Collaboration tools

A dog on a beach

A photo of a small dog to brighten up an otherwise rather dull post.

Google Docs

I have Google Docs as I signed up when I got my Gmail account. However, I have to admit that I have not yet got around to using it. It’s not that I don’t collaborate with others on work – my current job requires me to do that a lot, and I often share my written work with others to get their opinions. Unfortunately, it just never occurs to me to use Google Docs for this. I guess by the time I’ve logged into Google Docs and created my work, I might as well have emailed it to them. I know, I know – it will save me time in the long run, but my mind works on impatience rather than forward-planning. I do think this tool will be really useful when I go back to Uni, as I am now doing the course Distance Learning (starting in September at RGU!), which will require me to share work remotely more often.

Dropbox

I downloaded Dropbox a while ago and have only just started using it properly. It’s a real godsend at the moment as I am working on my Graduate Trainee Project and it means I can access and update my research both at home and at work. It is great for working from home, which I have only done once so far but it went very well, because I could access all my work documents at home via Dropbox. It also serves as an excellent storage space when your flash drive is getting full (which mine always seems to be!)

Wikis

I have only contributed to one Wiki so far, the one for Library Camp Leeds, but I am fascinated by the idea that anyone can contribute (and say what they like)! As a soon-to-be-Library-School-student, I probably shouldn’t say this – but I love Wikipedia. I know it shouldn’t be used in an academic context, but if you just want an idea of what oleaginous means it’s great. It has also revolutionised the  idea of an encyclopedia.
In a work context, I think that wikis are a great way for staff to communicate changes to everyone who needs to know. At the University Library where I work, there is a divide between library Customer Services and Librarians, so a Wiki could be used to quickly update everyone on new procedures etc that might affect both services. But this of course relies on everyone contributing and checking the Wiki regularly, which many people may not have time to do.

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