Research tools, e-education and online anonymity

Information Today also publishes a range of journals, newsletters, books and blogs in the information space, including a wealth of online content. In this article, we bring you recent highlights that you may have missed first time round.

Research tools

Gary Price reviews - and is impressed by - the new version of the Wayback Machine, provided by the Internet Archive.   For Gary, Wayback is 'an essential internet research tool and should be one of the first resources discussed when teaching basic web-based research skills'.   The article provides a really helpful tour of the site, explaining the latest features to help new users navigate the site. 

Gary also recommends Archive-It, a fee-based service provided by the Internet Archive, which is keyword searchable.


This week the UK TV channel More4 broadcast the documentary Erasing David in which David Bond, concerned about information privacy, attempts to elude private investigators for a month.  The investigators use publicly available information about David in order to track him across Europe and, eventually, 'capture' him at an ante-natal clinic with his wife.  (Some viewers may have felt that he made the task rather easy for the investigators by not shredding his travel itinerary before putting it in the bin).   In Can You Really Hide Online?, Reid Goldsburgh explores privacy issues in the digital world and asks whether you really can remain anonymous on the web.  

Reid discusses the use of multiple online identities and explains the terminology used to describe such behaviour - a 'sockpuppet', for example is someone who praises themselves using a second identity.  A 'nymshift'  repeatedly changes their online identity to avoid being blocked.    Of course, online pseudonyms are not always used for negative purposes.  Very often people feel free to voice honest opinions or to seek help in an anonymous forum.    Yet, like David Bond, it can be easy to track down others whether they are using an alias or not.  Read his full article and be prepared!


Interviewed on BBC Radio 4 this week, the designer Neville Brody, spoke about his new role as Head of the Royal College of Arts, Visual Communication Department.   He spoke about convergent technology, the emergence of the digital public space and the new skills that are required to thrive in this environment.    The old educational model of ‘teacher and pupil' is no longer valid.  Teaching has to become more collaborative, particularly as his students have such a deep understanding of the digital culture that has impacted on their daily lives.   Staff will need to be retrained so that they can help the students ensure their ideas bear fruit.  He considers that the college will be an 'unfinishing school'!

The university students of tomorrow are already engaging in new ways of learning at school.  In Tools for Learning: connected and engaged, Victor Revero describes the rapid growth of educational tools and apps being used in US schools and describes the most popular and widely used.  These tools are supporting collaborative, project based education and creating connected learning.  Read Victor's article and follow the links to some of the resources being used by thousands of school students every day.

 Google and the realtime web

In Communication Google Style: interactivity and trust Jill O'Neill considers how Google is tweaking and developing its products to reflect the growth in demand of realtime information.   She describes how Google's experience with Google Buzz led to it shifting its thinking about how social networks work.   In a clear table format, she shows the functionality of each of Google's services and goes on to consider what Google will focus in 2011.

Photo courtesy of Birgitta Seegers via Flickr