I always like to hear about good things on the web. I have known about the website for a few years now and I actually forgot about it for a while, but have recently been reacquainted with Pandora Radio. Pandora is known as the Music Genome Project.
What's nice about Pandora is you can listen to music you like online for free, as long as you want. You create a personalized radio station based on a song title or artist and then all the songs that play after the first initial song are in the same music genre. You can have as many personalized radio stations as you want.
So, for example, I just clicked on the Stevie Ray Vaughn station I created and the next five songs that played were: I Ain't Superstitious by Jeff Beck, The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King, Crawlin' Kingsnake by Buddy Guy, Going Home by Ten Years After, and then the fifth song was another Stevie Ray song. The next 5 songs will be different artists and then the artist you started with will fall into the queue again. I like this because you hear new music you've never heard of, but since the music "gene" fit whatever artist or song you originally entered, the sound is similar and usually something you like. However, if you don't like the song or artist, you can let Pandora know about it. You can vote yes or no for each song and your radio station will change accordingly.Voting for the song actually improves the genome project.
Another option is take the different radio stations you've created and
mix them to play a "quick mix" which mixes up the different genres to
get a whole different musicset. If you want to buy the song, you can do that too.
Pandora has started a video series to go along with the genome project. Some of the videos are from projects such as South by Southwest or the John Lennon Educational Bus. Others are educational music related and there are many other videos to see like the Buddy Guy's Legends video when Buddy Guy showed up.
EbscoHost unveiled their new 2.0 interface today and although it was an expected change, it still came as a surprise. Many of the changes implemented are the result of extensive user testing and feedback.
With the new interface design, Ebsco has implemented what end users like and use. The layout is set up to default to 3 columns with similar items grouped together. You can also easily create a RSS feed to your search, and the "Add this" button makes it easy for people to bookmark and share the link to the article.
The changes make the Ebsco databases some of the most user-centered databases the library subscribes to. I expect to see other database vendors follow suit and redesign their interface too.
Click on the images below to see a larger view of the changes I think should be pointed out. You can also read more about the changes at the Ebsco website.
One of the coolest new tools I've been using lately is NetVibes startpage. A startpage is a personalized web homepage. Others include: iGoogle, Pageflakes, and MyYahoo. I've chosen Netvibes because you also have a public version you can share with others socially. (Pageflakes also has this feature.) Here is my Netvibes public page. Notice the different tabs .
On both the private and public page, you can choose what modules and widgets to add. Netvibes already has many to browse and choose from.
If you already have a delicious, facebook or flickr page you can have them fed to your startpage. See the larger view of the image by clicking on it.
You can also create different tabs to organize your feeds. I have one for blogs, database & journals feeds, and one I have created for research feeds for a presentation I am giving. Tabs help to organize your RSS feeds according to how you want to view them.
On the private page, you see the same modules as on the public page plus you can add a widget to monitor your email from your different accounts in one place, have a calendar, weather widget, and more. Its as easy as clicking the "add content" button, pasting the RSS feed URL into the box and adding it to your page.
Most databases will allow you to subscribe to a search query or the latest articles from a particular journal. Use the databases help feature or look for the
RSS image to find out how.
Here is a nice comparison of different startpages that discusses the different features of each one. At the bottom of the post is a chart that puts all the features together for easier comparison.
Watch the library workshop page for future workshops in late summer or the fall semester on setting up personalized startpages. Or follow the links above to create your own startpage now.