AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

May/11

7

Susan Kistler on Getting More From Google

Good day! Susan Kistler here, AEA’s Executive Director and aea365 regular Saturday contributor. Everyone has used Google to search (ok almost everyone) but here are five items I’ve used from Google in the past month that you may not yet know about.

Hot Tip: First, in most cases, you’ll need a google account. They are free. When you go to www.google.com, click on the “Sign in” link in the upper right corner – even if you don’t have an account, this will take you to where you can set one up.

Rad Resource – Google Refine: Data is messy, in particular public data sets. Google refine helps you to clean messy data and it is pretty amazing. It helps you to quickly fix inconsistencies in coding, resolve problems in mismatched data types, and reshape your data for use in other analysis programs. Best of all, it is a desktop application that you download and run on your desktop (although you interact with it through your browser) so that you need not upload sensitive data.

Rad Resource – Google Calendar: Google calendar serves the mundane task for keeping me organized, replacing my paper calendar. But it goes many steps further. I manage multiple calendars (personal, aea, aea365, and over 10 more), all of which I can show on a single interface and view or not view at will. Each calendar may be shared with others and sharing may be set to show details or just to show that you are busy at a given time.

Rad Resource – Google Tasks: This is the unsung hero of Google Calendar – an application embedded within Calendar itself. Pull up the tasks calendar and you can create to do lists, set due dates, provide details, etc – and then see all of the items on your main calendar.

Rad Resource – Google Labs: This is where you’ll find prototypes of possible future google services. Right now, they’ve got 55 experiments that you can try out ranging from shared spaces where you can collaboratively develop a mind map, to google goggles that allows you to take a picture of a place with your phone and return search results based on the picture, to public data explorer through which you can visualize and analyze large public data sets.

Rad Resource – Google Moderator: Google moderator, a google labs experiment, lets someone who will be a speaker at an event identify possible audience questions or topics and have users vote on those they would most like to see answered. Don’t quite get it? Here’s an example where you can submit questions for everyone’s favorite Sesame Street character, Elmo, to answer and vote on those you would most like to see answered.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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