Wednesday, 19 May 2010

23 Things: Personalised Homepage

I have an iGoogle page that I used quite frequently for a while, but stopped in favour of using a bookmarks toolbar in my browser and links on my laptop organiser.  As part of 23 things I've taken a second look at iGoogle and really like some of the features they've brought in since I last used it.

The option of tabs didn't exist when I first used iGoogle, and is a nice way to divide the resources you may want to link to from a homepage.  I have set up tabs for procrastination and study, in addition to the 'Home' tab, and changed the theme.  I have added some gadgets, widgets and RSS feeds and rediscovered the joys of 'Frogger' in the process (although back in the days of our Vic20 I definitely knew it as 'Hoppit').

I then explored Netvibes, which I recently discovered through CILIP's Conversation page but had never used myself.  I entered 'library' selected a photo from a selection of related images and clicked a button to produce a starting dashboard.  Slightly disappointed that none of the images reflected the IT dimension of libraries these days - a photo of the new library of Tallaght would have been lovely, but never mind.

Netvibes ran a few searches on my behalf and pulled the information into one place for me with very little work on my part.  I can easily add and remove content to make the results even more relevant to what I am looking for.  I like the layout, with tabs along the top and information from various sources presented in separate blocks.  I can see the value of this resource especially for educational contexts, where different tabs could represent different subject or research areas.  I also like that there is no requirement to sign up fully to use this service.  I also had a quick look at Pageflakes, which seems similar to Netvibes but requires subscription before setting up pages.

I think that, of the three, iGoogle is probably most suitable for personal use, especially if you use other Google services already, since you can use one log in to Gmail, iGoogle, GoogleDocs etc.  Netvibes would be particularly useful for presenting information to targeted user groups, and it would therefore be worth considering using it within the library context.

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