Collaboration Tools

Need to work with a team, committee, or your staff? Want to keep a public calendar or set up a simple website?

These sites can do this for you in a matter of minutes, all with functions you can add later. All had video tutorials, and I had a good understanding of their features in about 10 minutes per.

Backpack – At $24 per month, this is a hefty expense compared to free, but is more intuitive and easier to use. A singleton can use for just $7 per month, and prices go up from there. Compared to Basecamp–more of a project management host–Backpack is more about team and task tracking. As I’m exploring, I think I’ll move on to something free.
Ning – More of a social networking site for adults (my description), I’ve used Nings before and they have so many features and require log-ins (as new members join) to use the functions or join subgroups, I think they’re kind of cumbersome for a small group collaboration.
Google Sites – Free but looks clunky, which has been my experience with GoogleDocs–performs the function and requires some poking around to fiind what you’re looking for.
GroupSwim – I found this by an online search for collaboration sites, and it’s free for 1-3 users (much more expensive for larger groups). It groups things on pages or tabs by type–files, groups, discussions–but you can set up groups who then can post files and have discussions. Seems like this might work for ongoing discussions and collaborative work, but without more features, not sure how this would be much different than a wiki or document posting site
Big Tent – A friend who uses Basecamp turned me on to this site, which offers free membership management tools–it’s pretty robust and could be used to ‘organize’ groups like volunteers or committees who then collaborate.
Central Desktop – Ooh, this looks better–has a calendar, document whiteboard and discussion pages, and it’s free for 5 users (well, actually, 5 users for each of 2 projects). Plus, it has some interesting external features–links to Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, RSS feeds, and includesa lot of functionality regarding setting milestones and calendaring.

I’m going to try it out. Set up account, a project, uploaded a file and inserted tasks and events in 20 minutes. Now to try the collaboration.



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2 responses to “Collaboration Tools

  1. Hi Heidi –

    I’ve been looking for collaboration sites for my 10 person and 1 leader VISTA team (from PeaceJam). I was surprised to not see in your post, and a little disappointed to not find a search on this blog to see if you had mentioned it elsewhere.

    Have you had any experience with yet?


  2. heidical

    Zoho’s comprehensive suite of office/project management tools ( comes recommended by Christopher Harris in his suite of 2.0 tools for the librarian,

    I haven’t used Zoho, although a quick glance at their lists tells me that some of the more collaborative (meetings, project management) tools have limits on the number of users. The basic word processing, spreadsheet, chats and organizer functions don’t have these same limits, though.

    And to be totally honest–that’s what we do here–I will have to learn how to add a search function to this blog. But I hope you’ll come back later and see if I’ve been able to!

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