New ways to search in 2017

We do a lot of desk research on the web, to find protocols we can recommend to clients, as well as looking for new material and content for the web sites we produce, for ourselves and others.

Using the big search engines is fine, but sometimes on a wet Wednesday in March, you long for the search sensation to be a bit livelier, a bit un-normative.

Here are some suggestions.

Answer the Public

Developed to deliver consumer insight in the ‘Age of Google’. We used our standard format testing keyword ‘trees’ and the search results looked like this.

Answer the Public question search....
See more here…

You can choose a variety of approaches to your keyword or phrase. We bet the next time you are deliberating over some stats, or working on a bid, the Answer the Public might help refresh the text.

It really does offer insights and approaches to subjects which, although designed for marketing professionals, can help refresh a jaded search palette.

Using natural language processing, the search engine claims to identify relationships between documents and data that are ‘overlooked by conventional search engines‘.

pdfsearcg page - new relationships in information
See more here…

With over 18 million documents in their database, you are sure to find new data and information for your project or narrative.


‘Search for PDF, Office DOCS, books, images, videos, shopping, word definitions, and more! You can focus on popular sites for topics such as health, business, journals, sports, or recipes, or you can limit the search to EDU/GOV sites, or look deeper into Wikipedia, gene therapy @wikipedia . Google or Bing are still one-click away when you need it!’

re:search - a new qway to search
Discover more here…

You can conduct your search in privacy, with no intrusive advertisements and can pivot your search to a new variety of search sources with a single click.

See re:search here.

Another secure, private search engine that offers a new insight into your chosen subject. No tracking, just search. Looks and sounds like Google, but with none of the lingering oversight, allegedly.

Oscobo - web search made private in the UK
See more here…

Worked quite quickly on our standard searches too.

Oscobo is a UK-based company founded by two guys who left their corporate jobs to work towards a belief they both shared – that personal data should remain just that, personal.

Disillusioned with the corporate world and that the private individual is paying for what seems to be “free” internet content, they felt it was time to turn the tables the other way round.

Oscobo is the only UK based Privacy Search Engine that does not track or store the user’s data’.    Source:    Accessed: 03.01.2017

Whatever new changes and needs for your project in 2017, all our best wishes from SmithMartin LLP.  If we can help, with or without a search, just ask. We’d be delighted to hear from you.

Tackling Charity Social Media?

View or download your copy here… have just published a new, very comprehensive charity social media tookit.

The work, by Zoe Amar and David Evans offers the sector a profoundly useful resource to grasp the first principles of social media. Helping you to understand the workflow and context needed and to be able to create and deploy a social media strategy of utility to your organisation.

‘We wrote this guide for everyone, from all-hands-on-deck small charity workers to experienced digital managers in need of inspiration. Most of all, we want you to finish reading this guide bursting with ideas, strategies and tactics for your organisation’.

Spread over eight chapters the toolkit includes:

  • Your Social Media Strategy
  • Putting Social Into Action
  • How to Grow Your Social Network
  • How to Campaign and Fundraise with Social
  • Social Media Style and Consistency
  • Social Analytics in Advertising
  • Employee Social Media in Advocacy
  • The Future of Social Media for Non-Profits

Whatever your level of engagement with your partners, donors and funders or service users, then this toolkit should prove invaluable in refining your strategy, improving your audience interest and engagement, as well as adding to your social media skills as a professional.

You can access the toolkit on-line directly here, or download your own pdf copy here.

SmithMartin LLP are providers of web and communication services to the charity, education, social and community enterprise sectors.

We are happy to help any organisation across the UK to develop a web presence or new media strategy at any time. Contact us here.

Building the charitable web as a compassionate social business.

smp Plain Button
Communications delivered…


Julia Gillard and The Inaugural Annual Mackworth Lecture

Image 2We were invited to the Annual Mackworth Lecture on June 18th and extremely interested to listen to Julia Gillard, the previous Australian Prime Minister.

The lecture was established and delivered by the Institute of Directors ( IOD), Pall Mall, London and in connection with Australia and new Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts.Margaret Mackworth was elected the first woman president of the IOD in 1926 and was a member of the Suffragettes. In May 1915 she was returning with her father, Lord Rhonda on the RMS Lusitania and was one of the few survivors.

A woman of spirit, with audacity and resilience.

Julia Gillard talked about her time in office in Australia and her experience of gender harassment and capacity to deal with that. There is certainly more than a little sense of spirit, audacity and resilience about Julia too!

