Last year I happened to notice that David De Roure’s has updated his Facebook status to say that he’d achieved a ‘deci-goble rating‘ on Slideshare. I managed to correctly interpret this to mean that one of David’s slides which he had uploaded to Slideshare was a tenth as popular as Professor Carole Goble’s. The particular presentation which had proved so popular for Carole was her keynote talk on The Seven Deadly Sins of Bioinformaticswhich she presented at the 15th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB 2007) in Vienna, July 2007.
Carole’s slides are publicly available on Slideshare and are embedded below. By 7
JulyJuly 2008 the slides had been viewed 8,617 times and downloaded over 500 times. David De Roure’s most popular slides, a keynote talk given at the IEEE e-Science Conference, Bangalore in December 2007, have been viewed 2,613 times with 140 downloads.
Shouldn’t researchers be making greater use of Slideshare, I wonder, in order to maximise the impact of their research? And an additional benefit of doing this is that the materials will also be available for use by students as well as the researcher community. Indeed conferences such as the W4A 2008 Conference are now making speaker’s slides available on Slideshare, thus, as might be expected for a conference on accessibility, enhancing access to materials used at the conference.
The sceptics might argue that there is no guarantee that the Slideshare service will continue to be available over a long time span, or that there can be no guarantees of the reliability of the service. But these are somewhat disingenuous arguments, I feel. The 7,000+ downloads suggests a large numbers of readers who were sufficiently motivated to access and view the slides – and I think it is questionable as to whether there would be this number of accesses if the slides weren’t available on a popular service such as Slideshare. And if Slideshare were to disappear tomorrow (unlikely, I know), those users would have still gained benefits from the resource while it was available. The sustainability of the company question is one that we should be asking about our own services as well as the externally-hosted ones – will our resources disappear from view when a new CMS is installed, for example. And in the case of Slideshare, the recently announcement that “SlideShare Secures $3M for Embeddable Presentations” should be regarded as good news.
My own most popular slide available on Slideshare, “Introduction To Facebook: Opportunities and Challenges For The Institution“, has been viewed over 4,800 times in 9 months – not as popular as Carole’s, but worth almost two De Roures in its impact :-)
There will be a variety of legitimate reasons why researchers may chose not to make their slides available in this way – and I acknowledge that for some, perhaps many, speakers, the slides may act as a visual cue rather than a resource which is useful in isolation. But as Lorcan Dempsey said on his blog a few days ago about a presentation on “Web 2.0 and repositories – have we got our repository architecture right?” given recently by Andy Powell: “I find Slideshare a good place to look for pointers when I am wondering about current issues. Presentations are often elliptical, but are also current”.: And in a post on the eFoundations blog in which Andy announced the availability of the slides on Slideshare Andy commented: “with around 1000 Slideshare views in the first couple of days (presumably thanks to a blog entry by Lorcan Dempseyand it being ‘featured’ by the Slideshare team) I guess that most people who want to see it will have done so already: “. (And note that numbers of views are now almost 2,000).