Thing 13: Collaborative working online

This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 13: Google Drive, Wikis and Dropbox.

This thing is focussed on tools for file sharing and collaborative working online – Google Drive, Dropbox and Wikis.  I’ve been using Google Drive (previously Google Docs) for several years both as a collaborative tool for committee and group work and as a way of accessing personal files on different computers without having to take a memory stick with me everywhere.  One big advantage of Google Drive as a collaborative tool, particularly for short-term projects or where documents are not shared frequently, is that most people already have a Google account.  This makes getting started with Google Drive easy and there isn’t that initial barrier of setting up yet another online account.

One feature of Google Drive I tried out that was new to me was the Google Drive download which puts a folder on my desktop containing all my files in Google Drive.  I’m glad I’ve found this as I quite like being able to access my documents without having to find the website and log on.

Dropbox was new to me, but it seems to be pretty similar to Google Drive.  Other than Google’s advantage of popularity I can’t see any real advantage of one over the other.  Dropbox looks nice, I like the interface and part of me thinks I already use too many Google services, but I think Google’s popularity (and therefore ease of sharing with people) is going to swing it for me.

Wiki’s aren’t new to me but they’ve never been part of my everyday work routines, though I can certainly see how a wiki could be just the right solution in certain situations.  I’ve contributed to the Library Day in the Life and UK Library Blogs wikis.  I’ve found these and the Library Routes Project wiki really useful sources of information.  They’re so simple to contribute to that lots of people do, which is what makes them great resources.  I’m definitely a fan of wikis.