Archive for the ‘camtools’ Tag

Working in the cloud

Cloud image

Image from Flickr, by kevindooley

Back on a computer, so I’m taking the opportunity and skipping Thing 19 for now, to write about Thing 20, Google docs, because I know what I want to say and it won’t take long.

It won’t take long particuarly because Girl in the Moon already said it all. We used Google docs to create a number of documents as part of our preparations for the Cambridge Librarians Teachmeet. We each used it for a different kind of document and then added things to each other’s work. It was really easy to use and very useful in that context. The benefits are obvious for collaborative working (avoiding all those emailed attachments, etc). I am still left with some negatives though:

  • As Girl in the Moon mentioned, you have to know the correct email address for someone’s Google account (or they need to create one specially to collaborate with you if they don’t already have one). That led to a bit of back-and-forth with us and it is interesting to note quite a few of us choose different email accounts for different things.
  • The documents in Google format are fine for simple structures where you don’t want to do much in the way of formatting. However, when I tried to change the layout of something to landscape… nope, not possible, at least as far as I could tell.
  • Transferring documents from Word to Google and back again did create some oddities in formatting again, which were quite frustrating and would be even more so if I were using Google docs on a regular basis.

I was glad of the chance to try Google docs out with a real purpose and was impressed with the way you could add location-specific notes to explain what you’ve done to a document and why. However, I wonder whether there might be some options for collaborative working offered by CamTools that might have worked better in the case of the Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet organisers since we’re all Cambridge University staff with access to CamTools.

Operator error

or, A calendar is only as good as the person operating it.

Google calendar

Google calendar screenshot

Google calendar looks good, was very easy to set up and I like the variety of views you have as well as all the options to set up regularly repeating events. So far so good. I’ve done a screenshot with a month to view, mainly because I don’t have a huge number of events in a single week. I have it embedded in my iGoogle page too but it irritates me that I can’t quite see enough of the detail there so I tend to click through to the whole thing.

So there are all these lovely whizzy features and I can see real potential in Google calendar as a tool, especially when I only work part-time and often want to refer to my calendar while away from the library. I have a diary at work, another one I carry about (very tiny and even then I often fail to have it with me when I really need it) as well as a wall calendar at home with family things on it. An online calendar sounds ideal and Google calendar does so much. Marvellous. However, it was brought home to me this week that even the cleverest calendar cannot make up for operator error. I managed to miss the West of Cambridge Cam23 meet-up organised by @ange_fitzpatrick because I failed to put it in my calendar. Nothing can help me with that I fear. I need a to-do list that tells me to write things into my calendar. Sigh.

I was very interested in the reading for this Thing, on how Google calendar is used by institutions and libraries in particular. Other bloggers have shown how it works in their library for rotas and leave and various other layers of information. At first I couldn’t quite see the benefits over a calendar in any other format but then I found out about the way you can import other calendars into your own and various other features that would make it easier for library staff or library users to have information where they needed it. Assuming they remember to use their Google calendar, unlike me.

CamTools calendar screenshotI can see the benefit though I still feel I would prefer not to have to create Google accounts for work. I looked at the calendar on CamTools and set some events up there too. It was easy to use though not as slick as Google calendar and I’m not sure if it has all the same features. I’d need to play around with a bit more but it seems more limited. However, I’d be more comfortable with the idea of staff being required to use CamTools than Google. That’s a feeling I can’t quite get rid of.

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