I do not consider myself an early adopter of new technologies.  Part of this is due to my frugal nature, and part of this is because I don’t want to waste my time learning a new system if it’s some fly-by-night outfit that won’t be around very long.  I generally like to make a careful evaluation of the costs and benefits of products before I embrace them.  With that in mind, I want to give an overview of two Internet tools that have no financial costs but do have significant productivity benefits.

Teamwork is the buzzword across the business and education realms, but I have always found that scheduling is one of the more cumbersome elements of teamwork.  Now Doodle can come to the rescue.  You can quickly generate a poll of possible meeting times and send participants an email with a link to the poll where they can all indicate their availability.  Then with a quick glance, you can determine which time suits the schedules of most people.

Trello is an online project management system.  Rather than having a string of email messages that try to determine who will be responsible for what part of a project and that bounce attachments back and forth, you can use Trello to assign tasks, set up checklists, share files, and get input on priorities.  It even keeps track of comments, changes, and additions, thereby preserving the institutional memory of how decisions are reached.

(NOTES: I was introduced to Doodle while working at the Duke Obesity Prevention Program, and I learned about Trello from the processing archivists in the Manuscripts Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  One of their applications for Trello is to have the Research and Instructional Services staff create a card when it comes to their attention that a finding aid needs to be revised; the processing archivists can check it off the list once the corrections have been made.)

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