Posts Tagged ‘cloud’

Thing 12 – Sharing Documents in the Cloud

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Preamble

About Information/Document Sharing

Effective collaboration and document sharing is one of the originating reasons behind the development of the network technologies that eventually led to the internet as we know it today. In the 1970’s, ARPANET connected several universities, allowing researchers and scientists to actively share information resources over great distances. The first and most important method birthed by these networks was the protocols allowing electronic mail.

These fundamental tasks that drove the early development and innovation of the larger internet itself have been streamlined and focused by years of technological advance. Large scale information sharing and editing capabilities are available to anyone with internet access, and for no extra cost in many cases.

The latest innovative approaches to fulfilling these information sharing needs include concepts like cloud computing and peer-to-peer file sharing. Cloud computing refers to the use of online applications which allow dynamic storage, use of, and editing of media without any need for the user to host, maintain, or store it themselves locally.

Peer-to-peer file-sharing allows large networks of users to share information autonomously as if they were hosted in a traditional server-client environment. Peer-to-peer filesharing and it’s offspring Bit torrent sharing are controversial due to the widespread use of these methods in information piracy.

Sharing documents and working on them collaboratively is a growing trend.

How does it Work?

Information/Document Sharing works in a variety of

ways, depending on the types of information you wish to share and the manner in which you want to share it. Below, we’ve provided examples of the different types of information/document sharing available on the web.

Online Document Collaboration

Google Documents (originally Writely): Google Docs mirrors many of the functions of traditional desktop applications like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint and combines them with the flexibility, sharing power, and portability of Gmail. To find out more about how Google Docs works, check out this informative video.

Zoho : Zoho is suite of powerful online office applications. In addition to offering traditional office applications like Zoho Writer (documents), Zoho Sheet (spreadsheets), Zoho Show (presentations), Zoho also provides tools for note taking, project management, online databases, and customizable wikis.

Online Document Sharing

Scribd : Scribd is a social publishing application, which allows you to publish your own documents to the web and search the submissions of others.

DocStoc : DocStoc, like Scribd, is an online social publishing application. DocStoc features include a large supply of document templates, and the ability to transfer large files free of charge.

edocr : Yet another document storage solution, edocr boasts excellent web2.0 compatibility, Google indexing, and contextual archiving.

Slideshare : As its name implies, Slideshare allows you to share your presentations with anyone in the world. With Slideshare you can add audio to your slides, embed your slideshows on your own personal blog or website, and join groups of other Slideshare members with similar interests.

OnStage : OnStage is a online application that provides document collaboration and project management tools. It features integration with other cloud computing tools like Scribd, and a healthy amount of security features.

Directory Sharing & Synchronizing

See”Best Online File Sharing Services”  at lifehacker

I have used:

Dropbox : Dropbox is a downloadable application which not only provides secure file backup, but also a simple way for synchronizing and sharing files across multiple computers. A free Dropbox account provides 2GB of space; additional storage requires a monthly fee.

Items to Read and View

Hands on Activity

Activity 1: Create & Share Your Work

First, visit ScribdDocStoc, or Slideshare – whichever you like best – and sign up for a free user account.

Then, upload a document that you have created (please don’t upload someone else’s work!). It can be a presentation you gave, a paper you wrote, a short story you’ve been working on – anything you want to share with the world. If you don’t have anything else handy, upload your most recent essay.

Once your work has been uploaded, you’ll see that your document has its own unique URL which you can give to anyone who you think might be interested in seeing what you’ve created. You can then go back and add your own custom tags to it, or you can explore the site to rate and/or comment on documents created by other people.

Activity 2: Collaborate with Friends or Colleagues

Visit Google Docs or Zoho and create a free account, if you don’t have one already. Note: You can also sign in to Zoho using your Google or Yahoo account.

Create a new document by either typing in some text, or importing/uploading a document you’ve already created (any format will work). Share your document with a friend, family member or colleague and ask them to edit or revise it for you. Don’t worry if you don’t agree with their suggestions – you can always revert your document back to a previous version, and you never have to worry about saving it.

Activity 3:  Create a survey using  Google Docs. Send it to some friends and track the responses.