Google Apps: What can you do with it?
The tools I find most useful in libraries are: Drive, Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, Sites and of course Gmail and Calendar. There are many others.
The best applications I’ve found for the tools include:
1. Collaborating on documents so there is only one version floating around as multiple people add to it. With the new editing feature, you can suggest changes to Word documents as well as Google docs without changing the original.
This is particularly useful for spreadsheets where multiple people give input. Morris-Union Federation uses this to record statistics among member libraries.
2. Create intranets and websites with access restricted to particular people or particular domains. So everyone @your_library.org can access a site but no one else if you wish.
3. I started using Google Docs (now called Drive) years ago so I could access all my files from any device. Today there are many tools that can do this, including Dropbox and OwnCloud. But they don’t have all the Google Apps tools that integrate seamlessly with each other, including Forms, Sites, and Calendar.
You may have some security and privacy concerns about any cloud service. My thinking is:
1. You will always want to backup data regardless of what tool you use, and
2. Library information is mostly public information.
From that perspective, I find the potential problems are outweighed by the convenience and simplicity in setup and administration.
Google Apps in Your Library
Google Apps for NonProfits and Google Apps for Education are both free. If your Friends group is a 501(c)3, the easiest way to get Google Apps is for your Friends to gift it to the library. Just apply at: http://www.google.com/nonprofits/products/
Once you have it, you may choose to use any or all of the myriad of tools available. More on how to use them next week ….
Library of The Chathams
- Productivity Tools
- Design & Development
- Programming & Services