Julia is strongly interested in education across the world and especially in developing countries. She is a strong part of Global Partnership for Education and she talked with great passion about the need to act quickly to give all children a primary education, and especially girls.Image 3

The Unesco report, Education for All, makes interesting reading for all of us passionate about education as a right not a privilege.

Sue Martin SmithMartin Partnership and Books Go Walkabout

The Code Generation

Image 1

‘ Learning how to program is the new Literacy,’ says Marina Bers from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

An article by Niall Firth in the New Scientist 6.9.14, shows how children are using programming and coding skills as part of the new curriculum in the UK. Underlying this new introduction to the curriculum is something much more fundamental to learning, which is, creative intelligence.

Intelligence is fundamental to learning and learning is fundamental to to developing intelligence. A question that is asked by educationalists when trying to foresee into the future for the new generation is how will the learning of today be meaningful to future lives.

What are children doing, how are they learning and what will they need in the future?
In today’s world and looking to the future as much as we can, the answers we suggest are…

Q. What are children doing?

A. They are using technology daily, from an early age they are using devices to control and to manipulate.

Q. What are they learning about?

A. They are learning about the world in literacy, mathematics, science and the other areas of the curriculum.

Q. What will they need in the future?
A. They will need to use a variety of devices to operate, to learn, find out knowledge, explore, be creative and on a merely functional level to be able to exist in a modern technological world.

To enable even the basic methods of existence in a modern world, they will need to operate a number of on line programmes, banking, communication, record keeping and the list is exponential as time moves on.

Children and technology are developing at a pace. If adults are not presently engaged in coding and programming, children are and will be even more in the future.

It will be as important as being able to read, it will be the new literacy. Reading is also in its basic form a method of decoding symbols which leads to interpreting and developing meaning.

There is some evidence that learning to code can boost the ability for abstract thinking and problem solving’ Niall Firth, New Scientist 6.9.14

And that is similar to writing stories, to write music, to create algorithms, to design using geometry, to learn a new language, to decipher writing in non alphabet style scripts, such as Mandarin, Hebrew and Arabic.

Programming and coding, until recently, have been the domain of those most gifted, and rightly so, but now children and young people can lead us all into this largely unknown territory.

In 2012, Code Club was launched by programmers Clare Sutcliffe and Linda Sandvik as an after school activity. It now has 2,200 groups across the UK with volunteers teaching 36,000 children.

In 2014, Microsoft, Google and the Royal Academy of Engineering are working with the DFE on a method to teach school children, how to build software and it’s use, create simple algorithims and to understand the principles of coding. How amazing is that!

‘A major constraint on growth is the shortage of qualified graduates with the depth of knowledge you have from playing around with computers for years. Ebon Upton, Creator of Raspberry Pi.

There are toys available today for coding and these include. Primo, Hello Ruby and Robot Turtles. Other games, such as board games and puzzle books are using graphical programming language.

A programme called Scratch, was set up 10 years ago by Michael Resnick, director of Life Long Learning group at the Massachusett’s IT Media Lab. Resnik believes that children will thrive through learning coding in a world dominated by expanding digital platforms.

‘ Kids shouldn’t be just the recipients of what others are creating.’ Michael Resnick

Scratch is a programme language that is easy and fun for children to use, they can create simple programs by making blocks of instructions to the required sequence and then ‘run’ the code with one click.

The well known programme Minefield uses complicated methods with symbols and structures for the creation of individual worlds.

There are many examples of programmes, downloads, Apps and games which use and establish young people in to a whole new world of learning.

Children are learning some of the following;

Coding – sequencing, planning ahead and making something work in a certain order.

Loops- Snippets of code that repeat steps f actions.

Parallelism – when sequences of instructions can run at the same time

Debugging – running back through faulty code

Abstraction – constructing in layers, so what we see is just the tip of the iceberg

Algorithims – procedures for solving many interfaces of the same problem

We could also look into computational thinking and beyond.

Learning and intelligence using skills that children will indeed use in the future.

A whole brave new world indeed!

Sue Martin – SmithMartin Partnership LLP

William Tyndale School, UK
& Aleesah Darlison, Australia

BGW logoJSBooks Go Walkabout Projects 2013

One of our partnership literacy projects has been working in schools and letting children and young people talk to authors across the globe.

