Thing 13: Collaborative tools

August 15, 2011

Collaborative tools are essential in today’s workplace.  Depending on where you work, your level of teamwork will vary.  I know that in the corporate world, the idea of teamwork is the prevailing influence.  When at my previous employment, we used SharePoint as our collaborative tool (not everyone was yet on board or good at it, but it was a start!)  I found that sometimes people felt that keeping an idea “close” to them sometimes worked against the idea of collaboration, as there was a fear of  not getting credit for ideas or work.

I am of the opinion that teamwork puts you and your team in a position of strength.  So, exploring these collaborative tools for the CPD23 is very important for libraries and their information workers.

I was already familiar with Google Docs and with Wikis:

  • Google Docs:  we are currently using this as a tool to collaborate on re-developing competencies for SLA.  The committee members are from all over, and besides a meeting/Skype call, we are using the space to summarize discussions and plan our way forward.  So far it has been a very useful tool.  For library applications, I can see this being used as a space for staff members to brainstorm and explore programming ideas.
  • Wikis: one of my team at my previous employment developed a Wiki to encompass all the acronyms that are used in our industry.  This tool was particularly useful for new employees, and could be contributed to by anyone on the corporate network.  It was moderated and edited as needed.  Again, as a staff tool, this could be used for a policy living document, or for acronyms that are often used specific to your area.

I had not explored Dropbox before, and I must say I was impressed with the ease of use.  Although not integrated with all my Google stuff like Google Docs, this seemed to be a simple way to share and organize.

Here is my public link for the document I “dropped” into a folder:

For those leery of the Google influence, Dropbox would be a nice option.  I could see myself using it for documents that I may want to often access remotely if I am traveling or going to a conference. 

I would be curious to find out how many of these collaborative tools are being used currently in libraries (including SharePoint).  Until I came to a corporate library, I hadn’t ever used collaborative tools, and I can see how useful it would have been in my academic librarian position.  I hope that more people are using these tools and embracing collaboration in order to grow their organizations and keep the ideas flowing.


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