Tag Archives | tools

Our Tools

mindmap_3122892780_8288951fd3_zAvailable to every member, our set of collaborative tools include:

  • Groups – you can join or start any number of groups and take advantage of the following functionality: (1) group forums – where members can start new topics, or participate in discussion threads; (2) group docs – a ways to collaborate on documents with group members – kind of like a private wiki; (3) file uploads – create repositories of data for members of your group to access; (4) group announcements – admins and moderators of groups post timely announcements for the whole group to read; and (5) group blogs, which extend group functionality and provide a way to publicize group work, either privately or publicly.
  • WordPress Sites – the Commons members can create an unlimited number of WP sites (aka “blogs” or websites). We have over 800 themes and 200 plugins that will help you create a unique websites. Our new Hosting Partner Handbook outlines the various non-standard customizations available, and includes procedures and guidelines for domain mapping requests, customized themes, new plugins, and site migrations.
  • My Commons – a personal homepage that highlights the network of friends, groups, and sites you develop on the Commons. Explore content relevant to you and stay current with your connections by establishing friendships, joining groups, and following WordPress sites that you find interesting.
  • Profile/Portfolio/CV – use the Commons to establish an online presence. We provide a sophisticated system to maintain member profiles, with easy-to-use widgets to list publications, education, positions, academic interests, RSS feeds, etc.
  • Notification settings – handle how you want to receive email notifications – right away, once a day, once a week, not at all… We have granular settings that help tailor the way you stay in touch with Commons groups and friends.
  • Reply by Email – When you receive an email notification from the Commons, you don’t have to log on to the Commons to reply. You can reply from the comfort of your email in-box.
  • Messaging – Write and receive private messages to and from any member of the Commons
  • Personal Announcements – let our community know what’s happening. The Commons provides a space for everyone to post latest news.







Digital Research Tools

dirt2Digital Research Tools (DiRT) is a robust directory containing an ever-growing list of research tools, searchable by category or keyword. Resources range “from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mind-mapping software.” DiRT makes it easier to discover and compare tools for digital research.

Getting Started with DiRT

DiRT is primarily group-based, and is totally optional. By default, it’s turned off, since it may not be useful for some groups. For others, it’s an exciting addition.  Group admins go to “Manage” and then “Digital Resource Tools” to enable DiRT.   See the screenshot below :


Once enabled, a new tab will appear on your group homepage.  All members of your group can now click on it and explore what tools other group members are using and check the “I use this” boxes to register personal usage.


To rescind your usage, simply uncheck the “I use this” box.  If you have never visited this tab or want to add to your list of tools, click on the Digital Tools Directory hyperlink.  Here you will see a list of all the tools that are used by Commons members, and you can easily check some more boxes to register usage.  You can also be a pioneer and search the DiRT repository for tools no one on the Commons has checked yet:


Here you tap into all tools on the DiRT repository.  Search by category or keyword.  Explore possible tools and register usage or interest in a tool.   Click on the “Show Description” hyperlink in the search results list to get a quick synopsis of the tool without leaving the Commons.  Or you can click on “Learn more on dirtdirectory.org” and leave the Commons to drill down to even more specifics on the DiRT site.

Don’t worry if you are in two groups that both have DiRT enabled.  You do not need to re-enter your tool usage.  In fact, you will notice a new menu item called “Digital Research Tools” on your “Commons Profile” page, circled in red, which lets you enter your digital tools and access DiRT outside the context of a Commons group.


Hope you enjoy this discovery tool!

The CUNY Academic Commons collaborated on a Mellon grant with UC Berkeley to make its Drupal-based Digital Research Tool repository (DiRT) accessible to other Web sites via custom-built APIs. The Commons was the pilot site for this project, and members can pull in content from DiRT without leaving the Commons. The interface is designed to collect tool usage information from Commons members and provide a way to share experience with particular tools. It also exposes a robust directory containing a growing list of research tools, searchable by category or keyword. Resources range “from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mind-mapping software.” DiRT makes it easier to discover and compare tools for digital research.




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