Students from Year 6 at William Tyndale Primary School in London, were Skyping with Aleesah Darlison, Australian author from Sydney on Thursday March 13th.

We have been reading two books from Aleesah’s Unicorn Riders series, Quinn’s Riddles and Willow’s Challenge, a fantasy genre for children from 8 – 11 years.

The students were speaking with Aleesah in Sydney and using our project technology, engaged with Aleesah on the interactive white board in their own classroom.

Aleesah bought her books to life, using character props, answering questions and talking about life in Australia.An image of life 'down under'...

Books Go Walkabout project – a SmithMartin LLP project providing real time conversations, speaking with authors in different countries, creating inspiration, reading more books, illustrating a world of diversity.

Visit and subscribe for free to Book Monitor  , the Books go Walkabout project blog.

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Making connections in the Storyverse

We think that our projects are about making connections. Connecting children with books, connecting people with communities, making information freely available on-line for those communities of interest…revealing new things in new ways.

We do use technology, we love the web for its endless potential to reveal and strive to make access to that information and the connections as simple, yet as meaningful as possible.

We recently came across the Small Demons web site. This makes connections from within books, to all the elements of a story that you might think are important.

Small Demons sets out to index the content of books, but to also allow you to cross reference that content with other books, allowing you to build your own Storyboard. This short film gives you a flavour of the intellectual possibilities for your Storyboard…



As you would expect, the site is fully integrated with all the social media connections you will need to share your Storyboard. (If you have added a book, the site offers viewers the opportunity to buy it too, of course).

You can see a quickly created example of a Storyboard, using some of our interests with the keyword ‘community’ here.

Small Demons is a new way to explore texts, but it definitely captured our imagination.

You can see our books and making connections projects here…

Books go Walkabout        City Stories           Thirdsectorweb

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Emotional creativity – imaginative landscapes…



Shekhar Kapur and A R Rahman have created a new Bangalore based social network for creative expression – QYUKI.

Using the internet and a web connection to set your mind and your imagination free.



The aims of QYUKI are that…

…the platform aims to discover the vast untapped talent of India and the Indian diaspora; mentor and transform them into brands of the future
Qyuki’s dynamic young team lives off one common dream – to empower people’s self-expression and help build their creative identity.

As a tool for social connectivity we liked the system of casting ’emo votes’ for submission to the network. Casting a vote on an emotional basis for what you have just read or seen.

Shekhar Kapur was a chartered accountant in an oil company, before changing his life to become an Oscar nominated actor, director and producer of films.

A visit to the home page of QYUKI offers the viewer a short presentation by Kapur and co-founder A R Rahman – the talk by Shekhar Kapur we found particularly inspiring. He talks about the stifling of creativity and the potential to realise ambitions for young people and how letting go with that imagination and engaging across the world with others for creativity is a great way to change your expectations and those of others. His own life course illustrated.

A philosophy that chimes with our partnership approach to international and UK projects and how to use the internet for community gain and individual expression within a framework of ethical action.

We are currently supporting Marham Voices, a Heritage Lottery funded community project which aims to deliver a oral history and heritage publication for a rural community.

Part of the process is to create an oral archive and free publication for the community and we have built an Open Source and free software ‘tool-kit’ which will enable volunteers to create digital and print outputs for the project – at no cost for users or the project. (The hardware and physical technology generously supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund).

In our own small way we hope that by deploying our technology as a community resource we can help to create an emotionally coherent and better understood landscape for a small corner of the UK…with a lot of fun doing it along the way!

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Having an Idea!

A Wordle - ideas expressed

You know that moment when suddenly the most brilliant idea comes into your head? What happens from then can either make the idea come alive or it remains dormant.

Two young people who have had brilliant ideas and been able to put them into practice are Pavegen founder Laurence Kemball-Cook and Raspberry Pi co -creator, Eben Upton.

In the Royal Society for the Arts publication this Autumn, 2012, they talked about their thoughts on establishing a working model for their ideas. Both are now proven and making great strides in improving lives using technology.

But without the ‘good idea’ even technology is unable to change and improve how we live; although it can be the ‘tool box’ and make the idea possible.

So what are the principles needed? Where does a good idea go from here? How steely are your nerves? Because once your idea takes off it can explode into a hungry world.
And how do you ‘hang on’ to the originality and ensure the idea is not swallowed up by larger and wealthier organisations?

