If you’re a researcher dealing with a lot of online information and you find it difficult to keep on top of what you’ve read and where – even if you use a number of tools already to manage this – then WorldBrain might be your next best friend. It’s literally hot off the presses too.

WorldBrain is a (Re)Search Engine – it’s a search engine for a user’s digital knowledge. First, it allows you to to search all your online searches. This is similar to regular searching in the address bar, browsing history and bookmarks – but this usually only allows searching by title/URL whereas WorldBrain searches much deeper in your online searching e.g. keywords, authors. It also offers the advantage of searching your accounts in other tools and platforms, e.g. Evernote, Google Drive, Mendeley, etc. So you have easier and greater access to the online information you use.


WorldBrain is a Berlin-based project developed by a number of partners, including Mozilla Science Lab. It sets itself very lofty goals:

“We want to work on the goal of an increased (scientific) literacy in our global society through a better information quality on the internet”.

“WorldBrain is an open-source project that aims to battle (scientific) misinformation by developing open source search tools for professional web-researchers like science communicators, STEM students, journalists and librarians and online debaters to find, rate and share qualitative and trustworthy web content/notes with their friends, followers and the public”.

WorldBrain is a simple browser extension. It’s so far only available for Chrome but extensions will be available for Firefox and Safari shortly.

There’s also a handy two minute tutorial video on Youtube:

For more information, visit the Reddit page. Or follow them on Twitter.





Today’s blog post isn’t about writing a hypothesis. Instead it’s about (note the full stop). So what is

It’s free, open-source and non-profit software that adds a new layer to the web, allowing users to annotate and comment on online content. A reputation system is used for users to ‘rate’ annotations and comments, providing a high degree of ‘peer review’. is available as a Chrome plug-in or you can download a bookmarklet from the website if you use a different browser. Once you’ve registered an account and installed the plug-in/bookmarklet, you’re ready to start annotating any online content. You can comment on news websites, blogs, scientific articles, legislation, etc. By making annotations, you aren’t changing the original content. You’re only annotating the additional layer than users see and even then, they can toggle between the original and annotated versions at any time.

So how does it work in practice? For instance, The Disrupted Journal of Media Practice shows an example of how annotations have been made on an online book, Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software (Brown, 2015). Users of have been able to comment on specific text in this book, to provide further understanding or even to start dialogue about specific concepts.


In Nature Magazine last year, Jeffrey Perkel asked whether researchers would annotate online research papers. Already, has arranged partnerships with a series of publishers, including Wiley and HighWire.

So how else is it being used in education? At it’s simplest, can just be used in school classrooms to collaboratively annotate a poem or novel chapter. Everyone can comment and everyone can read each other’s comments. The same logic applies for university students and researchers; it’s easy to share knowledge and our reactions to and understandings of this knowledge with our peers. We can work collaboratively with peers to create content in wiki environments, but annotating existing content is also now within our grasp. is funded by the Knight, Mellon, Shuttleworth, Sloan, Helmsley, and Omidyar Foundations and through individual contributions (it originally started through Kickstarter). also aims to be neutral and lasting, with all comments being stored in the Internet Archive.




The first question you ask might be….”what is Slack?”

Launched in 2013, Slack really is the ‘new kid on the block’ in software, so expect to hear more about it. It is a cloud-based communication and collaboration tool, which allows teams to work productively, combining real-time messaging, archiving of documents and search.

Groups can communicate through channels, which are effectively ‘chat rooms’ organised by topic, which allows relevant discussion to take place. Documents and other content can easily be dragged and dropped into these channels, so sharing of information is simple.

Slack operates on a freemium model, which means it’s free as long as it’s used on a relatively small scale. For small group-based projects, it won’t cost a penny/dime/cent (choose your unit of currency).

So the second question you might ask is “why do I need to know this?”

Well, some Slack users have identified that it can have pedagogical value and improve the learning, teaching and research experience. Here’s just a few examples:

Slack goes to College: how it can improve the classroom experience

Notes on teaching with Slack

Instructors encourage Slack-ing in the classroom

So if you’re a PhD student teaching seminars and you want to try something a bit different, you might find that Slack is something you want to experiment with.

And with this growing evidence that it’s productive in the classroom, why wouldn’t it be the case for researchers? If you’re working collaboratively with other researchers – you might have used Dropbox for file sharing or Google Docs for co-creating documents. Slack integrates with these easily, and you have the added quality of quick and easy communication.

