By Devin Nix
November 6, 2012
This summer, NYU Information Technology Services (ITS) added NYU Drive as an enhancement to NYU Docs. Now known as “NYU Docs/Drive,” you can still create and collaborate using this service in the same way you did before. In fact, organizing your documents is even easier and storage has increased to 5GB.
If you are unfamiliar with this service, NYU Docs/Drive is one of the “Core Apps” of NYU Google Apps for Education. Its primary purpose is to serve as a way to store and share documents with colleagues, students, or yourself (between multiple locations). It is secure enough to be used for private documents, such as tenure committee discussions, personal papers, class notes, and scholarly materials. (Note, however, that there are important restrictions on storing certain types of sensitive data, as described in NYU’s Data Classification Table.)
The collaborative features of NYU Docs/Drive make it a great tool for academic, business, and personal use. When you create a document, spreadsheet, or presentation in NYU Docs/Drive, it is saved in “the cloud.” This allows you to view and make changes to files simultaneously with up to 50 other individuals in multiple locations, with confidence that changes are continuously saved. Once you share a document, the collaborators can access and edit that document at any time, unless you take their access away.
Of course, with so many people working on a document, keeping track of revisions may seem daunting. However, each change is automatically logged in the document’s revision history. This way, you can see changes in real time and a record of who made changes and what was changed via the revision history. You can also easily revert to a previous version.
By default, when you create a document access is restricted to you alone. However, using NYU Docs/Drive’s advanced permissions system, you have many options for how to share your documents. As the Owner of a document, you are responsible for safeguarding any sensitive information it may contain. Make sure to only share documents as widely as necessary; for example, you can choose to keep a document private, give some people the ability to comment on a document but not make any changes, or grant full edit access to other people.
With the addition of NYU Drive, the biggest difference that those familiar with NYU Docs will recognize is how documents are organized. The new NYU Docs/Drive interface is now easier to use and more similar to NYU E-mail. You can create folders to organize your documents, add documents to more than one folder, or just file them away in “All Items” (similar to NYU E-mail’s “All Mail” folder). When getting started with NYU Docs/Drive, take some time to organize your documents as you would for documents that you store on your computer.
When using NYU Docs/Drive, there is an important distinction to note between files created within the web interface and those you have uploaded from your computer. NYU Docs/Drive has its own web-based document, spreadsheet, and presentation editor. Files created in this way do not count against your 5 GB storage quota. However, NYU Docs/Drive also allows you to upload files from your computer to store and share.
When you upload a file (e.g., a Microsoft Word document) you may be prompted to either convert the file into an NYU Docs/Drive document or upload the file as is. If you upload the file as is through the web interface or the desktop application, those files will count against your 5GB of storage. If you convert the file – for example, an Excel spreadsheet to an NYU Docs/Drive spreadsheet – it will not count toward your 5GB limit. If you upload the file as is, you can convert it to an NYU Docs/Drive document and then delete the original (with no change towards your storage limit).
You can access NYU Docs/Drive via the NYU Google channel in NYUHome (home.nyu.edu), or directly at docs.nyu.edu or drive.nyu.edu. More information about NYU Docs/Drive can be found at www.nyu.edu/its/docs and in the Ask ITS knowledgebase, including best practices, common issues, setup instructions, and training opportunities.
Devin Nix is an ITS Academic Technology Specialist and Service Lead for the NYU Google Apps support team.