Thursday, November 27, 2008

Recycling slideware

In my years at HP I have produced a very large corpus of slideware. The sad part of this is that unlike papers, slides are ephemeral artifacts discarded after a single use. I write sad, because a lot of effort goes into the production of a slide deck, especially in industry, where there are strict design rules and everything has to be "high-concept".

In the past I was posting my formal external presentations in my publications web page, as a link in each conference paper reference. This was useful for people finding my publications using a search engine, but now people use more specialized search tools and then find my publications in the digital libraries of various learned societies in whose conferences the work was presented. These digital libraries do not contain slides because they are informal.

There is a service that allows you to recycle your slides. It is called slideshare and allows you to upload your slides for conversion in to Flash objects that can be embedded. Probably the most logical place to embed your slides is your LinkedIn profile, were people in your social network can discover them, download them, and reuse them.

You can also embed the slides in your blog, like here a presentation I gave in September:

As you can see, you can quickly browse the slide deck right here in the blog. If you want to reuse some or all of it, you can click on the title above the slide. This takes you to the slideshare page, from where you can download the presentation.

As you may note, some functionality gets lost in the conversion from PDF to Flash, like the navigation labels in the slide headers. However this is a minor detail. Because the slides are on slideshare's site, you can embed as many slide decks as you want in a post, without burdening your blog platform.

For example, here is my trusty old slide deck on Understanding Color:

Understanding Color
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: color_science short_course)

As you see here, the QuickTime movies are not embedded, but the link on the slides is more convenient anyway, because you can prepare the movies in QuickTime players and show them from there.

Of course, a simple slide deck like this one on MPEG-21 carries over as is:

Introduction to MPEG21
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: mpeg mpeg21)

By the way, each of these slide decks was produced with a different authoring tool. The color cognition deck was produced using the fancy Beamer document class in LaTeX, the introduction to color in the antiquated but robust FrameMaker document preparation system, and the MPEG-21 deck was written in PowerPoint.