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All About Cool Tools

Web manager whiz Darlene Fichter gave a fast-paced review of some of her picks of free or inexpensive tools to help web content providers/developers. Her presentation is available on SlideShare (www.slideshare.net/event/computers-in-libraries-2010).

Some of the tools she covered were beyond my needs (such as testing style sheets, parsing RSS, etc.), but several could be useful to lots of folks. Here are the ones I picked out.

Aviary (http://aviary.com) — for image editing. It offers photo editing, logos, web templates, screen captures, and now an audio editor. It works with Google Apps.

Feed.Informer.com is an all in one RSS toolbox. It provides automatically updating news and feeds to your site. You can choose output format, select from templates, etc.

Are My Sites Up? (http://aremysitesup.com) When your site goes down, shouldn’t you be the first one to know? Monitor for free up to 5 sites 25 times per day. Premium edition available. Alerts by SMS.

socialmention.com is a “real-time social media search and analysis” – to check out the buzz. It provides real-time search of blogs, events, images, news, video, etc. and provides scores for sentiment, reach, passion, and strength.

Xmarks (www.xmarks.com) is a free bookmark backup and synchronizing tool. It also integrates with Google results.

Open source expert Nicole Engard then gave her pick of open source tools. Her presentation is also available at SlideShare as well as at her site: http://delicious.com/nengard/opensource. She included many intriguing tools that I look forward to trying. Who knew that there would be a free desktop publishing tool? Scribus (http://scribus.net) Take a look because there are tools for instant messaging, PC management, citation management, reference statistics, and more.

Dimdim (www.dimdim.com) – web conferencing, uses VoIP, share screens

Songbird (www.songbird.com) – a replacement for iTunes; from Mozilla; play Windows and Apple formats

SurveyMonkey has some limitations so she recommends using LimeSurvey (www.limesurvey.org) – it offers unlimited questions and surveys, installs free on your own servers; it’s also multilingual

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.
Editor, NewsBreaks

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