This blog shows six ways to use Slack for a research group. Piirus discuss the pros and cons of using it in a research group, whilst a recent LSE Impact Blog has a great piece on how it can connect disparate researchers on a global scale.

And you might find that your supervisor is open to the idea of using Slack to share ideas/files.

For guides on using Slack, these are available on their website. Just create a team, create an account and send invites – it’s that simple. Or join other networks out there relevant to you.


Don’t Dilly Dally, Back Up!


Swimming exams at Newcastle Ocean Baths, 11/12/1953, by Sam Hood
No known copyright restrictions

If you are investing your time on any project whether that be an article, report, video or PhD you will want to have the assurance that you can still access it tomorrow, the week after or next month. This means you need to have system in place to ensure your work is backed up. Each year we have at least one student who suddenly faces the terrifying situation of being unable to recover their work either through files being corrupted, their pc/laptop ‘dying’ or laptop being stolen or lostand while we have all the sympathy we often won’t have the solution at this stage.So what you should you do to save your work, peace of mind and sad looks?

  1. DONT just keep your work on a memory stick!
  2. Get an external hard drive
  3. Start using the back up system on your PC (Window’s Back Up system or Mac (Apple’s Time Machine
  4. Sync your hard drive with back up system
  5. Use a cloud storage back up system (there is a fee but it’s worth it if you want to ensure your work doesn’t disappear) e.g

(Dropbox while widely used isn’t enough since they provide no guarantee on recovery and in fact recommend you back up any work you upload to them)

5. Regularly test your back up systems, can you still access the work? the latest version?
6. Get working so you have something to back up

Useful links:

Effects of Social Media on Citations

When research is created, authors are keen to measure impact and how it influences both academia and the wider world. One key way of measuring the impact or the value of research is through citation counts – by this we mean how many times it’s been cited in other pieces of research.Social media has opened up a number of possibilities to increase citation counts as it gives researchers more opportunities to publicise their research and also for other researchers to flag up articles they’ve read. Researchers are now more aware of work they otherwise wouldn’t have known about and there’s now more scope for their own to be influenced by this. Research has been carried out into the effects of social media on citations. Does it really allow a greater dissemination and impact of research as the theory would suggest?

More modest researchers might not be keen to over-promote themselves and their research but there really is no point in being shy. Melissa Terras, the Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities wrote an excellent article a few years ago that identified a clear correlation between talking about her research through Twitter and blogging and the number of downloads of her research from UCL’s institutional repository. Her initial aim was “to tell the stories behind the research – the things that don’t get into the published versions”. She quickly discovered that three simple blog posts got 20,000 hits.


By blogging and tweeting about all her research, papers that had only been read a couple of times previously were now downloaded over 500 times, from all over the world, within a week!

Likewise, Eysenbach (2011) wrote a piece in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that asked whether tweets can predict citations. The research was undertaken between 2008-2011, coinciding with the rise in altmetrics. When articles were published, they were simultaneously tweeted. Eysenbach found that tweets can predict highly cited articles within the first few days and can increase citations. However, this often reflected the underlying qualities of articles, e.g. if they were written on timely or interesting topics!

Of course since then altmetrics has rapidly grown and been accepted as an alternative to more traditional metrics, such as impact factor and h-index.Altmetrics measure the conversations taking place about research. Perhaps on databases or discovery tools, you’ve seen the Altmetric ‘donut’ next to articles.


So the advice is: blow your own horn! When you write something, tweet/blog it. When you read something interesting, tweet it. Watch the traditional citation counts explode and use altmetrics to capture how much attention your research is getting on social media.

Eysenbach, G. (2011) Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on Twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(4).

Terras, M. (2012) The impact of social media on the dissemination of research: results of an experiment. Journal of Digital Humanities, 1(3).



Evernote is a note-taking, organising and archiving tool that’s rapidly become one of the most popular social media tools on the market. Launched in 2008, it had just 5,000,000 users in November 2010. Last July, it was estimated that Evernote has approximately 150,000,000 users. Evernote is a ‘freemium’ tool – this means that the basic version is available free of charge, but extra features and functionality comes at a cost – there are two additional tiers (Plus and Premium). This is par for the course with many similar tools. For instance, Zotero is initially free but can incur a charge for extra storage. However, in many cases, this can be avoided. It just depends on how much you use it for. Evernote is available as a desktop programme and also an app on most devices and it’s easy to sync between the two so that you can access on your phone what you’ve been doing on your laptop.

