to share documents with co-authors or admirers? Want to have ready
access to a file no matter where you are? A variety of web-based tools
exist to fill those needs. These platforms externally host the file,
and allow the owner to designate who can view or edit it.
Perhaps the easiest to start using is Google Docs, an option available
to anyone who has registered with a gmail account. The user can either
upload an existing file to edit, or create a new one.
The convenient feature of this type of platform is the ability to grant
access to these documents to any other user, allowing them to either
view or edit the document. Multiple users at the same time can work on
the document, or input data into a spreadsheet, which can be very
efficient for some projects. When completed, the document can be
exported into either PDF or Word format files, for any finishing
formatting touches. While Google Docs does allow for the insertion of
footnotes – something law writing enjoys perhaps a bit too much! – this
functionality is here a bit remedial.
A more advanced suite of tools is offered by Zoho.com, also available
after free registration. Drawbacks of Zoho as compared to Google Docs
is that Zoho does not have an autosave feature that regularly saves the
file being edited, which can prevent annoying data loss. Perhaps more
frustrating is that Zoho will not share documents with non-Zoho
subscribers. So if you choose this tool, make sure that everyone you
might want to share with already has a Zoho account.
Despite these limitations, Zoho has many things to recommend it. It has
a much better footnoting capability, and can export into a greater
variety of document formats, including .docx. (Interestingly, no
collaborative tools I looked at allowed exporting into WordPerfect.)
While the main attraction for this approach is the group editing that
it allows, Zoho does allow for offline editing as well.
Both Zoho and Google Docs convert a file into their own versions of
word processing or spreadsheet software (Zoho even has a version of
Powerpoint-like slides). If you prefer that the file stay in Word
format, or any format for that matter, you may be satisfied with a
service like Wiggio that uploads the file as it is without converting
it. This same ability exists for UGA members through mydrive.uga.edu,
but Wiggio allows sharing the file with others who can work on the file
(but not simultaneously as is the case with the other platforms).
These tools only scratch the surface of what has become available in
recent years. As everyone’s needs will be different, not everyone will
be drawn to the same choice. Look around to find which collaborative
research tool best suits your purpose.
Lunch-n-Learn: Exam Preparation
Student Services Librarian Maureen Cahill will share resources and strategies for preparing for exams.
Friday, November 6, 2009
We'll provide the pizza - you bring a beverage!
Holiday and Exam Hours
With the holidays and exams fast approaching, the Law Library's usual hours will change as follows:
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