Mr Cloud to the service of my networks

Card's author : Gatien Bataille
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies : The Cloud or storing data on-line is gradually becoming more democratic. Every month new tools are invented. This is extremely useful to access data wherever in the world with an Internet connection. "Cloud" services also offer new perspectives for network facilitation.
In a network's life, it rapidly becomes essential to:
  • make all information available (files, images, audio files…)
  • allow its members to gather information (files, photos, audio files...)
  • encourage collective work (especially through document sharing)
"Cloud"" tools make this possible quite easily.

Some examples:
  • The CRIE network (Centres for initiation to the environment in Belgium) shares several working documents using the service Google Drive. With this shared space the agendas are co-drafted, meeting minutes are drafted by several people during the meetings and several "resource" documents are compiled. Using this service has made collaborative work considerably easier in the network and has strongly contributed to the co-writing of contents. Some basic training was needed but no major issues arose regarding how to use it. The only technical glitch that occurred was that some files "temporarily disappeared" (they were moved by a group member to his own personal Google Drive file). Questions on this service are basically methodological. All members with access to this shared file could modify the file's contents...delete files, make changes to the minutes. Making all contents available to everyone completely de-centralised "power" and considerably changed the way in which certain structures had traditionally operated.
  • The CRIE network manages its press review using This on-line storage system allows each user to feed a file that is shared using a simple e-mail account. This file can then be integrated into a website quite easily. Each CRIE regularly puts content into the press review by sending an e-mail with the press article in an attachment. This press review is made available to the public using the websites of the different structures.
  • The community of users of the Parc des dominicaines in Tournai (Belgium) came up with a shared space to easily collect and display the photos taken on their website. To do this they used the service yogile. This on-line storing service allows creating and managing a photo-album collectively. Everyone can add to this album using a button to upload images automatically into the album or send them to a specific e-mail address. Adding to the album is open to everyone on purpose (you don't have to be a "member"). This was done to minimise barriers to using this service. There is only a control process (by several members) to verify the photos before they are published to avoid any unwanted content. As for the use given to the photos uploaded by members there are certain unsolved questions. Currently, photos remain the property of the user but the choice of the CC BY SA licence needs further clarification.
Other similar examples use other on-line storing services such as Dropbox or Copy.

Photo credits : King Cloud by Akakumo on Flickr - CC-BY-SA
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