help

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The WAYS help page is divided into several subsections:

1. Getting Started With WAYS

2. Finding Your WAYS Around

3. The Great WAYS of Blogging

4. Using the WAYSWiki

5. Staying on Top of your WAYS

6. More Advanced WAYS to Use

7. WAYS to Get Help


1. Getting Started

Before you can use the features of the WAYS Website, you must create an account on our network. This account allows you to find and contact other researchers in the directory, create weblog entries and comment on other scientists' entries. To create your account, click on the link in the sidebar at the left of the page: Fill in your information on this page - fields marked with a red asterisk are mandatory - and when you have completed your profile, you will be emailed your password which can then be used to log into the network. Note that your email address is kept confidential; no one can see it without your consent. Return to the site, and log in by entering your username and password into the fields provided. You may want to click on the 'My Account' link and then the 'Edit' tab to change your assigned password to something else of your choosing. While you're here, don't forget to upload a picture of yourself on the same page! You should also click the "Location Map" link and add your location to the WAYS geographical database. This is a neat little feature that makes it fun and easy to find WAYSers near you!

2. Finding what you need

Once you've registered, received your welcome letter at the email address you've provided, and logged in using your username/email address and password, you'll have acces to the website's user directory, content publishing system and other cool features. There are three methods you can use to identify other WAYS members you might be interested in interacting with:

  • The easiest way to do so is by searching the user profiles for a certain keyword. You can search by any criteria, such as "Hungary" or "Chemistry". You can also mix and match items to make your search as granular as you like. To search, click on "Search for WAYSers" in your user menu when logged in, then enter your search terms in the search box. This will show you all the users who matched your search query.
  • Alternatively, you can also simply browse the user list by clicking on "Find other WAYSers", under your user menu on the right when you are logged in. This will present you with an unsorted page containing all the users.
  • Finally, perhaps the coolest way to find other users is by clicking on the "User Locations" link under your user menu. This takes you to a real-time Google map pinpointing the location of all users, along with a link to their profile. Be sure to add your own location by editing your profile under "my account"! Blue lines show buddy connections between users, blue faces show users, and blue blobs show groups of users. We like blue!

You can, of course, search the rest of the entire site using the Google Ways mechanism on the left. Also, the latest blog entries are always displayed on the main page.

3. Getting your blog up

Any user and all users who register at WAYS get their own WAYS blog. The URL of your blog is in the form: http://ways.org/blog/[yourusername] As soon as you've registered, you can begin writing blog entries. If you've never blogged before, you can learn more about what a blog is by visiting Wikipedia's page on blogging. You can add any content you like on your blog, as long as it's in some way related to WAYS, your work, or science in general, directly or indirectly. Other WAYS members also have the chance to comment on your blog. The most interesting / relevant discussion will also be highlighted on the front page and on the WAYS monthly news. Remember that the WAYS blogs are completely informal; you don't need to worry about writing a perfect entry, or checking your grammar or anything like that. Think of it as a personal workspace to write down notes and thoughts, and getting some feedback from other like-minded scientists who may be working on the same things that you are.

A video tutorial on how to create a blog post at ways is available here.

4. Using the Wiki

The WAYS wiki is a collaborative knowledge sharing and document building tool for scientists and researchers. The idea of a wiki is that any [registered] user can edit or add any page to the site, clearing the way for large groups of users to collaborate on adding information and references to a page. For example, if you want to build a "Regional Unit" page for your regional unit, you can create it on the wiki, and then invite your collegues to edit and modify it, adding their own content as they please. At the moment, the WAYS wiki is maintained separetely from the WAYS website, but we are working hard to integrate them shortly. Until then, you can visit the wiki by clicking the wiki link at the top of the page, and use all of its functionality, but at the moment you'll need to register a second time on the wiki to gain access to it.

5. Stay abreast of things

You may have noticed these little icons spread about around the website: rss The links from these icons are called "RSS feeds". Using RSS allows you to see when sites from all over the internet have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and articles (or even audio files, photographs or video) in one place, as soon as they are published, without having to remember to visit each site every day. RSS takes the hassle out of staying up-to-date, by showing you the very latest information that you are interested in. RSS feeds are just a special kind of web page, designed to be read by computers rather than people. It might help to think of them as the free, internet version of the old-fashioned ticker-tape news wire machines. Not all websites currently provide RSS, but it is growing rapidly in popularity and many others, including the Guardian, New York Times and CNN provide it. And, of course, so does WAYS. To get started using RSS, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks RSS feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added to them. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications. A program known as a feed reader or aggregator can check a list of feeds on your behalf and display any updated articles that it finds. If you click on the RSS button on the WAYS website you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the RSS feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Note that your own blog - http://ways.org/blog/[yourname] - also has its own RSS feed, so that your specific posts can be syndicated anywhere off the site by whoever's interested in your work. Here's a list of rss readers / news aggregators, both free and commercial, that you can use (this is not an endorsement):

If, for some reason, you are unable to use RSS to stay up-to-date with WAYS going-ons, don't worry - you can still be kept in the loop via our email alert system.
WAYS has an email subscription which alerts you when there's a new post in a topic that you're interested in. You're automatically subscribed to posts you create, meaning that you receive an email when someone replies to one of your posts. In addition, at the end of every blog entry, you'll see links to subscribe to the user's "blog" or to the current "post". The former will alert you whenever that user authors another entry (useful if you want to follow a certain user's activities), while the latter keeps you updated on comments in that particular post (useful to follow an interesting threaded conversation in which you commented).

6. Advanced tools you can use

  • Have a website you'd like to share with other WAYS members? We make use of http://del.icio.us, a social bookmarking service that allows us to save our favorite website to the web - yours and everyone else's. The collection of links can be accessed from any computer on the web and shared with friends, family, and colleagues. 1. To keep and share your favorites with WAYS, you must first create a free del.icio.us account. 2. To add a website to your list of favorites, del.icio.us use one-word descriptors called tags. If you assign ways.org as a tag, the link will show up automatically in the del.icio.us window on our front page within the hour. For more information see: http://del.icio.us/help/tags How to use tags. The easiest way to do this is too add the del.icio.us "bookmarklets" to a toolbar in your web-browser - see the del.icio.us site for instructions on how to do this.
  • Have some photos to share with WAYS? Then open a flickr.com account, and upload your photos - being sure to tag them with "ways.org" as a keyword. They'll automagically show up in the "Latest WAYS photos" section!

    7. Need more help? Contact us

    You can get in touch via our contact page.