Friday, 16 September 2011

Thing 13 - Online collaborating and file-sharing

Thing 13 looks at tools to assist with sharing files and working collaboratively, such as Google Docs, Dropbbox and Wikis.
I was interested to learn from reading some of the other posts about Google Docs that it can be a useful alternative to Microsoft Office on a home computer.  I’ve recently been thinking about whether to purchase Office for mine, so I think I’ll give Docs a try first and see how it works out.  I also discovered that the Android Google Docs app allows me, in addition to the regular features, to take a photo of a document, sign, or other text on my phone and use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert it to text that can be edited.

I'm not sure that I will find Dropbox so useful.  It probably would have been very handy when I was doing my library course as I tended to work on both my work and home computers equally, and was always transferring documents to and fro with a USB stick.  Nowadays I don't find I need to transfer documents to more than one computer to the same extent so it may not be something I would get as much use from.

I don't really have much experience of working on joint documents, primarily the only times I've done that have been with colleagues at work.  We already have a number of shared drives at work which people use to share documents so the idea of using an internet based program to do it doesn't seem necessary.

However, I'm soon to be collaborating on a project with people I don't work with, and this is where I think services like Dropbox will be most useful.

My only experience of wikis is when I took part in the Library Day in the Life project back in July, although I believe we cover the Library Routes website as a later ‘thing’ so no doubt I’ll take part in that also.  I think wikis are a great idea, particularly for organising events between large groups of people.

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