Growth of a Librarian


Sharing documents
August 16, 2011, 12:08 pm
Filed under: CPD | Tags: ,

This week I am already a big fan of one of the tools under discussion – Google docs.  This service was incredibly useful for group projects while working on my MA.  We were able to upload all our documents to a central location and allow everyone access without having to worry about writing over other people since you can actually see any modifications to a document in real time.  Google docs also automatically saves the newest version of a document, but keeps the older versions in back-up files for awhile so that on the occasions where a group member did somehow erase earlier modifications by another person old versions could still be accessed to fix the problem.

While working on my dissertation I have also used Google docs as a sort of back-up for my own documents, and simply not set them to share with anyone else.  This type of function seems to be what a service like Dropbox is ideal for, as well as allowing access from multiple computers.  I do wish that I had known about Dropbox while I was still taking classes, since I frequently ran into the problem that a file I needed was only saved on my home computer or a computer on campus when I was at the other location.  The problem, however, is that for Dropbox to function it has to be downloaded to the computer, which I would have been unable to do on campus anyway.  Evernote seems to provide a similar service, except it doesn’t function as a sharing platform, but at least it allowed for an entirely online option which for me is more useful.  My first impression is that if I could somehow combine Evernote and Dropbox it would create a tool that I would definitely use, but as they stand at the moment I will continue to use Google docs instead.

As for Wikis, these seem like a whole different type of tool, or at least useful in addressing a different type of problem.  They are more like websites or blogs, and at present I simply can’t see how I have any use for them.  It’s useful to know that they are out there, of course, in case I come across something in my work life that makes them more relevant.  In fact, in saying that, I believe someone mentioned a wiki that has been set up for staff at the library where I am doing my placement, the one where I will shortly be working, and a couple of others.  I will definitely have to check that out, and may have more of an opinion on and use for this particular tool after seeing it in action in the workplace.

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3 Comments so far
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A little late to comment, but I just wanted to say that you don’t need to install Dropbox on every computer in order to use it. I have it installed on my home computer, and I can get to the files through the Dropbox website when I’m at work. It’s not ideal, but it beats carrying a USB drive around.

Comment by Nicole Brock

But how are the amendments saved if you don’t have a Dropbox on the computer at work? Do you have to email the document to yourself?

Comment by Erica Beache

You upload the document back to Dropbox and it overwrites it. Not as graceful as if it were installed on the machine, but it works in a pinch.

Comment by Nicole Brock




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