Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Google Docs: The Librarian

In an earlier post, we introduced a series about how 3Gstore uses Google Docs to collaborate between employees spread across the country.  Welcome back for the second installment!  This time we’ll get into some of the basic features that make this such a great library tool.

We have a lot of information that we need to share with our staff.  But having access is not the only key factor.  What good is a document if it’s out of date?  Sharing a doc among the people that need it reduces the hassle of emailing the attachment, hoping everyone opened/read/retained the latest version, and re-sending as changes occur.  In Google Docs, it’s easy to keep one document current, in one location that everyone can find easily.  People can even see changes in real-time, which makes it great for brainstorming or completing tasks for a project, especially when our staff is nowhere near each other physically.

One of the easiest things about Google Docs is actually getting a doc into the cloud.  It allows us to upload almost any kind of file including entire folders.  We can create new items of various kinds, from documents to spreadsheets to presentations and more.  Then of course we can share (or not) as needed.

A storage system wouldn’t be much good without a way to easily retrieve what’s in it.  It goes without saying that Google Docs has robust search capabilities, similar to what you can do in Gmail.  There are some other creature comforts as well.  “Star” your favorite/most used docs.  Create folders for similar docs.  Easily see when a doc was last modified.  The list goes on and on.

The good news?  Google Docs comes with 5GB free storage (on top of the tons available through Gmail).  The better news?  For very low monthly fees, you can increase that storage, making it a valuable addition for businesses, organizations, or groups of any kind (hello, rec leagues, fundraisers, reunion committees, and study groups!)  Get more details here, and keep your eyes on the blog for more real-world applications!