Monday, 22 August 2011

23 Things for Professional Development: Thing #13

I've explored some file-sharing tools in the past, but not all the ones mentioned as part of Thing #13. I have to admit, as much of a Google fan as I am, I've never really investigated Google Docs. But true to form, after having a quick play, it looks as intuitive to use as Google Reader. I can definitely see the benefit of using to this to share documents with people outside of your immediate workplace - for example, sharing your Chartership portfolio with the wider community seems to be to be a great use of it! However, I'm not sure how likely it would be to take off within my own work setting. We already make use of SharePoint to enable a group of us to edit the same document without making multiple copies (well, some of us do - the repository has it's own SharePoint site where we keep documents with stats etc). I'm not sure that introducing another tool that does the same job is necessary - especially when not everybody has signed up for a Google account, but everybody is automatically given a SharePoint account.

So, onto Dropbox then. My husband has been going on at me for ages to set up a Dropbox (he's sick of me saving documents in mutliple places and then losing memory sticks all over the place), so this seemed to be a fairly good opportunity to finally take his advice! So for me, Dropbox is more about being able to store my documents online and access them from multiple computers than about using it as a collaborative tool. I've now set up a Dropbox account and have added some of my Chartership work, and essays I'm writing as part of a work leadership management course, to it. I'm hoping I can add it to my work computer as well, but it's good to know that I can access the documents from any PC online if I'm not on one of those two computers. I've also had a quick look at sharing files via Dropbox. This looks easy enough, but I'm not sure exactly who would be interested in reading my essays on change management!

And finally, onto wikis. Now, this is something I do have experience of using. I've read a lot of wikis in the recent past (Wikipedia being one of them, but also a number of less well-known wikis that have been set up by people working on projects to improve repositories). However, I've also set them up, and contributed to them, in a work setting. I added details about my Twitter account to the latest Library Day in the Life project wiki, and we use a private wiki in our repository team to store details about our processes (e.g. how to add full text items/ how to put together monthly stats reports etc). I have to admit that the initial process of setting up a wiki was a bit daunting - I used wikidot (on the advice of others who had already used it), and it took me an entire morning to set it up the way I wanted. Now it's there though, it's easy to edit and use. It's a great way for anyone in the team to be able to instantly update the instructions without there being multiple variations. It also meant that when we had a work experience student with us who didn't have full access to all the library's documents, she could still see, use, and edit the guidance on our repository procedures.

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