Monday, 14 September 2015

Thing 16: Collaboration Tools

Welcome back to Rudai 23! We hope you had a restful and productive catch-up week. It's hard to believe that there are only seven Things left after today's post.

Today we are talking about collaboration tools and we think it's very apt after covering advocacy in our last Thing and our Twitter chat. Now that you are all fired up and ready to start your advocacy campaign for your library you need the tools to collaborate with your team. 

As Librarians and Information Professionals, Collaboration is one of the most important and crucial skill sets we possess.

Let's just be honest, we are good at it. This whole course wouldn't have happened without collaboration. In order to put this course together we used Google Groups, Trello (briefly), Google Drive and Hangouts. We also collaborate on the Pinterest Boards for each Thing and we used LinkedIn and Twitter to collaborate with other information professionals who have done 23 Things courses in the past.

We are good at it because every day we need to work together. If we are a Solo Librarian we need to collaborate with other professionals on a daily basis; as students we collaborated on team projects; as professionals through CPD we collaborate on conference presentations & research projects; in our day to day life as a librarian & information professional we attend team meetings, collaborate with community groups and develop partnerships with local schools and colleges.

There are many online tools to make collaboration and teamwork effective and efficient.
In this post I shall focus on two tools:

  1. Google Drive - for editing & sharing documents
  2. Doodle - for scheduling meetings

Google Drive is one of the most popular tools to use when collaborating on a team project. You can share documents with multiple recipients and allow them to comment or edit. You can also set up folders and allow others to add or view documents in the folders. You can either upload documents to Google drive from your computer or create them from within Google using programmes such as: 
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • Google Forms - which lets you create surveys or registration forms, which we used for registering for this course.
Some newer functions include Google Drawings & Google my maps.
To illustrate how to use them in a collaborative way I shall focus on:
  • Sharing
  • Editing
  • Commenting 

Step 1 Open your Google drive

The picture below shows my personal Google Drive Homepage.

Step 2 Click on the New button on the left hand side and choose from the options that appear

The picture below shows I have opened a Google Doc which works like a Microsoft Word document.

The main elements to look at here are the Share and Editing options

Step 3 Share your document

When you click on the Share option a new window opens. See the picture below for an example. You can enter multiple email adresses of the people that you want to share the document with. You can also chose wether they can view or edit the document.

 If you click on the Advanced button you will be provided with more options such as a shareable link which you can use on social networks and also the option to make your document publicly available. We used this function when sharing our list of questions for our Twitter chat.

To see which documents have been shared with you, return to your Google Drive page and click on Shared with me on the left-hand side of your screen. From here you can add the documents to your own folders.

To edit a document that has been shared with you, open the document in Google Docs, click on Editing on the right of the tool bar. See the image below.

You can chose to edit directly, or create suggested edits. If you create suggested edits then your profile will appear as the editor and your suggestions will show on the document highlighted in a different colour.

To comment on a document click on Comments, just above the Editing button. Here you can comment on suggested edits or reply to other people's comments.

We recently used this function during a Google hangout. Three of our team worked together composing a google document and could simultaneously edit the document as well as talk to each other via google hangouts. It was a very productive way to get a document finalised.

 Doodle is a quick and easy tool for scheduling meetings. You can circulate an agenda, provide a list of options for proposed dates of the meetings and also include a poll. You can also integrate your doodle account with your Google contacts list.

 Step 1 Create your event

Step 2 Add some details

Step 3 Include some proposed dates and times

Step 4 Invite people to respond.

The person who has scheduled this meeting will be informed once participants have filled in their time.
You can then go to the Doodle page and view which time best suits all participants.

The task for Thing 16 is:

We have set up a Google Doc and made it public, the link is here.  For this task we would like you to add a piece of information to the document, or comment on the document itself.


Set up a Doodle meeting with some people at work or a few other participants on Rudai 23, you can add myself or any of the team to the meeting if you wish.

Write a blog post on your experience of these tools, and collaboration tools in general, how do you think they would fit in with your library? What collaboration tools have you used in your work that you find useful if any?

Take a look at our Pinterest page Collaboration Tools for some further reading.

Thing 16: Collaboration Tools was written by Siobhan McGuinness, Library Intern with the Heritage Council of Ireland.


  1. Great Post I must say! I would agree with all of your points here. I personally think collaboration tools should be with every team in the company. It allows team members to freely collaborate without being at one place. The best team collaboration software would be the one that helps you with increasing productivity by reducing the tasks that waste your time.

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  6. These are some great tools that i definitely use for SEO work. This is a great list to use in the future..

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