So why use Evernote? Well, there are plenty of ways that researchers could use it:

  • Organising documents. Rather than sort through folders where documents are randomly kept, you can create project notebooks of PDFs, Word documents, images and search within them. You can also add notes for context.
  • Clipping articles from the web. Using Evernote’s web clipper extension (available for most browsers), you can clip articles (or anything!) and access it anytime, on or offline.
  • Saving photos. Whether you’re doodling ideas or creating mindmaps, you can use the mobile app and take photos to access them anytime.
  • Taking notes. You can add to-do lists or notes from meetings, for example.
  • Jotting down ideas. You can write down the origins of ideas, dictate to the voice recorder or sketch an idea out and photograph it.

What’s more, Evernote integrates well with other tools that researchers use. You can save emails from Outlook to Evernote or even connect to Gmail. You can even send tweets to Evernote. With a bit of technical know-how, it’s also possible to create workflows that allow you to use Evernote alongside tools like Dropbox and Zotero.

There’s plenty of reading out then outlining how Evernote can benefit PhD students, early career researchers and academic staff. The LSE Impact Blog features a discussion by three academics using Evernote. City University has a Libguide that covers the basics. Evernote itself blogs on how researchers can maximise its use.

Further help is available on Evernote’s Help & Learning page VS Goldsmiths Research Online

godzilla vs gamera, cosplay
Godzilla vs. Gamera
by ItekiThwei Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Reasons to use

  1. it’s popular! 29 million users (4,769 identify as Goldsmiths), 8 million papers
  2. Easy to create a profile
  3. Build online global networks around your area of research
  4. Follow other researchers and research interests
  5. It looks nice

Reasons not to use

  1. As a venture capitalist funded operation (8 million dollars raised ) it relies on the selling of your personal data and that is it’s goal (it want’s your address book!)
  2. It’s not Open Access (you must have an account to read or download)
  3. Once you have added all the information about your papers you can’t get it back out (no export/import functions)
  4. No commitment to long term preservation (will they be around in 10 years? What happens to your work if it closes?)
  5. It’s license claim ““By making any Member Content available through the Site or Services, you hereby grant to a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, sublicenseable, perpetual, royalty-free license to reproduce, modify for formatting purposes, prepare derivative works based upon, publicly display, publicly perform, distribute, and otherwise use your Member Content in connection with operating and providing the Services and Content to you and to other Members.”
  6. It does not meet Open Access policies for HEFCE (very important if you intend for your research to be submitted to the next Research Evaluation Framework REF in 2021)
  7. It’s creepy (5 unknown people looked at me)
  8. Lots of bad spelling (Anthroplogy?!!)

Reasons to use Goldsmiths Research Online (Open Access Repository)

  1. It’s prime goal is to support the dissemination and sharing of research
  2. It’s non profit
  3. It’s definitely Open Access
  4. It allows you to import and export your data, you own it (very useful if you go to another institution)
  5. It has a commitment to long term preservation
  6. It meet’s the Open Access policies for HEFCE, Research Councils UK, European Council and many other funders
  7. It has a team ensuring good metadata
  8. It mainly has good spelling

Reasons not to use Goldsmiths Research Online

  1. It doesn’t look that nice (but we are working on it!)

For a more detailed breakdown of the differences between Academic Social Networks e.g. and Open Access Repositories e.g. Goldsmiths Research Online read

Maximising the Exposure of Your Research


How do you make sure your research reaches as large an audience as possible? How can you become a more visible researcher? There are a number of tips you can follow. We’ve linked below to a number of interesting pieces that might just help you get more readers and get yourself more widely known. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of maximising the number of visitors to a website by ensuring that it appears at the top/close to the top on a list of results returned by a search engine. This is usually a process used by businesses to find new customers. Websites higher up the list of results usually get more traffic and potentially more business. But SEO isn’t just something that those in marketing should know about. Researchers can learn a few lessons from this too to ensure their research appears either top or close to the top on results from search engines.

Anne-Marie Green has some useful advice for how authors can optimise their research, such as using relevant keywords and using them frequently and appropriately. Elsevier, one of the largest global publishers, also extol the benefits of SEO. Chris Grieves echoes these suggestions in a blog post and provides some really helpful tips for how to select keywords. Grieves also recommends ways to select journal article titles to make them discoverable. LSE’s excellent Impact Blog suggests more ideas in its essential ‘how to’ guide for choosing journal article titles.


