One of the first posts to this blogs, back in November 2006, describes my initial experiments with the Slideshare repository for presentations.
I described how I had uploaded several of my presentations, suggesting that this would provide greater exposure to the slides (and hence the ideas) than if they were only available on UKOLN’s Web site.
A few days ago I received an email alert which informed me that a number of the presentations had been added as a Favourite by a Slideshare user.
From the other slide show he has added to his list of favourites, I have found presentations which are of interest to me (including one on Two Trainers Trade Twenty Technology Training Tips and one on standards used on Oxfam Australia’s Web site).
Revisiting my uploaded slides I discover that the most popular of my presentations is Web 2.0: What Is It, How Can I Use It, How Can I Deploy It? with 666 views in two months, with 6 users including it in their list of favourite slideshows (jensjeppe, cezinha.com, noticiasmias2002, gerarddummer, erywin and MCL).
I can then follow their list of other favourites and the slides which they may have uploaded. And guess what: people who are interested in my slides on Web 2.0 are also interested in other slides on the same subject. So this ‘social network’ provides a form of resource discovery for me :-)
Three months after my initial posting about Slideshare what can I conclude:
- It allows my slides (and therefore my ideas) to be accessed by people who would probably not find the resources otherwise.
- It provides some form of measuring the impact/quality of the slides by observing the numbers of users who have added it to their list of favourites.
- It help me (and others) to find related resources
Is there a downside? I need to remember that:
- I don’t know how sustainable the service is – it could, for example, go out of business or change its licensing conditions (perhaps charging for access to the slides)
- It is an example of ‘fake sharing’ – I can view the resources but not (easily) reuse the materials. In my case, however, I provide access to the original source files by including the URL of the master copy on the title slide and in the metadata.
I feel that these experiences provide some useful indications of features which could be adopted by the digital library development community: the importance of ease of use and lightweight approach to IPR issues for content providers; the advantages of getting content out ‘where the users are’ and the benefits of social networks for resource discovery.