Libraries, like any other organization, should be, well, organized. When it comes to scheduling, calendar coordination, and productivity, Microsoft Outlook is a handy all-in-one solution if everyone involved is on the same network. For the sake of consistency, many libraries and librarians try to use a software suite like Microsoft Office because all of its applications are designed to work together. However, if productivity software takes too big of a bite out of your budget, there are dandy free options available like Google, which brings us Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Gmail. Doodle is a fun and free little tool that can help coordinate schedules.
Besides being organized as an organization, librarians need to be organized in their academic pursuits. This is important for their personal productivity, of course, but it is also important in our role as teachers to our patrons so we may pass on the knowledge to them. Here is a SlideShare presentation detailing four cloud based productivity tools: Dropbox for file sharing, Evernote for brainstorming, and Zotero and Diigo for information management. My personal pick Diigo because it’s the coolest and most powerful. However, as librarian looking to teach patron, I’d have to go with Zotero because it’s free and still cool. If a patron is only working with databases and research papers, I’d choose RefWorks for its full service functionality when research and composing research papers. Here are some thoughts on the ones that interest me and I am learning more about to help my patrons with academic inclinations.
- Diigo is a cloud-based information management tool that lets you do everything you’ve always wanted to do with the internet. Check out this introductory video. Diigo allows you to add interactive sticky notes and highlight web pages. Everything is saved in the cloud and is accessible from any web browser on any device. When you highlight a page, the highlights stay on that page for you anytime you visit that website, no matter how you’re accessing it. It turns the entire internet into your personal textbook. You can add tags to the items you save for easy access later. You can capture and annotate clippings of screen shots. Also, not only can you save a snapshot of a webpage for offline access, but you can also mark them “read later” and access them from your mobile device with the Diigo Power Note for Android or Diigo offline reader for the iPhone. With this marvelous appe, you can download the pages when you have wifi and read them when you don’t. Now the bad news; Diigo costs money. Unlimited use of everything it offers is $5 a month or $40 a year. Worth it if you use it a lot or can be reimbursed for the expense.
- Zotero seems pretty cool, like a cross between Refworks and Diigo, but it does not have anywhere near the versatility and power of either one. It is, however, absolutely free.
- EndNote and Refworks are database and citation power tools that save and file your research citation information and help you write works cited pages, in-text citations or footnotes with a couple of clicks. EndNote has the advantage of offering offline archiving of your data if you’re willing to spend about $10 on the software. Both are subscription-based services, so you must be affiliated with a library or academic institution with a subscription. As mentioned earlier, Zotero offers close to the same functionality for no cost.