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How do I use...Scribd?

How do I use...Scribd?

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Published by lnahmias
This section explains how small cultural heritage organizations can use Scribd to share documents from their collection, educator resources, pamphlets and other literature, meeting minutes, and more.

To read the entire handbook, see the "Workshop Materials" section of http://publichumanitiestoolbox.wordpress.com.
This section explains how small cultural heritage organizations can use Scribd to share documents from their collection, educator resources, pamphlets and other literature, meeting minutes, and more.

To read the entire handbook, see the "Workshop Materials" section of http://publichumanitiestoolbox.wordpress.com.

More info:

Published by: lnahmias on Mar 31, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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How do I use…Scribd? Scribd describes itself as the Flickr of documents.

Instead of uploading photographs, however, users upload documents. Scribd has created iPaper, which allows users to upload Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF, and other formatted documents and then read them in their original format. Rather than having to transcribe texts into html to make them readable and searchable on the web, users can simply upload documents they have already created. Best of all, iPaper maintains the format of the document as it was originally created. Documents look good on the web, and that’s why we recommend it. iPaper can easily be embedded into other web pages, like blogs. The Scribd community boasts 50,000,000 readers and nearly 50,000 new documents uploaded daily. Although only a few museums and historical societies have started to use Scribd, the Whitney Museum among them, many other organizations use it. They include NASA, the IRS, the Atlantic Monthly magazine, and even Barack Obama’s campaign.

Figure 13: Two examples of iPaper. On the left, a conservation trust has uploaded its brochure, originally in a PDF format. On the right, a scholar's list of archival resources, originally in Word format.

What can it do

for you? Scribd can be used in a variety of ways. Museums and historical societies can share past and present newsletters, brochures, and other literature such as meeting minutes or annual reports. Education departments can easily share lesson plans, pre- and post-visit materials, and registration forms. Collections departments can share transcriptions or curatorial statements. Scribd is entirely free. Your organization can upload as many documents it likes, where they will be searchable within the Scribd community and via a normal web search in Google, Yahoo, or similar. These documents, as mentioned before, can also be embedded in your host site. Because all of the text on iPaper is indexed, users can easily search for specific phrases or topics. This makes your collections more accessible. It also may be helpful internally, as one can easily find documents relating to a topic without an item’s full title or other metadata.

How do users interact with it? Depending on how you choose to use Scribd, your users will interact with in two different ways. We highly recommend directly embedding iPaper documents into your host blog (WordPress, Blogger, etc.). In this case,

users will remain on your webpage but be able to read the texts hosted in Scribd. Users can also go to your account, hosted at Scribd, and page through your posted documents. When you upload a document, you have the option to provide a short description and any other metadata you think is pertinent. Users can flip through all of the documents you have uploaded or search for documents on a related theme among others’ documents. As the administrator of the account, you can determine whether or not to allow users to download documents directly to their computers. This may be a concern for copyrighted or other specially licensed materials, should you have them. If you have enabled the ability to download documents, then users will download pertinent or meaningful documents. One of the most attractive features of Scribd is the ability of your readers to comment on and tag documents. Readers can also indicate whether they like a document (similar to the “Favorite” feature in Flickr). How do you do it? Setting up an account and uploading documents is very straightforward. One can find a complete (and very helpful list) of frequently asked questions and directions at http://www.scribd.com/faq. This set of directions draws heavily on Scribd’s directions. 1. Create an account. As with Google Maps, Flickr, or one of the blog services, we recommend using an email account that you have created especially for setting up and maintaining your online presence. 2. Upload documents. You can upload many types of documents, including… When you have selected documents to upload, you can indicate which ones, if any, you would like to mark as private. Private documents cannot be indexed by Google or searched for by the general public. They also cannot be embedded in your blog or other webpage. 3. Describe your document(s). For each document, choose a title and add a short description. Here is where you can add metadata if the item is from your collection, or labeling text that helps orient the reader to the context of the document. 4. Categorize your document(s). You can choose from a drop-down menu of topics and categories to help organize your document and make it more “findable.” Examples of topics include “Academic Work,” “Brochures,” etc., and categories include areas like “History” or “Essay.” Other Scribd users can search documents by category and/or topic to find others like it. 5. Add tags. As in Flickr, tags help users search for content. Tags Figure 14: Sharing options include Wikipedia, the document's unique may be related to content area URL, and embedding code. or format. For instance, a transcription of a World War II veteran’s oral history may have the following tags: interview, World War II, WWII, veteran, soldier, oral history, transcription, history, local history. Users can view your profile and see what tags you commonly use to get a sense of your collection or archive’s strengths. 6. Share document, if desired. For each document you have uploaded you will have the option to notify specific people that it is now available by filling in their email addresses. You also will see a

dialogue box that shows the document’s individual URL, and a short piece of code that enables you to embed the iPaper version of the document into another webpage, such as a blog. (One code option is specifically made for WordPress.) You will also see options to share your document in a variety of other Web 2.0 sites, such as Digg, del.icio.us, and Wikipedia. (See Figure 14) 7. Review comments, favorites, and other activity. Periodically, check the usage of your documents. See if folks have posed questions in the comments section or have suggested similar documents. You may be surprised to find a community of passionate amateur historians! (See Figure 15)

Figure 15: This brochure, "Westport: A Sportsman's Paradise" has been viewed 366 times and downloaded three times. One person calls it a favorite. It has been searched by Google, Yahoo, and MSN. One can also see what search terms people used to find it.

Other features of note Each time you as the administrator log in to your Scribd account, you will see a homepage detailing “Notifications.” Notifications indicate when something has happened to one of your documents: it has been commented on, tagged, or viewed. This is helpful for keeping track of usage, especially as you prepare annual reports or grant applications to support continued development of your online presence. You might consider creating a “one-sheet” of important facility information, such as hours that you are open, admission or research costs, and other frequently asked questions. This allows visitors to easily print out the information they need in a familiar Word format.

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