Monday, August 15, 2011

Unlucky Thirteen - the Thing of collaborative working

Apparently, collaboration is not just a thing that it is naughty to do with the enemy during a war. It is also a Good Thing too. There are many collaborative tools, and Thing 13 asks us to take a look at one or more of their suggested tools: Google Docs, Wikis, and Dropbox.

Now, I've looked at Google Docs in passing before, or when someone's pointed me towards a document they'd like some input on that's being hosted there. To be honest, I've not seen much use for it for me currently - my role does not often need that sort of mass-input to create single documents, or to share them widely. Same for Dropbox - I've not had much need to put a document somewhere that people can later download it from. If I want to work on a document at home, I can access my computer remotely, or email it to my personal email address. So, neither of these two resources currently do much for me, as my work needs don't call for much in the way of document collaboration..

Wikis, I'm much keener on! I've used wikis in many ways:

  • One for hosting my Chartership materials and allowing my mentor to access and review them at her leisure.
  • One that my boss and I use as a Library staff duties handbook, and backup reference resource for supplier contacts and other non-sensitive information.
  • One for the SLLG Committee, to host core group materials and essential information for the development and running of the groups activities.
  • One for Bethan Ruddock and I to work privately on our revalidation materials together.
  • One for public viewing, which replicates the revalidation wiki, with sensitive personal information edited out.

These have all worked well for me, as they were or are being used for more than just working on creating documentation, but actively for discussions, and creating and maintaining a database of relevant information for current and future users.
They're designed to be more long-term and regularly evolving, whereas I see Google Doc and Dropbox as resources that are used while things are in progress (Google Docs) or when complete (Dropbox). Wikis are more useful for regular, ongoing activities, and to hold reference materials, and for these reasons they're more useful resources for me than the other collaborative tools.


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