9: Online tools

What are online tools?

webcloud

Web 2.0 is a platform for working, communicating and collaborating. The Web can now provide services to multiple customers across a network and via the cloud, therefore taking away the need to use a specific computer with particular software installed on it.

This section will outline some useful tools available online that can make your work easier and more productive.

Why use these?

Online tools are usually free, can offer functionality in various areas and can be accessed from any PC that is connected to the internet, meaning that they can easily be accessed by many people at any time.

Examples

Staying in touchCommunicating over the Internet is now all about chat, phone calls and video calling. Most of this software is available from any computer, making communication flexible and usually free.

Contacts and calendarsThese tools allow you to manage your schedule and arrange meetings with minimum fuss.

Office suitesForget Microsoft Office. These perfectly acceptable online office applications are easy to use, can be accessed on any computer and even permit you to write your document in collaboration with others.

To-do listsIf you need an online personal assistant then you could do a lot worse than use a to do list.

Online storageHave a document too big to email? Then consider these utilities. You can store files in the cloud and share them with others if you send them the link.

Editing photosMany powerful photo editing tools can be found online for free. They’re fantastic for removing red-eye, cropping, resizing and adjusting exposure.

Organising notes and creating scrapbooksIf you’re the kind of person that writes on post-its, or leaves scraps of paper in your pocket with reminders of interesting things to do or see, you might be interested to hear that you can now dump notes, photos, Web clippings and much more into an online account. If you are a creative, crafty person you can create virtual scrapbooks with your digital photos, personalising your albums with themes.

Organising your musicEnjoying music is often a social thing, and the cloud now provides a way in which you can share you favourite tracks and receive music recommendations based on artists you already listen to. It’s now also possible to keep your music collection in the cloud thereby releasing you from the anxiety of potential hard drive failure.

This table discusses just a fraction of the online tools available to you. There are too many to list here! Take a look at these sites for more online tools and ideas.

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What are libraries doing?

Library services working on projects with staff based in different locations make use of Doodle to arrange meetings, or Google Docs to edit documents. Slideshare and YouTube are commonly used to provide access to training and information to library staff. Calendars allow many people access to and update timetables. Libraries can reduce the need for travelling to meetings by using services such as Twiddla.

Activities – Remember the Milk (around 1 hour)

milk

1. Go to Remember the milk

2. Click on Sign up now!

  • You can sign in with your Google or Yahoo account.
  • Start by looking around the site, see what the different tabs do, have a look at Settings and Help and have a look at the Search Options.
  • Now try adding some tasks, both personal and work ones
  • Once added see what options there are, add a repeat, time, share with someone.
  • See how items display in the icalendar
  • Have a look at the Apps available with this service, are they useful? Easy to use?

3. On your blog reflect on the value of Remember the milk

  • Would it be of any use in your work or home life?
  • Were there any drawbacks or problems you experienced?

4. Find out how your library service is using online tools like the ones mentioned above.

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