Monday, 18 July 2011

Week 5, Thing 9 : Google Docs

Thing 9 is your chance to create a document online and share it with other cam23 2.0 colleagues via Google Docs.  You might be thinking "why would I want to do that?". Watch the video below for some of the reasons why Google Docs is useful:

Google docs is particulary helpful if you are working on a collaborative project with colleagues outside your library.  You can put up a document and share it with the others. All of you can edit it and there is just the one version rather than lots flying around via email. Also if a file is large (e.g. a powerpoint with lots of images) you don't need to worry about size limits on email accounts.  The cam23 2.0 organisers made use of Google Docs to plan this programme and update the information centrally.

Google Docs may also be used as a place to just store some files, especially if you are working across sites or want to access some files at home but can't get onto your office network.  Instead of moving everything about on a flashdrive you can save it up on Google Docs and, as long as you have access to the internet, you will have your files. 

How do I get started using Google Docs?

1.   Go to Google Docs and sign in with your Google account email and password (or set one up if you don't have one - you don't need to have a Gmail account you can use any email). 

2.   Click on Create New under the Google Docs logo  and choose either a document, presentation, spreadsheet, form or drawing.

3.   Depending what type of document you chose you will get a different work area. Enter your text and use the toolbars to help you format and save your work.  When finished just close the window to return to the Google Docs home page where your file should appear under modified today.  For more information check out the Google Docs help.

4.   If you have created the file on your PC then instead of clicking on Create New, just click on Upload and then Files and find the file you want to upload.  You will also see a settings option which allows you to confirm if you want your files converted to a Google docs format or not.

5.   You are now ready to share your file.  Click on the share button in the top right corner and an option box will open.  Enter the email addresses of the people you want to share it with or make it public to the world. You have the option to allow view only or edit permissions.  The people you share it with will receive an email with a link to the document. It will also be displayed on their Google Docs home page.  A word of warning.  If people are registered on Google with a gmail rather than their @cam address then this is the email you need to enter.  

Experiment and blog about it
Even if you do not wish to share files, Google Docs is great for creating quick forms and embedding them in your web page.  You have already used one when you registered your blog for cam23 2.0.  At Classics we use it for our book suggestion form on the website, check Book Suggestions. We find it useful as we receive an email when the form has been completed and all library staff are able to view the spreadsheet that the form populates.

Why not try out a form on your Cam23 2.0 colleagues.  I quickly set up the following form finding out about your use of Google Docs. Why not give it a go by following the link and let me know what you think of Google Docs?

Now blog about how you think you might use Google Docs or have used it. 

Next time you will be trying out Pushnote/Evernote.

Thanks to Kirsty for the original Cam23 Google Docs blog.

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