure I completely understand how it works. I think that all my friends have to tell Google their locations to see them.

Anyway, I’m going to give these tools a whirl before my next trip (aka today).

Google Maps Labs

Okay this is just sad. Apparently Google Maps has had a link to Labs since at least February, but I just noticed it today. I have used Labs before in my email and like the idea of adding new features to Google Maps – i just wish I was more observant and had seen this sooner.

My favorite new feature is the ability to draw a box on the map and have the map zoom to your selection!

New Librarian Q&A Site

I received an email the other day about a proposal for a new Q&A site for librarians to communicate with each other. The explanation I got was:

Stack Exchange was previously a paid service that was changed to free, and this Libraries proposal is based on an existing site operating on the old platform called Unshelved Answers. (It was created by the people behind the Unshelved library comic strip.) The existing site has a whole range of questions about things like policies, programming, software and other tools. There are a bunch of interesting questions trying to figure out book titles from snippets of plots and other book details. All of the user content on the site is licensed under a Creative Commons license and will probably be imported into the new site if it succeeds in getting enough people to sign up.

It took me a little while to understand the point of the site, but I think I finally get it! Basically librarians would sign up and post questions and answers to their colleagues on topics such as policies, technologies, or general fun things like ‘what are you reading?’ I see a great potential to build a knowledge base using this tool and it seems like something you’d all be interested in maybe signing up for.

Right now the site is in the vote gathering phase. This means that we need the commitment of 100% (but I can’t find how many votes will equal that percentage). If you’d like to see the proposal and possibly commit to it, you can do so at this site.

Visual Search for Flights

I have just been playing with Hipmunk – a new air travel search engine – and I have to say I’m impressed. I don’t know for sure if I’m getting the best prices (and can’t tell you that until I use it for a while) but what I am getting is a new way to visualize flights. As most of you know I travel a lot (an understatement) and sometimes I spend hours trying to book travel efficiently and cost effectively. Hipmunk displays flights the way I think – graphically.

I did a search from my two local airports to LAX (for my trip to New Zealand this fall), they were split between two tabs so I can jump back and forth easily (something other sites do not make easy) to compare times, airlines and prices.

I’ll keep trying Hipmunk before my upcoming trips and if I find something else worth mentioning I’ll be sure to share!

The New Zotero

Today I finished my column for the next issue of the Collaborative Librarianship Journal and in it I talk about collaborative research tools. One of those tools is Zotero and I have plenty more to share about Zotero so I thought I’d share a review of the newest version with you all.

Short version of my review – Zotero Rocks!!

Longer version.

First, if you haven’t heard of or used Zotero, you are missing out on one of the most handy research tools available online today. Zotero installs into your Firefox browser and lets you save both citation and full text information about any resource you can find on the web. Many popular OPACs or research databases actually have support built in for Zotero meaning you simply click a button on your address bar and the citation (and full text if available) is saved right to your library. In the newest version you can even set up your local copy to sync with the Zotero site for safekeeping and sharing. I have set up a public library on Zotero so that everyone can see what resources I’ve been saving and hopefully benefit from the articles/web pages/etc that I’m finding.

The other great thing about the new Zotero are the community functions. There are now group libraries where multiple people can manage bibliographies together. One of these such bibliographies is the Free/Libre and Open Source Software and Libraries Bibliography, a bibliography that was started by Brenda Chawner in 2002 and maintained as a static web page until recently. Brenda was able to import her bibliography into Zotero and because of the collaborative nature of Zotero I am now able to help her update and maintain this amazing resource (a resource that I constantly refer students to when teaching open source).

While I do give Zotero two thumbs up, I have noticed a few glitches with the new version and popular database sites, this means that sometimes I have to enter the citation by hand instead of using the handy button provided in my browser, but this is a small price to pay for the resulting convenience and collaborative power afforded by Zotero.

If you haven’t used Zotero or if you feel like you could probably learn more, you should check out Jason Puckett’s research guide – it’s a wealth of information and well worth reading if you want to get the most out of Zotero.

What I Learned in Europe

As many of you know I just returned from a trip to Europe. My first stop was in Bergen, Norway to meet some librarian friends and give a talk about open source at a conference. What I learned was that Bergen isn’t always freezing and that heavy coat I lugged around 2 airports was not necessary :) What I learned is that the friends we make online can be so very awesome. We talk to these people daily and keep up with their lives via their blogs, twitter, facebook, email – whatever – and never really realize how very awesome they are. I also learned that the confidence I have when speaking in the US does not carry over to other countries – something I need to work on before the next international speaking engagement.

I then moved on to Venice, Italy followed by Rome, Italy where I met another librarian friend – another awesome friend who took time out of her day to take us around town and see the sights with us.

Now all of this is great, but most of you read this blog because you want to know about the new tools I learned about – and so – here we go.

While abroad I paid for everything out of my bank account but needed to keep track of what was spent so my mother and I could split the expenses when we returned home. To do this I used Xpenser.

For most of my trip I was without wifi access, but I did have my mobile phone. Xpenser allows me to send receipts and/or details about my expenses via various different media (phone, email, IM, SMS). It also has built in conversion tools – like currency conversion and mileage conversion. This means I was able to send an email to Xpenser with a subject like this ‘2 EUR rome metro to hotel” and it would convert that to $2.98 with a detail type that says “rome metro to hotel” and a note that includes the currency conversion

Xpenser Line Item

This tool is great for those who travel a lot for work and don’t want to keep all of their receipts (or frequently lose them). Simply use your phone to take a picture of the receipt and then email it to Xpenser and it will record the expense along with the image of the receipt. In addition to all I’ve said there are many more features I have yet to explore, but I wanted to share this tool with you all anyway so that you can all start using it to make your lives easier :)