Webslides are go

I’ve noticed a couple of new(ish) web services recently. Each allows you to create a slide show of web pages. Does that sound boring? I’m not sure it is.
Marjolein Hoekstra …

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4th August 2008 at 10:18 am

I’ve noticed a couple of new(ish) web services recently. Each allows you to create a slide show of web pages. Does that sound boring? I’m not sure it is.

Marjolein Hoekstra in the Netherlands (she calls herself CleverClogs for good reason) alerted me to one of the services, called Diigo. It started out in 2005 but March saw a brand new version, so it has the advantage of both experience and freshness.

The first I heard of it was when Marjolein, who is researching this whole area, told me she’d turned a series of my blog posts on handling the press into a Diigo slideshow. Very kind of her, to say the least.

You can play and pause, jump to the original page and add comments, sticky notes and text highlights. Rather handy if you want to step through a series of web pages in a presentation, say, and make sure that eyes are drawn to the right bits.

But, the idea can be used at a much more mundane level. You can email, “Here is a bunch of sites you might find useful” and provide the web address. Quite often, that’s all you need to help other people out or introduce them to your thinking. Here’s a Diigo I prepared straight from some of my sustainability bookmarks. The controls, incidentally, integrate well with modern browsers making selecting pages easy peasy.

The other service I had tried was JogTheWeb. Similar idea, not as elegantly executed but still usable. Here’s an example that provides links to Freeform Dynamics’ assorted bloggers. It’s possible to add comments to each page, although I didn’t. This one displays the URLs of the original pages but they are not ‘hot’ so you can’t jump directly to them.

Although these two free services do something similar on the surface and, for many users, this will be enough, the Diigo offering is also deeply social. In fact, the company describes it as ‘social information networking’. You can see who else has bookmarked or commented on the page you’re reading. You can find bookmarks by tags and you can even find like-minded people through the tags they use.

Finally, I thought I’d ask Marjolein why she chose to introduce me to Diigo rather than the others she’s looked at (including, it turned out, JogTheWeb). She said, “I found it very easy to create a slideshow: just create a list name, then start bookmarking the pages you’d like to add to that list. When ready, turn the list into a slideshow by visiting http://slides.diigo.com.” She added, “I discovered that each slideshow has its own RSS feed which means that when you update your slideshow ‘Green Computing‘, I could be notified.”

All sounds good to me. Thanks Marjolein. Do let us know when you’ve completed your research.

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David Tebbutt is an award-winning columnist and feature writer who specialises on the subject of using software and technology to increase business productivity. He's an analyst with Freeform Dynamics but, in previous lives, wrote for Director magazine, Real Business and was also editor of Personal Computer World. http://freeformdynamics.com

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