Both Laurence Kemball Cook and Eben Upton share similar approaches; the ideas they conceived were alongside other original work, they had the intrigue to follow the idea, they sought funding which would enable the idea to take shape but not so big that they lost control and they were prepared to deviate in the development when needed.

Pavegen is a new concept using flooring and people’s steps to produce energy.
Raspberry Pi is an affordable credit card sized computer that can be used in schools to teach technology.
Both on their way to success and will make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Lots of ideas are already finding their way into our global technological society. Never easy but if you have an idea, it could be the very one to change the life for someone out there.

Tocare el cielo con dito‘  Touch the sky with your finger tips!

Sue Martin FRSA

SmithMartin Partnership LLP Creative, entrepreneurial and flexible and pleased to work with RSA in promotion of ‘free thinkers‘.

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Volunteering in Children’s Centres

Children’s Centres and Volunteering is just the start…

Helping each other manage a life(Image courtesy of Pleasent Valley Children’s Centre)

What better way is there for parents to get involved in their local Children’s Centre than through volunteering programmes?

There is a wealth of activities and services for young children and families from Stay and Play sessions to visits to local outside spaces.

Children’s Centres are an excellent place for families and parents to make that first step in involvement. They have well defined systems for volunteering and training programmes to enable parents to know they are doing the right thing!

Many centres are now very encouraging to parents to join their team of volunteers and become active in the life of the centre.

The real beauty of the system is that in all communities, whether a highly populated inner city area or rural countryside, there is a Children’s Centre for all young families.

Involvement does develop even further and all Children’s Centres are enabling a Parent’s Forum to be in place, many are extending this to parental involvement on the partnership board. It is in fact a requirement from government and empowers the parents to have a voice in the direction of their Children’s Centre.

Sure Start Children’s Centres have been in place since 2006 and although some have experienced some changes in organisation and governance, for the most part they are still a supportive presence for local communities.

Their work is undoubtedly recognised and desperately needed, they have become a real zone for support in a friendly and positive role. Their work with outreach and families prevents many problems from developing to more serious issues. The partnership with health teams and Early Years teams gives children a much better chance in life.

SmithMartin Partnership LLP is working on a pilot project with a national campaigning organisation on how volunteering can be extended and the positive role that it portrays to all parents.

The Dept. for Education has recently published a paper;

Increasing Parental and Community Involvement in Sure Start Children’s Centres.

This can be downloaded here…(pdf file).

It discusses ways that parents can achieve even more in the development of the Children’s Centre. It describes ways in which volunteering, parent’s forum and partnership board involvement, can be extended into parents becoming even more involved in the organisational structure of the centre.

Much to be considered and interesting to chart the next stages of Children’s Centre development.

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership – Broadening horizons in communities

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Practical wisdom, now more than ever…

We recently revisited the Gel talk, by Professor Barry Schwartz, of Swarthmore College, from the Gel Conference 2009.

This presentation is about the need to embrace, or rather re-embrace, the notion expounded by Aristotle of practical wisdom. The classical idea of ‘virtue’, which is refracted through our modern life experiences and emerges as ‘practical wisdom’ or phronesis

Barry Schwartz at Gel 2009 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

The short film above offers a view of this process, or rather how, in the current economic and socially turbulent times, we have lost or missed the key elements of wisdom in our dealings with each other, the institutions we serve or the people we entreat with.

The ideas expressed are as telling now as they ever were during the banking crisis of 2009.

Educators and childcare specialists can also find insight in Barry Schwartz’s talk – offering some interesting observations, as it does on teaching, rules in childcare settings and the difficulties of parenting.

The key message in the talk is perhaps that, following crises, we seek to implement more and more rules to prevent the crisis recurring. The stronger and stronger reliance on rules, Schwartz argues, ultimately deprives us of the moral skill to successfully negotiate our day to day relationships.

This key idea, having the moral will to do right, is intimately linked in this argument to developing the moral skills necessary to do the right thing.

As the shoot from the hip, reactive policy changes in current education, social care, health and charitable environments occur, it is easy to find parallels in the arguments presented by Schwarz.

What is missing, it can be argued, is the moral will of the actions taken. What effect does this have on a person, on a people, not only on the process, not only on the institution.

Professor Schwartz delivers his points in a humorous and easily understood way – making the power and challenge in his arguments even more telling. See what you think…

(What is Gel? “Short for “Good Experience Live”, Gel is a conference and community exploring good experience in all its forms – in art, business, technology, society, and life”. See more on the Gel website here.)