Thing 13: Google Drive, Wikis and Dropbox

Oh dear, a three-week holiday means that I am now four Things behind. However, events over those three weeks have turned my perspective on cpd23, and what I might do with the Things, around. When I left to go to Canada I had finished work and was expecting to come back to plan what to do next. Instead of which, I have a job! This can act as a postscript to Thing 7 on real-life networking, because it was one of my SALCTG friends who contacted me to say she had a vacancy and needed it covered for about 8 weeks till it could be filled permanently. So from 27th August I’ll be Site Librarian at the Scottish Agricultural College in Edinburgh – I’m not keen on the commute from Glasgow, but it’s only for a short time and it helps out a friend as well as giving me something to put on my CV to show I’m still active and haven’t just taken early retirement to sit around all day watching TV.

So with that introduction, on to these collaborative tools which, as I will be working in a multi-site library, I can see uses for again. First, Google Drive, formerly Google Docs.  I have already used this for creating and sharing documents. One example outside the Library, which might be of interest, is the B.Ed Placement Document used at Jordanhill last session. One of the Education lecturers set this up so that students could ask questions or share hints and tips while they were out in schools. She gave me access too, so that I could add in relevant links from the Library and elsewhere that I thought would be useful to them. This was a great way of both helping the students and promoting the library.

Dropbox again is familiar to me. I’ve used it to share things with friends and colleagues, and it also came into its own when I was finishing work – I could put all the documents I thought I would still need into it and then access them from home without the tedious use of pen-drives or sending emails to myself. Dropbox is also a boon when working with chartership candidates so that we can share drafts and always be sure we are looking at the most up-to-date version.

Wikis, I find a bit more problematic – they can be quite clunky to use. I’ve never set one up from scratch for my own use, though we did try one out for SALCTG a few years ago, meaning to have a blog for our public face and a private wiki for members to discuss future plans. It just seemed too complicated to write instructions for the wiki so that people with different levels of skills could collaborate. In the end, we used a blog with a closed section for members-only use. I have, however, contributed to both the Library Day in the Life and Library Routes projects.

In conclusion, I have found Dropbox and Google Drive to be more useful than wikis. I don’t know yet what use of such tools is made in my new workplace, but it will be interesting to find out and maybe suggest new ideas.

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Anabel Marsh

I'm a proud Glaswegian who loves to go gallivanting both at home and abroad. Join me in my travels, both historic and current. Credit where credit's due: photography mostly by my more talented other half, John.

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