Yahoo! Groups can also be used by individuals as:
- A poor person's mail filter. Some of my colleagues use
username[i]as receiving addresses, so that you can send mail to (for example)
firstname.lastname@example.org. With the advent of GMail and its free 1Gb searchable mail storage per account, this has become less of a useful feature, especially as Yahoo! Groups no longer archives attachments, but you can still share PDFs. You can also archive small ones in the Files section, which is useful for larger groups.
- Archival. You can still stash useful documents for yourself in your group, such as screenshots (use the Photos section), URLs (add to the Links section), or quick notes ("Edit Text File" in the Files section). I teach using the Tegrity distance learning system, recording all of my lectures in a streaming web-accessible (Java and Microsoft Windows codec) format. All of these are based upon PDF files that I upload to my course group, and sometimes I even use the Yahoo! Group to store handwritten examples and notes that I jotted down during lecture using the Wacom Cintiq tablet screen with which we outfitted the Tegrity cart.
In my research Yahoo! Groups, I also make use of the following features:
- Polls. Papers to be covered by a journal group or reading group, acronyms for projects, topics to include in a proposal or an oral or poster presentation at a conference, etc.
- Calendars. Meeting agendas, who should attend (or who is invited), guest speakers, topics to be discussed, etc.
- File sharing. You can keep proposal working files in this group and do primitive versioning if source code control systems such as Concurrent Versions System (CVS) and Microsoft Visual Sourcesafe are not your cup of tea. We have even used Yahoo! Groups as a staging area and service group (user queries and help) for Sourceforge projects in the past. Be sure to use encrypted archive (e.g., password-protected
.zip) files for any mildly-sensitive documents, and of course, do not share classified or highly-sensitive documents using public groupware.
I will be talking more about these features in Manic Monday.