Monday, 20 June 2011

Week 1, Thing 1: Set up a Google ID and create an iGoogle page

Welcome to Week 1, Thing 1!

After completing Thing 1 you will have...
Created a Google ID and your own iGoogle start page, so all your Things can be organised from the very start.

What is a Google ID?
A GoogleID allows you to make the most of Google and its products by personalising and customising pages, search results and your interface with Google. With a Google ID, you can also make the most of instant online collaborative working through applications like Gmail (Google Mail), but also Google Calendar, Google Docs and iGoogle.

How is iGoogle relevant to libraries?
iGoogle is a personal web portal which allows you to organise your favourite webpages and web 2.0 tools, letting you see at a glance what's happening out there. You can add RSS feeds and gadgets to your iGoogle page, some which are useful (Twitter, YouTube, the Cambridge Libraries Widget) and some which are less so (hamsters which need feeding and a "real age" calculator, for instance!) More and more libraries are developing iGoogle gadgets to facilitate renewals, OPAC searches and account maintenance.

Step-by-step instructions
1. To create a Google ID, go to (if you already have a Google ID, log in here).
2. Complete the form (it is probably best to use a personal email address rather than a Cambridge University one as a couple of people have mentioned problems accessing Google Docs with a Cambridge email address) and click on I accept when ready. 

3. To create your iGoogle page, go to and log in with your Google ID.
4. Click on the Add gadgets link to explore the various gadgets you can install - have a look at All categories on the left of the screen for ideas, as well as the most popular gadgets (Most Users), what's new (Newest) , Editor's picks or use the search box on the right.
5. Type COPAC in the search box.
6. Click on Add it now - when you return to your Home page, your COPAC will have appeared. 
You can also organise your gadgets with tabs which allow you to navigate quickly to your content, as well as helping your iGoogle pages load faster.

1. To add a tab, click on the arrow button of the Home tab on the left of the screen and select Add a tab.
2. Untick the I'm feeling lucky box.
3. Type in a name for your tab (e.g Library stuff) in the box.
4. Click OK
5. Your Library stuff tab will open, but there will be no content in it.
6. Go back to the Home tab. Drag your COPAC box onto the Library stuff tab. It will disappear from the Home page and will only be visible when you click on Library stuff.

You can add as many tabs as you like whenever you think your page is getting too busy. You can also choose a theme to jazz up your iGoogle page by clicking Select theme on the right hand side.

You may find this animation an entertaining way to help you explore your iGoogle further:

Want to go a bit further?
The Library 2.0 blog has an interesting article on the utility of Start pages in libraries here, and MMIT takes a look at how UK libraries and associations, including CILIP, are making use of them here. If you've already been using iGoogle for some time, you might want to look at Netvibes, Pageflakes or even Symbaloo to see if they can offer you something a bit different.

What happens next?
In Thing 3 (next week) you will learn how to subscribe to RSS feeds, which you can add to your iGoogle page. Then you can have all your favourite blog posts and articles streamed directly to your start page.

Thanks to Emma-Jane Batchelor for providing the template and ideas in the original 23 Things Cambridge... and Happy iGoogling!

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