Rummaging around, it isn't difficult to find useful resources. For example:
- an exhaustive [over 200 slides!] comparison of RSS aggregators at http://www.slideshare.net/travelinlibrarian/integrating-rss-into-your-web-site
- a fuller explanation of Mendeley than you get from the program producers themselves, at http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/mendeley-presentation-061809
- Andy Priestner's Beyond Google http://www.slideshare.net/priestcam/beyond-google-premium-resources-for-your-research-presentation is one great way of engaging students' interests
- ... ad infinitum really - anything you want to know the basics of, eg Second Life in libraries - http://www.slideshare.net/sirexkat/flying-librarians-of-oz-whats-all-the-fuss-about-second-life-and-whats-it-got-to-do-with-libraries
[None of these actually embedded for reasons implied above]
But then the more I poked about in Slideshare the more ratty I got, as it seems to be populated with a lot of marketing tools [and there will no doubt be a Crail rant about social media being invaded by marketing mavens at some point], and some very odd material whose purpose is completely opaque, vanity publishing probably. Looking at teaching materials, it isn't hard to spot scans from books, and probably-not-technically-legal images, so it starts to get a bit ill-advised. Some people seem to have got completely carried away and uploaded things that clearly aren't presentations, eg research papers, so it all starts to look unfocused and rag-baggy. It is tempting to include some jaw-dropping examples of this side of the coin, but I'd like to celebrate my 30th birthday [again].
Perhaps I'll just remind everyone of General McChrystal's 'When we understand the Powerpoint , we'll have won the war' joke instead - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html
So, we're being invited to plunder these offerings without being clear on their integrity. It's a bit like 'Teach yourself via Google' without applying proper evaluation. In fact probably worse. Of course, most people wouldn't dream of operating that way - but Slideshare is encouraging people to do so. Aidan advises caution on this score too in his blog. And the NY Times article does make some pertinent points about the way Powerpoint forces us to 'bulletize' [oh dear] information - could be a good thing, could be bad.
It's hard understanding why the creator of a presentation would put it on a public-access aggregator instead of their own institution's resource [oh, wait, I do know, it's one of the tenets of Web 2.0], where it could still be free-access, but tied to the 'brand' or, as Revelation 23 puts it, where it was born. I would be uncomfortable about even recommending something clearly created by someone else, let alone dropping it into a website - by the most generous interpretation, it looks lazy. I agree with Librarianintraining that having something available for those who don't like, or cannot attend face to face training would be useful - though again at the place of birth, not on Slideshare. Aside from all that, I don't tend to use Powerpoint, marvellous program though it is, at least in the library context. It's great as an aide memoire, but less so as a teaching tool [old-maidism again, since that's what students ask for].
So, much as I admire the altruism of people who put their resources up there, and the energy and commitment of people like Phil Bradley to educate us on so many platforms, Slideshare as a resource in toto has an unfortunate whiff of unwholesomeness and untrustworthiness about it. Start digging, and there's a need to get out the hand sanitiser and the odor neutraliser. And possibly the Shake'n'vac - do they still make that?