Tools for digital scholarship

Tumblr project 3 Jan 2012On 31 December 2011, I came to the end of a year-long project to record a screenshot a day on Tumblr.

This was prompted, in part, by a post on Martin Weller’s Ed Techie blog about the tools used by digital scholars.

I can sum up some of the key tools I use fairly quickly, just by listing the ones that appear on my Firefox one-click favourites toolbar. They include blogs, the university library, Google Scholar, Twittter, email, Flickr and YouTube. These seem the most obvious at first glance, but are they the ones I really use all the time?

My year-long project overlaid screenshot upon screenshot, to give a sense of the interconnections between my online work on different days. The original idea was to do just a whole-screen grab, but that would often include people’s names and photographs that I didn’t necessarily want to share globally. So I made a selection each day, and only occasionally showed my entire desktop. I tried to select a key representative image each day – when I was on holiday I uploaded photographs, and when I’d had a day mainly offline I tried to find a website to represent it. The piece evolved into an online diary documenting my year – and I’m now continuing the project into 2012.

The picture above is my image for 3 January 2012, which captures my entire desktop. It brings together international events (New Year firework pictures from Google Images), personal interest (a mashed up manga-style pic that used iPhoto, Comic Life, Google and screen Grab), national events and online tools (I note the changes in Twitter with a Jing-ed picture, but also note the trending hash-tag on the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence and reactions to the final verdict after 18 years).

When I have some spare time, I’m planning to look back over the year and try some analysis.

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