Monday, 6 August 2012

Thing 13 – Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

Thing 13 is all about sharing documents, so here we are looking at Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox.

Within the team at the health library we have a shared network drive where we store all the relevant documents, spreadsheets etc that we use on a regular basis.
Sharing online offers us a potential solution to help to support our outreach librarians who obviously work off-site for the majority of their time. This could allow us to store documents that they regularly use online where they would be more accessible.

Google Docs

Since we have just been moved into gmail for our email system the Google Drive is available via our work email addresses. I’m slightly disappointed that you need to download something and install it – it wasn’t really explained why. What happens if you are working on another computer?
I’ve uploaded a word document and pdf document. At first I was a bit confused as to whether you have to convert it to a google document but you don’t. I’ve then gone in to share one of the documents and I’m just checking whether my NHS colleagues can view it.


This seems to offer a similar solution. Again you need to download something (isn’t this against the idea of the cloud?). However haven’t tried this yet as I’m on a hotdesk PC.


I’ve always thought keeping a wiki seemed like a good idea. It gives you the option to create pages, share documents, members can make comments and so on. At a number of places that I’ve worked I’ve made the suggestion that this kind of tool would be useful to keep track of documents, procedures, share and so on. But for some reason my enthusiasm has always fallen on deaf ears.


In theory these look like great tools and I like the idea of having tools that easily allow me to share resources either with my colleagues or between home/work. However we already have a shared work area and it works well so I doubt that this will be replaced. We need to have a greater incentive or extra benefits in order to change. I also need to share resources with colleagues who work on quite restrictive networks and it is not clear that these tools will be accessible from there.
I’m slightly disappointed that these tools require software to be downloaded – this seems to fly in the face of the idea of the cloud.

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