Web 2.0 Tools

The resources presented below take the perspective that the merging of technology, writing, and research has brought new opportunities for involvement, collaboration, and distribution as well as new challenges for conducting responsible research. These challenges require one to understand what is happening online where vast amounts of information are not only accessible, but the space between users, audience, and authors has merged and blurred and content is shared and mashed-up. Consequently, this wiki embraces the ideas and technologies of Web 2.0 as we present responsible research resources for the GW community. To get a better understanding of what Web 2.0 means, watch this informative video titled “Web 2.0, The Machine is Us/ing Us,” by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

The tools presented below assist the researcher in taking advantage of the collaborative and socially connected nature of online information gathering and sharing in a Web 2.0 environment.


Tabbed, extension-rich browsers offer features and client-side applications that make a browser more than a screen to online content. These browsers help the user interact in customizable ways with the content. Here are links to three such advanced browsers

  1. Firefox – Mozilla’s Firefox 2 is an open source browser that offers a fully customizable experience for surfing the web with tabbed browsing, spell checking in the browser, RSS feeds, integrated search, live bookmarks, built-in accessibility and access to over 1,000 add-ons. Firefox is installed on most GW computers. You can locate the browser in the Browser folder under Programs.
  2. Flock Flock calls itself the “Social Web Browser” because it facilitates easy sharing of photos and content as well as a search feature than anticipates your search by pulling up search results before you finish typing.
  3. Opera– The Opera browser is available for desktops, mobile phones, and other devices. It offers features that allow the user to customize everything from features to make surfing faster and more efficient to security and privacy issues as well as customizing the browser itself.

Chat, IM, and Voice Chat

  1. Chatzy – A free private chat serve
  2. Meebo – Allows user to see instant messages from AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and Google Talk all in one window
  3. Skype – Voice chat service with the ability to make calls to regular telephone numbers anywhere in the world.

Wiki and Content Collaboration

  1. Google Docs & Spreadsheets – A web-based environment for sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  The program facilitates sharing documents as well as live editing and revision by multiple users simultaneously.
  2. PBwiki – This is the wiki service behind the GW Plagiarism Project wiki. The name implies that making a wiki using pbwiki is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich.
    How to create your own PBwiki in 5 minutes http://educators.pbwiki.com/f/PBwiki+-+How+to+create+your+own+PBwiki+in+5+minutes.pdf
    Frequently asked questions on how to use PBwiki 
  3. Vyew – An online collaboration tool that allows a group to author new content or collaborate on PowerPoint, Word, Excel, pdf files, audio, and video.
  4. Wikispaces – Popular wiki tool for making web pages that groups can edit together.
  5. The Why and How of Using and Building a Wiki   http://blip.tv/file/246821 A creative and low-tech look at why one would use a wiki and how they work by Lee LeFever at Commoncraft.   


  1. WordPress.com – Is a hosted version of the open source software WordPress that anyone can use to create a blog without a domain or technical knowledge.  Building a blog with WordPress.com is free.  However, one can add enhanced features to the blog for small additional fees.  The WID STUDIO is a WordPress blog.
  2. Blogger – The blogging hosted tool provide through Google.  It’s easy to use, but one needs a Google account to use the service.
  3. TypePad – In trying to differentiate itself from the crowd but not merely focusing on the easy of using its service, but that it provides enhanced stylist and aesthetic features.

Social Bookmarking, Tagging & Web Archiving

  1. del.icio.us – This is a social bookmarking service allowing you to store your bookmarks online for access from any computer. With del.icio.us, you organize your bookmarks through a keyword system called tags that are more flexible than folders. You can also use del.icio.us to see other people’s bookmarks
  2. Furl.net – Furl.net allows you to bookmark any site and share your bookmarks with others. You can also annotate the bookmarks and more.
  3. WebCiteAn archiving system for web references (cited web pages and web sites), which can be used by authors, editors, and publishers of scholarly papers and books, to ensure that cited web material will remain available to readers in the future.

Social Note-Taking

  1. BackPackIt – A web-based service that allows you to make pages with to-do lists, notes, files, and images. Backpack also features a Calendar and Reminders that can be sent via email or to your cell phone at predefined times.
  2. Carmun – Carmum makes building a bibliography a social act. The service allows you to bookmark URLs and save citations you find online and create bibliographies. An interesting feature is the ability to rate and review sources.
  3. Diigo – This is a social annotation service that allows you to highlight or put an online sticky-note annotation on any webpage and share your notes with others.
  4. Google Notebook – A web-based tools that allows you to clip and collect online information such as text, images and links as well as take notes as you browse.
  5. StickisAllows you to put virtual sticky notes with comments on web pages and others Stickis users can read your comments and you can read theirs.


  1. GW on ITunes University – You can listen to podcasts of select GW courses.


  1. Google Video – An online video marketplace where you can search for TV shows, movies, music, videos, documentaries, and personal productions.
  2. YouTube – The premier destination for watching and sharing original videos.


  1. Flickr – A photo management and sharing service with millions of creative commons licensed photographs.

Specialty Search Sites

  1. Google specialty search sites include Scholar, U.S. Government, News, Books, and Blogs
  2. Quintra is an innovative search site that represents the possibilities of the semantic web by using natural associative search principles through a visual mapping web of text.

Tracking and Delivering Information

  1. Bloglines – Online service that allows you to make a personalized news paper with information you choose from news feed, blogs, web sites. You also can share your bloglines.
  2. Google Alerts – Notifies user on new Google results based on query or topic. Good for monitoring a developing news story or any topic.
  3. Google Reader – Monitors all your favorite web sites and blogs and then aggregates the new content into one reader page. This page can be shared with other users.
  4. Pipes – Interactive feed aggregator.
  5. Suprglu – Allows you to gather content from del.icio.us, flickr, blogger, typepad to one place.

Community Driven Content:

  1. Digg – A user-driven social content website where community members submit content and if the more popular the content with the community, the more prominently displaced the content
  2. Technorati – This service searches and organizes blogs, blog links, and other forms of independent, user-generated content (photos, videos, etc.)
  3. Wikipedia – The online social networking encyclopedia. Wikipedia has sparked much controversy with its user-generated content approach to information gathering. Below are links to examples of the challenges presented with user-generated and free access content.

 Wikis on using Web 2.0 tools for Research

This Wiki presents links to search tools that help one research deeper into the web than simple keyword searches.  The tools includes tools that help you search for text, images and videos and tools that help you validate the credibility  of sites.

This wiki was developed to accompany a workshop by the same name given by Eric Hoefler.  The wiki begins by examining how Web 2.0 is changing how we think about research.  The first part provides links to tools and the second part examines concepts such as the deep web, copyright and plagiarism, and tagging.

Help build the WID Studio:FACULTY by sharing your favorite resources or ideas on this topic through the reply box below.


3 Responses

  1. […] George Washington University WID Studio blog has a great introduction/round-up post of Web 2.0 tools for teaching and research. Well worth taking a look at or bookmarking to pass on […]

  2. Ahhh web2, the power of the internet.

  3. […] great link from the TechRhet e-mail list: a list of useful Web 2.0 tools you can use in your […]

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