Abstracts are short, yet powerful statements that introduce a longer article. These paragraphs often convince a reader whether it is worth their time reading the entire article. So the impact you make with an abstract is pivotal. You might find conflicting advice on what makes a good abstract. Emerald suggests a succinct statement of no more than 250 words. LSE’s Impact Blog suggests 200-350 words and gives greater detail on what an abstract should include. However, Times Higher Education recently featured an article that flew in the face of recommended advice. Research undertaken at the University of Chicago of scientific papers suggested shorter abstracts meant fewer reads. Their advice was more is more. On the other hand, perhaps brevity is key when giving your article a title.

Be An Active Online Researcher

When your research is published in an academic journal, the publisher will do promote it themselves and libraries and researchers around the world will have access. But it’s easy to forget the most important person in promoting your research: you. Having an active online researcher profile can do wonders for promoting your research. Utrecht University provides a wealth of information, including the actions you can take as a researcher to become more visible and how to use Google Scholar Citations. The University of Leeds also gives advice, such as making research outputs open access and making data shareable where possible. On the Altmetric blog, Fran Davies echoes these, but also suggests using blogs and Twitter to promote research and taking advantage of collaborative and networking opportunities.

We’ll be going into some more of these, such as Altmetrics, in more detail in future blog posts.


Davies, F. (2015) Tips and tricks: how to promote your research successfully online. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Else, H. (2015) Scientists: ignore the rules on writing to get citations. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Elsevier Biggerbrains (2012) Get found – optimize your research articles for search engines. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Emerald (n.d.) How to…write an abstract. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Green, A. (2013) Search engine optimization and your journal article: do you want the bad news first? Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Grieves, C. (2015) Maximising the exposure of your research: search engine optimisation and why it matters. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

LSE Impact Blog (2011) Your essential ‘how to’ guide to choosing article titles. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

LSE Impact Blog (2011) Your essential ‘how to’ guide to writing good abstracts. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Reisz, M. (2015) Should I keep the title of my paper brief? Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

University of Leeds (2014) Raise your research profile. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)

Utrecht University (2015) Research impact and visibility. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016)





Google Scholar: How To Also Search Our Collections

Google Scholar is a search engine that indexes the full text and metadata of a range of scholarly literature, drawing on information from publishers, institutional repositories and websites. It has become one of the most frequently used search tools by researchers and is often the first resource they will use to find academic journals, books and conference papers (ahead of the resources that their library subscribes to).

However, not everything a researcher finds on Google Scholar will be available to download, or even peer-reviewed. However, this doesn’t put students off using it. So how should librarians resolve this issue? Perhaps take a leaf out of Cothran (2011), who suggests that librarians “may want to provide more instruction and facilitate easier links between Google Scholar searches and library databases, rather than discouraging its use altogether”. So that’s what we’ve done.

Did you know that you can ask Google Scholar to effectively search our collections at the same time and show you which resources you can access the full text of? What’s more, it’s actually really simple.

First, go to Google Scholar. Then before searching, look at the icons at the top of the screen. Click on Settings.


Then click on Library Links.


Make sure both Goldsmiths Findit@Gold options are ticked, then Save.


When you next search, you will be searching for what is available through our collections too. Look for the Findit@Gold links on the right.


You can now access these articles. If you are on-campus, you should be able to access automatically. If you are off-campus, you will probably still need to log-in as a Goldsmiths user, using your username and password as usual.

Any thoughts? Just let us know:


Cothran, T. (2011) Google Scholar acceptance and use among graduate students: a quantitative study. Library and Information Science Research, 33(4), 293-301.




drimagesWelcome to Goldsmiths Library’s second blog, designed to help researchers make the most of the new technology that is available.

There is an ever increasing amount of digital tools, spaces and media that are available and that can be used to help students, researchers and academics. Understanding and navigating all that is on offer can be a challenge but also a benefit. To help you in your studies and research we will identify, explain and expand upon what you need to know and what you could use in your own study and research. We have loosely categorised these into 4 areas:

  • Referencing
  • Metrics
  • Social Media
  • Collaborative Tools

Within these we intend to cover:

  • Bookmarking
  • Annotating
  • Referencing
  • Research data
  • Open access
  • Blogs
  • Twitter
  • Academic social sites
  • Sharing
  • Data visualisation
  • Organisation
  • Image management
  • File conversion
  • Collaboration
  • Audio and video capture
  • XML
  • Geo mapping

If there are any particular areas that you feel you would like to know about then get in touch