Using Web Office Tools in the Library

This week’s assignment involved exploring different web-based office tools including Google Docs, Zoho (egads! yet another product with an infantile name), MS Office Live, and Webex Office. In theory, I like these tools. In theory, they allow you to easily store and share papers, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. with colleagues. In theory, something sitting on a server somewhere out in cyberspace is handy as opposed to carrying a file around on a memory stick or worse, an inaccessible drive. In theory, these are all great ideas.

In reality, I found these tools frustrating to use. In reality, I had to log in to multiple accounts, multiple times, before eventually getting to the file I sought. In reality, I encountered links that didn’t work. In reality, I had to spend an hour getting my laptop up to speed (admittedly, this is not the fault of these tools, but…) in order to even use Google Docs. And in reality, I currently have access to and utilize products that accomplish the same purpose of web office tools much more efficiently. I can save files to a thumb drive. I can email things to myself and/or colleagues. I can access webmail universally. I can use (though I absolutely CANNOT stand to do so) track changes in MS Word.

Bottom line… the idea of web office tools is a good one and surely a library, or any type of work setting, could take advantage of them, but I think I’ll wait awhile and see if some of the glitches I experienced in trying them out subside before really jumping on board with them. I’m convinced that if they become popular, the fixes will occur. (Reminds me of a movie line, “If you build it, he will come.”)

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