I’ve been checking out the OPLN dashboards mentioned in the reading Learning Everywhere: OPLN – The ‘must-have’ tool for new librarians, and I’m finding Netvibes to be a pretty powerful tool for bringing together information.
When you first visit the site, you enter a keyword from which the site creates a sample dashboard for you to explore. I have to admit that the dashboard Netvibes created for me from the keyword “metadata” freaked me out at first – its front page consisted of three columns of apps tracking news on metadata, and it seemed terribly visually cluttered to me; I wasn’t sure where to look. However, the site directed me through a tutorial that made the purpose of all the apps/widgets more apparent, as well as showing me how to customize my screens for a look that’s user-friendly to me. The tour made the concept much more accessible and provided several points of entry for me to start customizing my information and how it’s presented.
I’ve been working on customizing this dashboard to include some of the OPLN resources I already follow, and it’s easy to see how convenient it will be to have them all in one place. I love me some Google Reader, but going from aggregating blog/RSS feed content to aggregating blogs, videos, news, and social networks all in one place is like upgrading from a bow saw to a chainsaw. This thing has some power in it! I love that I can control the content and layout over multiple tabs within the same dashboard.
My favorite feature, though, is a simple one – the ability to have multiple dashboards. Like many of my fellow SLIS students, I have multiple career interests and plan to keep as many professional doors open as possible. By creating multiple Netvibes dashboards, I can follow my interests in archives, metadata, special libraries, and digital collections individually to avoid confusion, but still have all the news conveniently collected in the same place. I can even have a dashboard just to follow LIS job postings.
This site is really going to help me out in organizing my OPLN and steering away from information overload; I highly encourage y’all to check it out as well!