All posts by George Williams

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To Keep Gmail Inbox Under Control, Adjust Google+ Setting

Earlier this month, the Gmail blog announced that by more tightly integrating their social media platform, Google+, with their web-based email service, Gmail, they’ve made it possible for you to “[r]each the people you know more easily.”

I can understand why they didn’t title their announcement “Now anyone on Google+ can send you email without knowing your email address,” but that would have been just as accurate. You see, the default setting in your Gmail account is to allow anyone with a Goog…

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Make Your WordPress Site More Accessible

Like many blogs, ProfHacker runs on software called WordPress, and we’ve written many posts over the years about this software. WordPress is a great tool for creating a variety of different kinds of digital resources. An important issue to consider when creating a digital resource is how accessible it is to a diversity of users — including, but not limited to, people with disabilities. (For a consideration of the various reasons why, read “Why: The Case for Web Accessibility.”) However, if you’…

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10 ProfHacker Tips for 2014

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At my campus, classes start on Monday, which means this week has been devoted to getting ready for a new semester and, more broadly, a new year. If you’re a longtime reader of ProfHacker, you probably already know some of the recommendations we make on a regular basis. If you’re a new reader, it might be more than a little intimidating to try to wade through four and a half years worth of blog posts to identify those key recommendations. I hope that both categories of readers will find the foll…

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CFP: ‘Accessible Future’ Workshop in Austin, TX

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve published a number of things about accessibility in digital environments. And Regular readers will remember that back in September we announced the first Accessible Future workshop, which took place in Boston last semester.

Well, applications are now being accepted for the second workshop, which will be held on February 28-March 1, 2014 in Austin, Texas. If you are interested in digital environments and accessibility, please apply. The Accessible Future workshop is inte…

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‘Open Access Button’ Designed to Raise Awareness, Improve Access

 This morning, a team of developers and researchers announced the release of a new research tool in the form of a browser bookmarklet: the “Open Access Button.” The bookmarklet will work with a variety of browsers, and it’s intended to allow the user who installs it “to track the impact of paywalls and help you get access to the research you need,” in the words of the creators:

People are denied access to research hidden behind paywalls every day. This problem is invisible, but it slows innovatio…

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User-Friendly Advice for Accessible Web Design

Logo for WebAIMHere at ProfHacker we’ve published a number of posts over the years about accessibility and digital environments. One of my favorite resources for learning more about how to make digital resources usable by the greatest number of people possible is WebAIM (@WebAIM), a non-profit organization based at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. I really like their “Introduction to Web Accessibility,” for example.

WebAIM, in my opinion, provides well-written and very user-fr…

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This month is #AcWriMo 2013

acwrimo1-01-300x114In 2011, Charlotte Frost of PHD2Published declared that November to be #AcBoWriMo (short for Academic Book Writing Month). And then, in 2012, Frost modified her declaration such that November became #AcWriMo (short for Academic Writing Month), which was be similar to #AcBoWriMo but with a “focus on ALL aspects of academic writing,” not just books.

Well, now that it’s November of 2013, Frost has announced that #AcWriMo is back. There are 6 basic rules:

  1. Decide on your goal.
  2. Declare it!
  3. Draft a st…
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Amazon: Buy a Print Book, Get an E-Book, Too

As the New York Times “Bits” blog reported last month, the online retailer Amazon is launching a new program called “Kindle MatchBook, [which] lets its customers buy the electronic versions of books they have already purchased in print form for either $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 or free.” If you have purchased a print book from Amazon at any point since 1995, then (assuming the book is eligible for this program) you will be given the option to get the e-book version, too.

Now, this seems like a pretty s…

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WordPress Accessibility Team

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written a great deal about WordPress, and we’ve also tried to emphasize the importance of accessibility, the need to make digital (and other) environments as usable as possible to the widest range of people possible. In a combination of these two topics, a couple of weeks ago, I drew your attention to the handy-dandy WordPress Accessibility Plugin, an almost-all-in-one tool for making your WordPress installs more accessible. Just this week, I saw the following announcem…

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“What Is Open Access?” An Explanatory Video

As I wrote on Monday, it’s currently Open Access Week. If you’re unclear what, exactly, all the hubbub is about, then you’re in luck! Last year, a roughly 8-minute, animated video was created by Jorge Cham — creator of the comic strip PhD Comics — Nick Shockey of the Right to Research Coalition, and Jonathan Eisen, a biologist at the University of California Davis. You can watch the video embedded above, or go directly to the YouTube page where the video is hosted.

What resources have you found…