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“Open Internet” tools series – Chapter One: Google Docs

The following is the first in a semi-irregular series of posts on Internet tools and utilities.  We’ll start with a well-known, yet oft-misunderstood tool:  Google Docs.

I hope one or more of the featured tools might be of use to you.  These are written from my particular professional vantage point, i.e., that of a librarian, teacher, and manager.  Note that I do NOT necessarily view myself as a technophile; rather than spending hours pounding on the computer, I’d really rather be reading a book or baffing golfing balls.  Thus it’s hoped that these tools will make your “screen time” hours more efficient and productive, rather than more numerous.

The posts in this series give info and background on a few common “open” Internet tools.  All these tools have the following in common:

  • They are available “free” on the Internet (although an initial sign-up, also free, is usually required)
  • They have some utility in the world of the Internet, education, and libraries
  • I, personally, use each of these tools regularly

  1. Google Docs
  • Example of how I use it:
  • My first use:  late 2007
  • Purposes for which I use it: Post syllabus, shared editing of documents, easy net-based display of documents (especially good for presentations, a.ka., “powerpoint”)  Good for students sharing their work with me or with each other.  If you have a Netbook, or other laptop, you could easily replace MS Office with this far-reaching set of tools.  Way easier to use than a Wiki!
  • Biggest drawback:  Well, you are storing your work on Gooooogle… if you have qualms about this, that’s fine, but I’m amazed by people who rail about the evil Google owning the world, while they carry laptops with $500 copies of MS Office… and they’ve never sent Google a dime.

Have other thoughts?  Other tools?  Post your comment below.

Tool for next time:  Netvibes!


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