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January 22, 2009

Colloborative workspaces for projects

by Katharine Thompson

Need some tools and software to help you organise and coordinate your project?

Think about using the following:


  • wikis are a great collaborative workspace
  • they allow lots of people to create and edit documents together using a simple interface
  • a log, or history of each amendment is made so you can see who has added or changed content
  • need security? you can keep your wiki private – only invited members can see it, and you can limit the editing rights of some members if you like
  • documents (PDFs, Word, Excel etc) can be attached to the wiki
  • media such as photos, RSS feeds, YouTube and Google videos and music can be added to the wiki
  • need to talk? most wikis have a discussion forum where you can share ideas or add comments

Want a wiki?

The College has wiki software. To set up a wiki for your group you will need to contact ICT. Not sure how long it takes to get these set up.

If you want a wiki right now this minute then there are lots of free ones available on the Internet. I’d recommend Wetpaint as I’ve used it before. I’ve also heard good things about PBwiki and Mediwiki (although I think this requires you to download some software to use it).

Google Docs:

  • like a wiki Google docs allows people to collaborate on documents in a range of formats including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • create or load an existing document to Google docs and invite others in your group to edit and add to it
  • need security? you can specify who can see and edit your documents
  • store your documents online for easy access
  • folders allow you to organise your documents

Want to use Google Docs?

It’s free to join and signing up is easy. If you already have a Google account set up you’re ready to start.

Google Groups:

  • in Google groups you can create a group of your project members
  • need to talk? you can have discussions either online, or via email with others in your group
  • add content by creating webpages
  • upload documents for discussion

Want to set up a Google group?

It’s free to join and signing up is easy. If you already have a Google account set up you’re ready to start.


  • delicious is like IE or Firefox bookmarks or favorites but with loads more features
  • create one account for your group which you can all use and start saving links to all kinds of online material; websites, PDFs, journal articles, videos etc. If it has a URL you can add it to delicious
  • you can organise, search for, and retrieve your links by using tags to describe the content
  • there is a note field for each link where you can add a longer description if you need to
  • delicious is designed to be public, but you can make your links private if you prefer
  • you can integrate delicious into your browser to make adding new links super easy (if you’re a FireFox user check out the add-ons for delicious)

Want a delicious account?

delicious is free and easy to set up and use. You can set up one account for your group and share the username and password. Or set up individial accounts and share your links by creating a delicious network. To see delicious in action take a look at the ET delicious account we’ve created for this course.


  • RefShare is a feature of RefWorks
  • you can share references from your RefWorks library with your group
  • select the references you want to share and RefShare creates a unique URL to send to group members
  • need security? only those you email the URL to can see the references, and only people with a RefWorks account can use them
  • group members can download all or some of the references you’ve sent directly into their own RefWorks library
  • you can use folders and descriptor tags in RefWorks to organise your references

Want to use RefShare?

If you’ve set up your RefWorks account you can start using RefShare straight away. Instructions on setting up your account are available in the Library folder on the Core Course Blackboard area.

Need some help?

If you’d like to discuss any of the above in more detail, or would like a quick demo then please get in touch!

December 5, 2007

UNFCCC conference, and finding UN documentation

by Katharine Thompson

Those of you following the goings-on of the UNFCCC conference in Bali may find their website useful.

The UNFCCC provides free online access to their official documents, and even offers webcasts of meetings so you can pretend you’re in Bali too.

The United Nations publishes a vast amount of reports and other documentation, and much of this material is freely available online. As it’s the UN many documents can be downloaded in languages other than English.

To help you find your way to the information you want try searching UNBISnet , which is essentially the library catalogue for the UN. You can search by keyword, or browse subject headings. For example, a quick search on ‘clean development mechanism’ gets 169 results.

The UN also produces a number of research guides, including one on environment which details the many UN bodies concerned with this subject.

All the above have also been added to for you. The quickest way to find them is to click the UN tag.

November 29, 2007

Latest reports from the European Environment Agency

by Katharine Thompson

The EEA publish a number of reports on a wide range of environmental issues.

Many of these can be downloaded free!

