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Slideshare – It’s Working For Me

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 Feb 2007

One of the first posts to this blogs, back in November 2006, describes my initial experiments with the Slideshare repository for presentations.

Slideshare Repository 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 his profile I discover that srains has a blog, Rolling Rains, which explores ‘the adoption of Universal Design (Design-for-All; Human-Centered Design) by the tourism industry’.

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,, 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.

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14 Responses to “Slideshare – It’s Working For Me”

  1. It was very pleasing to receive a ping from Jonathan Boutelle on my Slideshare acount very shortly after this post was published.

    Looking on my referrer logs I found that Jonathon had, very quickly, posted on article about my post with the title
    SlideShare: an evolving social system.

    Who is this Jonathan Boutelle, I wondered? Well a quick Google search reveals that he’s the CTO of Slideshare and, last November, he was
    interviewed in Indezine.

    So he’s read this posting and has commented on it in his blog. And he might come back to read any comments. Here then, it would seem, is an opportunity to get your views across to the CTO of the company.

    A question I’d like to ask is, as you can upload PDFs to Slideshare, could a service such as Slideshare act as an e-prints repository, providing access to PDFs of peer-reviewed papers? Clearey you’d need to change the aspect ratio from portrait to landscape (as you can see from my test case).

    A second question is: do you have any concerns regarding the accessibility of the service?

  2. Quite by chance I abandoned using my mouse this week (I do this on an annual basis). I can no longer play any slideshare presentations.

  3. Brian,

    Just to confirm that Jonathon takes an active interest in Slideshare.

    He responded to my uploads of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French versions of the principles of Universal Design in preparation for a presentation at Disabled People’s International World Assembly on the UN Convention on disability rights. I learned from Jonathon that “slideshare embeds transcripts into the web page, so the content is accessible to people using screen readers.” I’ve asked a colleague at Sensory Access Foundation to test it. Do you have any experience using a reader with Slideshare.


  4. Michael Webb said

    Another use – I’ve run presentations direct from Slideshare when giving a presentation – it works just as well as using Powerpoint itself if you aren’t into annimations etc, with the added advantage that you don’t need to carry anything with you, and viewers can just copy the URL at the end of the presentation to view it again. I guess this might be a slightly high risk strategy!

  5. One one occasion I was given a PowerPoint presentation to upload to the presenter’s PC about 5 minutes before he was due to speak. I had uploaded the other speakers’ slides to my Web site prior to the event (so that participants could access the slides on their laptop, in the WiFied venue, and the remote participant could listen to the talk over Skype and simultaneously view the slides), but didn’t have time to FTP the files to my Web site. So I uploaded the presentation to Slideshare – it worked fine :-)

  6. This is all looks good and there a range of advantages to using it. I’m keen to upload relevant Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) slideshows.

    But does the slideshare website really attract the kind of user that services such as UKOLN and the AHDS are funded to support, i.e. those in the UK education sectors?

  7. Hi Alastair – interesting question about the audience. From my point of view, UKOLN seeks to have a global impact (e.g. our metadata activities) and so surfacing work in services which have a global auidence helps to support that. In addition, the global outreach can also enhance the quality of our deliverables, ideas, etc. as the ‘many eyeballs’ which a global audience provide can help spot flaws in our ideas.

    This argument applies equally yto the big. Looking at the Clustrmap for the blog (on the bottom right of the widebar widget) you can see the distribution of the global audience (most in the UK, followed by the west and east coasts of the US, central US, western Europe and Australia with smaller pockets elsewhere).

    I think the bigger issues, though, are the scalability of such service e.g. bulk uploads, scalability of the social tagging system, etc.

  8. Hi everybody!

    Phil: the accessibility issue is an important one. From a screen-reader perspective, I think the slideshare accessibility story is pretty good. We embed the transcript of the presentation in the page that shows the slideshow. So someone using a screenreader should be able to consume all the text from the presentation really easily.

    Also, it IS possible to navigate the slides without using a mouse. A “Next Slide / Previous Slide” links is provided at the bottom of the page (it’s grey, and small, and was originally intended to help the google spider crawl the site. But it is usable by humans. It’s just a little hard to find).

    We’d like to make the site even more accessible than it is, and accessibility isn’t our specialty. So feel free to drop me a line at jon AT slideshare DOT net with more input on this, specific pointers, etc.


  9. Brian,

    I’ll save you the time to go to your stats log. I clicked on JFraser pic at Mybloglog and read your message. That brings me here. Then I scroll down to this Slideshare post and noticed a librarian I met (on the Internet) who had saved your Web 2.0 presentation.
    So I arrived to your Slideshare through your blog -against the odds perhaps.

    I agree with you that Slideshare can make your ideas go further. It can also help like-minded people connect with you, then you see their slides… and so on. Sometimes the people in the audience of your original presentation may be a bit at a loss with what Web 2.0 is allowing us teachers and learners to do today.
    Some stats:
    -Only two people in my original presentation audience started exploring blogs.
    -A few used my blog in their lessons
    -6 saved it to favourites in Slideshare
    -I keep correspondence with two of them who are developing similar projects to mine.
    -On an accessibilty front, I translated my original ppt into Spanish to upload it to Slideshare, which opened a whole new niche of educators/viewers who are interested in my blog for teaching foreign languages and review it in theirs.

    Needless to say, two thumbs up for Slideshare.
    The only issue I would add to your post is the lack of context for the slides. A presentation is an event that involves the audience,the atmosphere created by the presenter, sounds, etc. Not mere slides.
    I ‘solved’ this by putting a link in a comment as well as in a slide to the site where text, English version, or audio can be found.

    I apologise for the length of the comment. Your blog goes strait to my RSS!

    Regards from Buenos Aires,


  10. Mrugesh said

    Interview with Slideshare founder Jon Boutelle.Jon Boutelle was born in Boston and grew up on a farm in Massachusetts. A degree holder in Psychology from the Brown University, RI, he along with Rashmi Sinha and Amit Ranjan have been on the helm of SlideShare along with the rest of the team based in Delhi and the US.
    Read more about it at

  11. […] Solution: Using SlideShare you can upload presentations for anyone to have access to [apparently you can also protect them and allow specific users only]. By publishing important content you make it readily available to staff for general knowledge; or to clients and other interested parties to improve your professional image and ‘authority’ in a specific field. By incorporating audio, you can also create an easy-to-access webinar to educate or inform. [want to know more? read: SlideShare – It’s working for me] […]

  12. […] on 6 April 2009 You know what it’s like. You’ve been together for some time. And you get on well together. And then something goes wrong. So you start looking for something new. And you start to get […]

  13. […] on 13 April 2009 You know what it’s like. You’ve been together for some time. And you get on well together. And then something goes wrong. So you start looking for something new. And you start to get […]

  14. […] escriure (i esborrar tot seguit): “Ja saps com va. Un conviu durant cert temps. I vos dugueu ben bé. Aleshores alguna cosa va malament. I comences a cercar quelcom nou.” Allò ‘nou’ […]

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