Collaboration and writing

So, Karen put up some of her thoughts on our collaborative adventure in writing a book over at LibraryWebChic, so I thought I’d follow up with my take on the ongoing quest to write.

We are a long way apart. Thankfully, we have leveraged online tools like nobody’s business. Here’s a short list of the whats and hows:

  • Google Docs: for initial writing, for sharing, for co-editing each others work. I’m quickly forgetting how I ever got things done without Google Docs.
  • Flickr: for the sharing of screenshots for insertion into our final documents. We’ve created a private group with only us as members, and that way either of us can just upload/download the pics we need. Flickr used to raise a stink about screenshots, but they actually have the option to label something a screenshot in the advance settings of their website upload tool now.
  • IM: for lots of communication, and logs that allow me to go back and check what I agreed to do. πŸ™‚
  • I’m using it for bookmarks to things I’m referencing, so that I can go back and build a more formal bibliography later. I’ve also thrown links at Karen that I think might be useful to her sections.

One of the more interesting things that I’ve found out has to do with personal communication style. I don’t like the phone, and prefer text-based communication (mainly because I can review it when I need to refresh my memory). Karen likes to talk on the phone, and hash things out that way. This far, we’ve done a combination of the two, and it’s worked well…I keep bugging her to upgrade her PowerBook to a MacBook so that we can iChat when we have questions, but so far, no go. πŸ™‚

As Karen mentioned, the biggest problem we’ve had so far is the transporting of some of the “finished” chapters, with really large images inline and such. What I think we need is basically on online drop-box that we can both use, preferably with a fast pipe and a pretty ajaxy drag and drop interface.

Digital Culture

Yahoo! Pipes

Yahoo Pipes

If you haven’t looked at Pipes yet, it’s a visual programming site that allows for logical linking of sources and then provides output of your logic. Take a feed, and find Flickr photos based on the most used terms in the feed. Search Yahoo for a phrase, combine it with geographic location, and find the nearest hits on a map. It’s basically a programming language for RSS and web searching…powerful, powerful stuff.

Anyone out in library land using Pipes for anything fun? It’s quite an interesting little tool…I’m playing with it, and have a few concepts that I’m going to try and work out. The only library-related Pipe I found looked like something Meredith was putting together (and was something I was thinking of) that just mashed up the feeds of all the library bloggers I read. But that’s a relatively low-level use of the service…anyone out there pushing the possibilities of this thing? I’m certainly going to try…but will have to play to learn first.