November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Mark up and Organize the Web with Scrible | SLJ Review

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Scrible-edu-1-click-citation-capture

Scrible 1 click citation

A research tool that enables users to annotate, organize, and share web pages, Scrible, combines the push-button sharing of Google Drive with the powerful, dynamic full-text indexing of web content. The new, paid pro version provides advanced analytic capabilities that are more typical in higher education management systems.

Like earlier incarnations of social bookmarking sites, Scrible allows for both simultaneous full-text and controlled vocabulary (arranged by words and phrases used to retrieve and/or index content) organizations. The video below provides a brief overview.

Launching the Chrome browser extension or adding a resource directly from your library provides datawells for comments and tags for each URL, evoking the earlier ne plus ultra of social bookmarking, Delicious, but Scrible actively indexes each web page saved or document uploaded, in addition to annotations and tags, making its search capabilities much more robust.

In default mode, Scrible has its own toolbar uploaded onto each open tab, a setting that must be adjusted if you don’t want to have to launch it when you navigate away from the page. The ability to save static versions of web pages and send uploaded files gives the suite real utility. You can share any of these via social media with users or classes via integrated in-app inbox and outbox features. Documents can be sorted by type, as well as by owner and date saved, and those facets can be combined in an intuitive way. Unlike other web annotation platforms, you can add multiple formats—for example, italics as well as underlining or highlighting—to a document.

Edu Pro: the latest in academic applications

The Edu Pro version of Scrible, which must be verified via email, is a bells and whistles option in which academic applications come into play when you assign your resources to a classroom—cost is customized, but starts at $1,000 for an entire school, including educators. Class sections can be added from Gmail, making it easy for Google Apps for Education school users, but unpaid subscribers will be limited to a single class. Scrible can create a bibliography from website metadata in three formats—Modern Language Association, Chicago, and Associated Press—with any missing data fields highlighted. Perhaps its most stellar feature is the automatic adjustments of any citations generated from your library of saved resources, making bibliographic updates to multiple files or libraries easy to accomplish.

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Scrible Research Paper Analytics

In its social menu, Scrible makes it easy to share permalinks to annotated read-only web pages through shared URLs. The Edu Pro version provides 500 MB of cloud-based storage.

The potential for caching files and gathering analytics associated with sharing digital content in the Edu Pro version make the higher education–specific features of Scrible particularly appealing.

In addition, Edu Pro enables users to maintain multiple classes with easy integration with Google Classroom to import student rolls and to keep them updated. This version offers nuanced progress tracking based on the number of sources and their type—including differentiation between academic and government sites, blogs and news sources—as well as a repository for completed student work. From the students’ perspective, the paid version makes it easy to choose which types of annotations to import into a Google doc, a real boon in jump-starting the writing process with selected quotations, annotations, and citations in place. Scrible has recently added a writing tool suite available to paid Edu Pro subscribers as a freemium service.

Verdict

Tool-Scrible-ScoreFor students looking to manage sources, the free version of Scrible offers an easy way to do that and generate bibliographic citations. Edu Pro might be a good option for academic librarians wanting the tracking capabilities of learning management systems without the loss of intellectual property oversight that campus-based solutions provide.


Wendy Stephens worked as a high school librarian in Alabama for 15 years before becoming library media program chair at Jacksonville (AL) State University. She is a past president of the Alabama Library Association and is AASL Region V director.

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