10 thoughts on “My library is going to Google Apps for our email – thoughts?”

  1. I’ve been using Google docs for a while, but it’s been a chore to get co-workers to participate and share. I’ve finally got some colleagues in Second Life using it. My university (Utah State) is going the same way as yours, but what I don’t like is that they are not licensing the entire suite of Google apps. It’s not a full-blown iGoogle account, but a selected subset. That aside, I do love the “web as platform.” Will it work with “Gears,” so folks could also work offline if they want?

  2. Using the web as platform assumes the web infrastructure will always be live. Of course, using the university (or job) network servers assumes the same thing, but there’s something about all of us putting all our stuff out ‘there’ and then ‘there’ being not there. Must be weighed between convenience of sharing and accessing from anywhere vs. is there anywhere out there?

  3. A number of universities have gone to Google Apps for email (and other services) with little to no complaints. I personally use Google Apps (email, docs, calendar, etc) and if my library were to make the switch, I would applaud it.

    The web as platform allows the library to escape its walls in just one more way: here it means it is not dependent on servers in the library or at a single remote location for these services to continue, meaning that email is no longer at the mercy of power outages at any one location. It is another step forward to the library providing persistent services regardless of where the user is or the physical condition of the library. It is a step towards the persistent presence of the library.

    And that is a good thing.

  4. The public high school that I work at is actually doing the same thing. They got tired of hosting and dealing with it so they decided to pass it off to Google.

  5. An interesting alternative approach is for universities to get out of the “supplying email accounts” game altogether, at least for students. Most students on our campus are issued with a uni email acct that they do not use, and then have to ensure that they fill in another form to tell the uni what there *real* email address is.

    I know some unis are looking at “official channels of communication” involving portals, where students have to check or subscribe to get their info…so uni email is no longer used for this.

    It would be interesting if unis provided both – a chit chat channel on gmail and then a “letterhead” kind of email account. Some communication needs to be officially from the university and guaranteed retrievable and private for statutory record keeping purposes. For everything else, there could be google???

  6. We use this at LibLime and it’s very very handy for an office like ours that is spread across the continent.

    With Google apps we can share our calendars, our documents, create sites (like an intranet and a the Koha Manual).

    If I have any complaints it’s that Google Docs are hard to format and there are still some features missing from Google Sites. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the way things work for us.

  7. We used Google Docs on a number of occasions across TAFEWA. We had a lot of trouble sharing the various documents. On the next occasion that we needed to collaborate we used Zoho and found this a much more user friendly environment.

  8. I adore Gmail. There is no comparison in other email products. I find the lack of formatting to be problematic in Google Docs, but I still use it for almost all my writing and spreadsheets. I have also created a couple collaborative presentations in GDocs and it worked great.

  9. How the product functions seems to be librarians’ only focus. What I find even more crucial is how Google deals with personal data flows and enhances or degrades the user experience with flimsy, vauge privacy polcies rather than meaningful user control.

  10. Personally, I use Google for email, feedreader, collaboration, just about everything. Ever since Gdocs came out with the presentations I haven’t given one that hasn’t been created there. But Michael Porter’s post a couple of weeks ago made me start thinking hard about Google (and Facebook).

    I haven’t had the time to research like I should. So I can’t speak with any authority on it. I do have some concerns about the decision making process and why we made the switch. I think that other than myself and a maybe few other power users no one will use all the tools it comes with.

    I am familiar with the functionality of it, I’m more concerned about the points Cee makes regarding privacy and information.

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