How OUseful.Info Operates…

After receiving an honorable mention (and a bottle of bubbly:-) at the IWR Info Professional of the Year Awards, I’ve picked up a few new subscribers from the Info Pro community, so here’s a quick run down of how is (dis)organised to explain how an (un)professional (in the sense of an unconference…) such as myself goes about moving info I think is important around on the web., the blog

First up is, the blog. It lives on the web at (that is – “O U S E F U L dot info”;-), although that address currently redirects to a hosted WordPress blog at

The blog can also be accessed via a couple of RSS feeds. The feed I recommend that people use, (a) because it is enriched…; b) because then I can move blog engine and the feed will remain) can be found at; a pure blog feed can also be found (and autodiscovered) direct from the WordPress blog at

To keep up with comments to the blog, you can subscribe here:

OUseful Archival Blog Search

Long time readers may know that, the Blog changed blog engine just before the summer. The old posts are archived at The searchbox on the archive site still searches the original blogsite (the URLs from that site now redirect to, but that facility may die at any time.

A comprehensive search over both the legacy (blogarchive current blogsites can be found at: (I’ll get a proper search page set up sometime whenever…!). This OUseful search engine is implemented as a Google Custom Serarch Engine, and searches over most of the blogs I maintain/post to (or have maintained in the past). I may try to get it to trawl the other OUseful properties too, but its focus for now is on blog content.

The OUseful linkblog

The enriched blog feed on Feedburner also pulls in content from one of my delicious bookmark tags on a daily basis: (the feed can be found at These bookmarks are ones that I think are important or likely to be of particular interest to readers. I try to annotate them with a description that reveals why you should clickthru… My feedthru bookmarks are also syndicated on the blog sidebar. My full bookmark list can be found at

The OUseful microblog

At the moment, the microblog conversation appears to be on Twitter, so to keep up with snippets of things I find interesting, and want to share, check out my Twitter stream – My recent tweets are also syndicated in the sidebar on the blog.

OUseful Presentations

Whenever I do a presentation, I try to post the slides to my slideshare account within a day or two of the presentation (often with a draft copy of the slides a day or two before the presentation): (feed).

Many of my presentation slides are a little, err, “opaque” without me there to talk around them. This is partly deliberate (I disagree with seeing more than half a dozen words on a slide;-) and partly because I’m still trying to find a style of presenting that suits me. If you haven’t had to suffer sitting through a OUseful presentation yet, my rates are very reasonable ;-)

To see the presentations I’ve bookmarked as particularly special, you can see my favourite slideshare presentations here: (feed). Note that I am considering refining this to use the feedthru tag for presentations I really want to share across the OUseful network (in which case, the URL will become and the feed URL will also change).

The OUseful Video Channel

Every so often I come across a Youtube video that gels with something I’ve been thinking about. Rather than submit these to delicious (or the delicious feedthru tag), I tend to favourite them on Youtube. You can see my favourites here:, or subscribe to them here:

The homepage

It’s been some time since I updated the OUseful homepage at explicitly as the intention behind it is that it aggregates and resyndicates other OUseful stuff. However, there are some static links there to some of the miniprojects I’ve dabbled with that I think are particularly OUseful. It’s also a demonstration of how to use a webtop (in the OUseful homepage case, I use Pageflakes).

Some OUseful firehoses

As well as the “published” content sources described above, you can keep up with my random doodlings via a couple of channels with a lower signal to noise ratio: my Yahoo Pipes (feed), where I mess around with prototype pipes, only some of which get blogged about, and my flickr stream – (feed) – where you can get a feel for what posts I may be about to post from the screenshots I’m capturing…

One of the easiest ways to feed from the OUseful firehouse is to tap into my friendfeed account: (feed).

So there you have it – a worklife/hobbylife lived in public…

PS you may be wondering why “OUseful” – that’s because when I started the blog, my intention was to write about stuff that might be OUseful, one day… (that is, useful in an OU context).

PPS you might be wondering why “psychemedia”. Psychemedia was a “counterculture” magazine I ran for a limited time. As a neologism, I like to think it’s defined as “the means by which minds communicate”.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “How OUseful.Info Operates…”

  1. what an insight! Answers a few questions i’ve been meaning to ask over the last few years.

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