Week 11: Online applications and tools

Productivity software
Word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, presentations, project management, and web conferencing are all examples of productivity software. Online versions offer many of the same features yet are quite different from what is installed on your computer. How so?

The online software we're looking at today is quite inexpensive - it's free. There is a reason for this - it doesn't do nearly as much as the software installed on your computer. The core features you see in Google Docs and Zoho match up surprisingly well. No installation of software is required. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection.

It's much easier to work on projects with others - colleagues, community group members, family, friends, whomever. Say, for example, you are working with your colleagues in a number of institutions. You post the first draft of a letter or a report, your colleagues make edits or add text to the document, and you bring the completed letter or report to your next meeting. The shared workspace means that no one is accidentally looking at an out-of-date version of the document. Watch this video to find out how Google docs works.

Digitage Web 2.0
Originally uploaded by ocean.flynn

Other useful online tools
Converting file formats is easy at Zamzar. For example you can convert a document to a pdf file.

Sharing presentation and slideshows is easy using Slideshare and Thumbstacks.

Explore: Look at this slide show from Slideshare for some more examples of free online productivity tools.

Discover: Using your gmail or Google account log into Google Docs and create a document.
Share it with us at nswpln@gmail.com - in the document please let us know your real name so we can credit this to you. In your blog consider possible applications for this in your work.

Adventure: Set up a Zoho account and compare it.


Superchicken 77 said...

am totally stunned by the number of free online productivity tools out there- need a while to wrap my head around them in terms of usage for patrons of the library, although can see the immediate use "behind the scenes".

jenny yan said...

It is truly amazing that one can get so many online softwares for free. I remember my first MS software that cost me more than $250 on a student discount 10 years ago. Free online applications mean more approachable ways for information equality.
I've tried both Google doc and Zoho. I find Google doc is on a much simpler version which means an easier use than Zoho. Zoho has much more features which makes delicate doc.
I've also converted one file from doc to pdf on Zamzar and it's easily done but waiting for the file to be sent to my email. If it has a similar result we probably don't need Acrobat professional software, do we? All those online tools make electronic access economically effective.

Jalen said...

Google Docs and Zoho, accessible anytime, anywhere ... if widely used, could this be the end of memory sticks (USB) and other peripheral storage devices? Just thinking out loud.

On second thought, not everyone who's got a pc has internet access.

Superchicken 77 said...

I agree Jalen, can see the end of "my disk isn't working" or "your computer trashed my USB"!!

Bambino said...

Like Superchicken, I find the sheer number of FREE online applications staggering. Sharing has never been so easy (or accessing your own docs to update them wherever you are). I was going to try converting a file using Zamzar, like Jenny, but then realised the file I had chosen was probably copyrighted so backed out! I will try it again soon with something of my own. It's all just mind-boggling and the simplicity factor is just so right! 'They' (the developers) seem to have thought of everything.

Bibliophile Wonder Woman said...

All this is great, however, my branch still runs on dial-up and simply cant support this...good old pencil and paper for me I am afraid

Annetta said...

I agree with Jenny - Google Docs is much easier and more 'user friendly'. I am going to use it for some of my HSC and Computer Literacy projects and sharing as well as co-operating is very high on my agenda.

Marg Trundle said...

I have dound Google Docs pretty straight forward and easy to understand.Could be used for many applications in the library and at home or with friends. The list is never ending.

Corplib said...

Very useful online FREE applications & tools for all to use. No need for purchasing software for one off use etc.

Google Docs easy to use, however cannot see uses for library service. Need to compare with Wiki for sharing info.

Adventure said...

Very very interesting - wish I'd known earlier about these!

old3693ie said...

From Fiddlercrab - I would definitely prefer Gmail to Zoho, but all this technology is blowing my mind!

Linda said...

I can see a lot of potential for google docs and similar products. As an example I am working on a document with a colleague. She is interstate for a few weeks and I work part time so setting up the document in google docs means we can both get to it when ever and where ever. I quite often email stuff to myself at home but with google docs I wouldn't have to do that.

WillC58 said...

Love this stuff. Changes how we can use computers in Libraries. I have tried most of these on my MAC @ home, and they work just as well there.

So bring on the future.

lw3526 said...

I love the idea of google docs this means i can work at home without having to worry about USB's or sending myself the wrong file!!! lovely.

monica.swrl said...

I did the exercise in Google Docs but didn't join Zoho.
Very interesting.

newtechgirl said...

Online apps have changed the way I do things so much that I don't even consider buying software anymore. If I have an idea about something I want - there's usually an app for it! It is so much easier to produce impressive results without hardly much effort at all.