Constant personalisation yesterday, today and tomorrow.

No matter where we look these days, the idea of personalized information streams continue to be supported by new tools, or new ways of working with existing tools – and all linked to our mobile devices in some way.  For example, where-ever I am,  I’m constantly adding items to my public Facebook feed, which ( I have to admit) has remained a constant as any number of other tools have come and gone. I need my tools to interrelate – all the time – easily, and quickly!

What interests me is the amazing uptake of ScoopIT. I was an early adopter myself, but have now taken a different view of the value of the tool – driven by Pinterest. Yes, I’m losing interest in ScoopIT – and here’s why.

I’m not interested in using the ‘built-in’ curation tool that Scoopit offers – it’s just not good enough at sourcing the professional feeds I want.

I’m not interested in having to use a browser-add on – as I just may not be at my computer to Scoop!

In case you haven’t noticed, a Facebook page looks pretty much the same as a ScoopIT page – so guess what – now I am favouring Facebook to do what ScoopIT has been doing!  e.g. Digital Citizenship in Schools vs Digital Citizenship in Schools.

BUT the ScoopIT ecosystem gets so much more traction!  Despite that, I am (like others) now getting really bored with ScoopIT links in Twitter, or Facebook.  When I click on a recommended link I prefer to go directly to the sources.  So there is the dilemma – to Scoop or to FaceBook?  I wonder what you think?

I also became jaded with ScoopIT  me when it insisted on a monthly package upgrade to be able to stream my content to multiple Scoops. Even ScoopIT education wants a monthly payment.  After some emails to try and explain that schools and educational institutions do prefer an annual fee for payment, nothing was put on offer. #FAIL

The other interesting change is the lack of ScoopIT buttons on mainstream pages.  You can Tweet, FB, G+, LinkedIn or Pin -  but you can’t Scoop!  #FAIL

So while I ramble on, the real reason for writing this post is to reflect on  just how much content organisation and curation keeps shifting. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are fluid places of relentless change.

Thinking about tomorrow?

Check out the new eBook feature enabled in Wikipedia.

We’re happy to announce that a new EPUB export feature has been enabled on English Wikipedia. You can use it to collate your personal collection of Wikipedia articles and generate free ebooks. These can be read on a broad range of devices, like mobile phones, tablets and e-ink based e-book readers.

This is a whole new ball-game for educators. Consider the option of getting students  (Secondary or graduate) to write content for Wikipedia, and publish it as their assessment if it is worthwhile? Consider the teacher or lecturer producing content that is related to a particular discipline and distributing it via this eBook feature – puts a whole new twist on open source publishing! Consider putting your learning materials into Wikipedia and weaving it together to package a knowledge element or topic of investigation?  I think this is a real ‘watch this space’ moment once again.

There’s an explanation and explanatory video at Animals in Space. Basic – but you get the idea. Is this the start of a new shift in information delivery spearheaded by Wikipedia?  I hope so, in the sense that we need to have information from many sources and repositories, but in the first instance we may simply have to plug into Wikipedia with our content. For example, I am toying with the idea of some new ways to assess ‘collection development’ for an Master’s level subject. Prompted by the media release from Wikipedia about the eBook feature, I scanned relevant resources and came up sharply against the lack of good material. Given that Wikipedia is highly searched information source on generalist information  I began to see writing material for Wikipedia as being far more authentic and worthwhile than writing an essay. Still written, but suddenly, with the option for an audience, multimedia content and hyperlinks the learning experience takes on a new focus.  More thinking on this, but I’m tipping that I won’t be the only teacher who begins to see new uses for Wikipedia.

Another tool that caught my eye today was Media2Go. Badged as a new reading experience, it’s just another way of ‘packaging’ what you want.  I’m never that keen on such tools, and (as I mentioned) I’m ‘over’ browser buttons (having lost count of ones used and ditched as media changed)! While I understand that business or corporate users of such tools may have a focussed area of reading, in education we do need to keep open and flexible.

But still worth a try, as its concept has some exciting possibilities. As they explain, the key aims are:

1. Cut out the noise
Bookmarks, saved articles, feeds –we’ve got all those on our browsers too, but how often do you really go back and read all the content you’ve saved? Right at the point of reading, you should be able to see topics that pique your interest and pull content on those topics instantly and without having to sift through tons of articles.

2. YOUR world. YOUR opinion.
We strongly think that we CAN NOT, CAN NOT become a society of homogenized opinions. It’s YOUR world and YOU should have a say in where you get your content from.

Maybe this IS tomorrow? Learn more at the video.

Fired up by BlueFire Reader

I have so many e-options to help me  do what I like doing a lot – reading for leisure and information. I wish I had more time – you know how it is – so flexibility is pretty important to me. So let me tell you about BlueFire Reader and where it might fit into my readers toolkit!

My Kindle provides me with books for pure pleasure, as well professional reads – which is great, because I love being able to take notes, and be able to search through the book for key topics. Better still, these books synch right across to my iPad, so no excuse – I have the book when I need it.

Now I’ve also decided to subscribe to some of my favourite magazines with Zino. Costs less than a paper subscription – plus I can read the same issue on my iPad or on my computer.  Even better – no magazine back copies strewn around the house.

Today I found out about BlueFire Reader for reading encrypted Adobe ePub DRMs.

I also use Adobe Digital Editions flash-based eBook reader for eBooks from my Uni library – a great way to keep up-to-date with various academic publications as it’s free, flexible, and so easy to use!  eBorrowing and eReturns!  Amazing.

Now here’s another great tool called BlueFire Reader that I have to explore!

We built Bluefire Reader because we value the unique curatorial voice of each bookseller and we wanted to provide book lovers with the freedom to buy books where they choose. Bluefire Reader supports Adobe eBook DRM because it’s become an industry standard across a wide variety of booksellers and public libraries. Adobe DRM allows you to transfer books that you’ve purchased from many different locations between your reading devices and personal computers.

If you have spent years buying PDFs and ePubs, this is the App for you!

Download this app to your iThing and then authorize using your Adobe username and password. The Bluefire App allows you to take notes. Just highlight the section that you want to bookmark and the note section will show up. For a new app, the reader seems pretty sophisticated.It also retains the epub page numbering, which is a boon.

To get your ENCRYPTED epubs on to your iThing, open ITunes and click on the App tab. Scroll to the bottom until you see something like this:App document section

Highlight Bluefire App.

Open your “My Documents” folder or “Documents” (on MAC). There is folder called “My Digital Editions” (created by your Adobe Digital Editions tool).

Digital Editions folder

Open this folder and then drag the books you want from Digital Editions folder onto the App section.
Transfer ebooks

Readers can use the Get Books feature of Bluefire Reader to browse and search for books from a wide variety of online sources as well.

Full post and information at  Dear Author: a blog by Readers for Readers.

ePUB an iRevolution?

Overlooked in much of the hype about the iPad announcement earlier in the week was a comment by Steve Jobs in the Keynote presentation where he mentioned that the iBooks app for iPad would take advantage of the popular EPUB format for electronic books.

EPUB is the same format used by the popular Stanza [free, iTunes link] app for iPhone and iPod touch. It’s a free and open standard format created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and it’s designed for reflowable content that can be optimized to whatever device is being used to read a book file.

ebook readers that currently use the format include the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Sony Reader, iRex Digital Reader, and the iRiver Story.

Read more at  All about EPUB, the ebook standard for Apple’s iBookstore.

Does this mean that Apple might be pushing for a robust EPUB standard.

(I do like the Shelfari-look on that screen!)