Recent reports include:

  • Europe’s environment — The fourth assessment
  • Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2007
  • Air pollution in Europe 1990-2004
  • Sustainable consumption and production in South East Europe and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia
  • All these reports, and more, have been added to The quickest way to find them is to click on the EU tag.

    If you want to know when the EEA publishes new reports you can subscribe to their alerts service by email or RSS.

    November 19, 2007

    New links on!

    by Debbie

    We’ve added a fresh batch of links to They have been taken from the core course pages on WebCT, and can be found under the tag ‘corecourse2007/8’. If you want to look at a particular module’s links, you can use the ‘related tags’ list; clicking on the plus sign next to a tag will allow you to look at sites which have both tags. For example, if you follow the link above and click on the ‘+’ next to environmentalpolicyandmanagement, you’ll get a list like this, which will give you all this year’s Environmental Policy & Management links.

    We also have a handy guide to using here: Using

    We’re always happy for you to suggest links for us to add – please email me ( with any that you think would be useful.

    November 5, 2007

    The Green List

    by Katharine Thompson

    Interesting supplement in today’s Guardian – The Green List – takes a look at subjects such as carbon trading, transport and how government and business are responding (or not) to environmental issues.

    We’ve also tagged this report on , or if you’d prefer to read off the page rather than off the screen, a copy is now in the ET reports collection on level 4 of the library, in the box marked ‘Odds and Sods’.

    October 26, 2007

    UN publish GEO4

    by Katharine Thompson

    The United Nations has just published the fourth Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) assessment.

    The full report (which is a whopping 572 pages and 22.5Mb) is available from the United Nations Environment Programme website.

    A copy has also been ordered for the library, and we’ve tagged it on as well.

    October 23, 2007

    New Scientist – Special Report on Climate Change/Energy & Fuels

    by Katharine Thompson

    The New Scientist have put together a special report on climate change and energy and fuels featuring many of the articles they’ve published recently on these topics.

    Online access to the New Scientist is available via the Digital Library.

    And they are also on

    October 23, 2007

    How green was my valley? WWF measure ecological footprints

    by Katharine Thompson

    In the news this week is the WWF’s report on the ecological footprints of 60 UK cities.

    Read the full report online.

    The report has also been tagged on our account.

    January 9, 2007

    Using RSS feeds on

    by Katharine Thompson

    I’ve just discovered that every account has it’s own RSS feed. So if you want to know when we add a new link, subscribe to us via your feed reader.

    To subscribe just click on the orange RSS button at the bottom of the page, or type the name of the feed ( directly into your feed reader.

    If you don’t have a feed reader set up, try Bloglines or GoogleReader. Alternatively, if you use IE7 or Firefox you can manage your feeds directly through your browser.

    If you’re wondering what RSS is you’ll find a quick explanation on the library website, or look at Olivia – Unit 9: Current awareness. Remember, you have to log into WebCT 4.1 to access Olivia.

    January 8, 2007

    It’s delightful, it’s de-lovely- it’s!

    by Katharine Thompson

    You may have noticed some links on the right hand side of the page to something called ‘’. is a social bookmarking site – one of several now freely available on the internet.

    I’ve created a account specifically for the MSc environmental technology which includes about 70 links to URLs contained in the core course lecture notes and presentations on WebCT. Others I’ve added as I’ve come across resources which seem useful and of a decent standard.

    As is a social bookmarking site you can create your own account and link it to mine, and recommend websites to one another. It also has the advantage of being web based so unlike conventional bookmarks or favorites it moves with you.

    You can also create your own ‘tags’ and add notes to describe the content which help you retrieve websites from your collection.

    For example, I’ve added lecturer’s initials as tags so you can easily find all the websites or online reports they’ve recommended without having to search back through all your notes or WebCT pages.

    For more information please read the brief user guide I’ve written.
    User guide to

    There is also a link to on the WebCT ET gateway so you can access it from there.

    If you do decide to create your own account please add me to your network so we can share resources with other students.

    This is a bit of an experiment – so let me know what you think by leaving a comment, or send me an email.

    (And apologies to Cole Porter for the title of this post!)

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