Thing 19 : File Sharing

We are pleased to have Mr Somasundram Vellayan (SG) from Nanyang Technological University Libraries to share their insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, Activity and Thinking Points) to get to the end of the lesson.

I’m sure some of us would remember the days where we used to save our files on those thin floppy disks to share our files with our classmates. During my school days, I would be carrying around a rather bulky zip disk since that was the only large storage medium back then. Come to think of it, those things now seem vintage!

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I still use thumb drives sometimes but I sometimes tend to lose it (because it’s so small!). Nowadays, I am thankful for being able to save my files online without having to carry or worry about such storage devices. And I’m even more thankful that I could save and access those files via mobile!


  • Dropbox is a popular cloud storage tool for storing and accessing files. It can be accessed via its website or through apps for various mobile devices. It can also be installed on your computer so that you can “drop” files into its folder. When you “drop” a file into its folder, the file is automatically synced and is accessible in all your devices that is logged in to your Dropbox account. You can access your files from more than one place!

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  • Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service provided by Google. To create and edit files in Google Drive, you will need the Google Docs app (available on iTunes & Android).Give it a try by editing this Google Doc, by sharing the links of 3 blogs or websites about archives, museums or libraries that you follow.
  • Evernote, previously discussed in Thing 17, can also be used for sharing files across devices and with other people.


Dropbox can also be used for:

  • automatically uploading photos in your mobile phone to with its Dropbox’s Camera Upload function is another feature that I frequently use. Make sure it only uploads when there’s Wi-Fi!
  • share files with others either by placing the file in the “Public” folder and share the public link, or by inviting others to the shared folder.

Besides storing and sharing files on Google Drive, you can allow multiple users to view and edit files concurrently via PC or mobile, making it a great tool for collaborative work. These mobiles apps can be accessed here.

Sometimes I will need to send graphic files of library posters to printers, which are too large to be sent over email. I use large file sharing sites such as HighTail or WeTransfer where we upload the large files and a link is sent to the printer who will then download the file at their end.


Let’s all try out Dropbox!

    1. Install the free Dropbox app and download the desktop application in your PC
    2. Sign up for a free Dropbox account
    3. Log in to your Dropbox account on both your mobile and desktop applications
    4. In the mobile app, ensure that the “Camera Upload” is enabled.
      [Optional] You might want to disable “Use Cellular Data” if you do not wish to upload photos using your data plan.
    5. Using your mobile camera, take a picture (of yourself, your favourite toy, anything! :D)
    6. Once you have taken the photo, ensure that photo has been uploaded into the “Camera Upload” folder
    7. Now on your desktop, transfer that photo from the “Camera Uploads” folder to the “Public” folder. Right click on the photo in the “Public” folder and click “Copy public link”
    8. Tweet that link with #23mthingsPhSg!


Thinking Points 

  1. Would you use Google Drive/Google Docs to work on a file or even to write an article?
  2. How would you use Dropbox’s Public folder feature to share files with your users or colleagues?
  3. How would you use Google Docs to collaborate with colleagues in other libraries to plan an event or program?
  4. Do you feel that it is sufficient to save files on such file sharing apps or would you still prefer to save them on offline devices such as thumb drives or portable hard disk drives?

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 19
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 19

Somasundram Vellayan Also known as the tall.dark.librarian, Soma joined Nanyang Technological University’s Library in 2007 as a library officer in its Art, Design & Media Library. Upon receiving his degrees, he took on a new role as a Librarian of the Library Promotion Division and as Art Librarian for media-related subjects covering animation, digital film, interactive media and photography. He enjoys working with end users in various projects. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the Library Association of Singapore’s Outstanding Newcomer Award by the President of Republic of Singapore in 2013. He is also actively involved in community projects for the local Indian community in Singapore. Follow him on Twitter @sundram_v

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