Q and A: Sharing Committee Documents

Question

What is the best solution for sharing the documents that the committee needs to access? We have Google Apps and our WordPress website, but we think Dropbox might be best.

Answer

This is not an easy answer, as there are good and bad things about each option.

Google Docs

  • Everyone has their login already as they have their Google Apps email login.
  • The documents are not visible to committee members when they log in. they have to click on Shared with Me to see the documents, which is very annoying because everyone does not see the same view of the documents.
  • When they click on Shared with Me, the documents are then visible in their folders. (or they can search for the specific file they want to look at).
  • If people want to, they can sync the files to their PC/Mac files, but it is difficult if you already have a google drive account synced to your computer.
  • You get 5GB storage per user.
  • Files can be shared with anyone in your committee and the public.
  • Public files can be linked to from the website.
  • Cool stuff can be done with forms / spreadsheets etc, including publishing them on the website.
  • You can view the files without downloading them.

Dropbox

  • Easy to use folder structure.
  • Requires a separate login and password – may be annoying for the committee members.
  • If people want to, they can sync it to their PC/Mac files, but it is difficult if you already have a dropbox account synced to their computer.
  • You get 2GB storage for all users in the free plan.
  • Files can be shared with anyone in your committee and the public.
  • Public files can be linked to from the website.

WordPress

Setting up a password protected area on the website for the committee to log in and see the documents.

  • I haven’t seen a fantastic plugin to manage documents. The one I use for AUF is adequate, but not great http://jumping-duck.com/wordpress/plugins/wp-publication-archive/. The documents are shown in a list, not a folder structure, and you have to download the files to view them.
  • Separate login to the website is required (may not be an issue if all the committee already log into the website to create content).
  • Not a good option overall.
So, overall I still favour Google Docs, even though the issues with finding the documents in Shared with Me are quite annoying. There are more benefits to using Google docs than dropbox or putting them on your WordPress Website.
Have you found any other good ways to manage and share documents for a committee? Let us know in the comments.

Comments

  1. says

    Ah, excellent Eric, thanks for that OpenID option, and thanks so much for the tree view, I will try it out. I’m definitely interested in the view option – can’t wait for that to be released. Thanks!

  2. says

    One option for letting people log in to your WordPress installation without needing a separate account/password is to use something like OpenID. There is a plugin from Janrain, for example, that allows you to register and log in using a Gmail (or Google Apps) account. That would alleviate one pain point.

    As for a folder structure for WP Publication Archive, no one’s ever asked for this before so it hasn’t even been on the development roadmap. But just for you, I added it today. The view versus download preference will be fixed in the next version, too.