23 Things for Archivists

Thing 30: Customized Home Pages

Based on Minnesota’s  More Things on a Stick library learning program

Get organized with a customized home page to put all your Web 2.0 tools and services in one convenient spot.

If you haven’t tried a personalized homepage—also known as start pages or personal portals—now is the time to explore this productivity tool.  iGoogle, MyYahoo, Netvibes, and Pageflakes are just a few of the services that allow you to create your own home or start pages.

These personalized pages are made up of customizable pages beginning with a main home page where you can add blocks of content called flakes, widgets, gadgets, or modules depending on which one you use. These blocks can be anything from your Facebook account to an e-mail account to a newsfeed from your favorite television station. In some of the services, you can add other pages accessible via tabs or other links from the home page. Once you have added the content blocks, you can drag and drop them on the page in whatever order works for you.

Your customized home page can be private, visible only to you, or you can make them publicly available to other people. Note that iGoogle cannot be shared unless you give others your login info (not recommended!) but you can create a separate Google account for a shared home page.

The fun and useful thing about your own home page is that you can collect some or all of the tools you have learned about in 23 Things for Archivists into one place. You can consolidate your RSS feeds, your Flickr photos, your Facebook account, your e-mail accounts, and any productivity tools like a calendar, all in one place. You can add weather, stock quotes, joke of the day, picture of the day, quote of the day—you get the idea.

Choosing which one to use is the fun part. While the features tend to be similar, you may prefer the look of one over another. If you use many of Google’s other services—Gmail, Google Reader, Google Calendar, for example—then iGoogle may make the most sense.

Beyond your personal productivity with all of your stuff in one spot, consider how you can use a personalized portal for your archives or staff. If you work with faculty, you can work with them to create these portals for their classes.

Tasks

  1. Set up your account in iGoogle, MyYahoo, Netvibes, Pageflakes, or one of the other services from the Mashable article (below, in Resources).
  2. Add some (gadgets, widgets, flakes, modules) including (if possible) one of the tools you have discovered so far such as an RSS feed, your email account, your del.icio.us bookmarks, your Flickr photos. Note that browsing through the thousands of gadgets/widgets available can take a lot of time! Same with browsing the iGoogle or others’ themes. It’s fun, but be aware of the risk of too much fun.

Blog Prompts

  • Blog about your choices and experience.
  • What flake/widget/gadget/module did you like the best?
  • Would you consider creating an archives info-portal?

Resources

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