Saturday, September 16, 2006

Browsers, bloglines and Refworks

I've been following the technical help threads with sympathy. Initially I was finding some conflicts between some of the software and my Mac's Safari browser. So I ditched it in favour of Firefox which is great. It has sensible bookmarks and a great tab system meaning you can have several things open at the same time, all within the same browser.

As a journalist, I also cannot believe that I wasn't using bloglines already -- I always knew that RSS feeds had the potential to be a useful device to keep tabs on what was going on my beat, but had never got around to setting one up. I have now and its proving very useful. Trouble is, I was too enthusiastic I think at the start and am going to have to trim down my subscriptions... I had 492 new posts to read this morning!

I completed both the Information Literacy and Induction modules. Information Literacy proved to be very useful. I was unsure what to expect but the various introductions it gives to the software and resources available are first class.

Having got to grips with the various pieces of software, I have started to explore the the rest of the resources that are available to us as distance learning students. It's pretty impressive.

Locating the Mats Berdal article was problematic until I realised there was a version of the journal that you didn't have to pay for. The others were easy to find on the database which suggests that the Information Literacy module had sunk in after all.

Broswing that led me to start digging around for journal articles relating to media and war, and war reporting, which is my real interest and what motivated to choose this course. There is plenty more out there too so its a good job I got the Refworks account to start storing them all I suppose. Like Stefan here I would be interested to hear what students who have had experience using refworks think of the system. The only time I have had to deal with a bibliography was as an undergrad and I had an electric typewriter.

All in all, an interesting first week!


Sergio said...

Hey Tom,

great to see that you are getting to grips with the technology. To be honest, I also started using Firefox only 10 days ago (I was an Internet Explorer man until then). It is definitely much easier to navigate with and I love the tab system as well. I don't think I will be switching back again.

Yes, our programme is well worth it given the extensive resources we pay and provide for our students...You will be surprised even more as the weeks go by...You won't have an excuse for not having enough to read...although I would cut down on your RSS subscriptions! :)


David J. Betz said...

Tom, you've almost convinced me to switch to Firefox. I'm glad that you found the information literacy module useful since I wrote part of it! I think you'll find that there's a vast amount of material out there. The trick is learning how to get at it and sift the wheat from the chaff when you do. These are skills we'll be working on. I am a rather obsessive blog reader myself so I had much the same reaction to the aggregator tool: why did I not figue thsi out before?