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Using a sudden Snow Day to mop up some Things.  I was rather surprised to see I hadn’t actually written about Dropbox before, because I’ve been using it for almost a year and think it is brilliant!  It has made my working and writing lives so much easier.

kitebox from eugeniot's flickr stream, under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

kitebox from eugeniot’s flickr stream, under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

Why? Well, I work and write at the University, at home and on the move.  Dropbox allows you to store documents online and get to them from multiple computers.  Wherever you go, whichever device you’re using, there are your files!  Before Dropbox, I spent so much time emailing things to myself or carting USB sticks around, particularly when I was writing the Handbook.  Not any more!


Me emailing myself drafts of the Handbook in April 2011. No need for this now!

You can also share folders.  I’m currently handing over the role of Treasurer for CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group, which involves giving access to over 100 files (invoices, accounts and the like).  At one time, we’d have had to use email or a USB stick or some other cumbersome workround.  Now, I popped the files in a folder and shared them with new Treasurer Hannah.  10 minutes, job done!

I don’t however rely on Dropbox to keep my important files safe.  It’s a free online thing, which could disappear or break.  I still do a certain amount of emailing to self and backing up, just in case, but on a much smaller scale.

I must also mention Google Drive, which works well and is easy to use.  It’s pretty similar to Dropbox, though I’d choose it for situations where many people need to edit a document rather than Dropbox, which I’ve found is better suited to managing individual work.  There’s not much in it though.  I’ll be sticking with Dropbox for now as I’m trying not to put all my eggs in Google’s basket, but will keep Drive in mind as a useful alternative.