In the last few months, I have done a number of posts on cloud computing. So, I am definitely going to tune into the ABC's Background Briefing this Sunday morning to hear what they have to say on the topic. Actually, I'll probably have one ear listening to the radio while I'm watching The Insiders. After all who needs soap operas and thrillers when there is NSW state politics. Talk about a train crash in slow motion, but I digress, back to cloud computing.
Libraries are relying more and more on cloud computing, so this really is something we need to understand if we want to make it work for us. To quote Princeton University's excellent UC Channel or University Channel: "'Computing in the cloud' is one name for services that run in a Web browser and store information in a provider’s data centre — ranging from adaptations of familiar tools such as email and personal finance to new offerings such as virtual worlds and social networks." There is also a very good article on the Cloud Computing Journal titled: Twenty-One Experts Define Cloud Computing, and of course, there is the Wikipedia article.
If your library uses any of the thousands of Web2.0 services you are using cloud computing. So prior to the ABC programme here's my 2 cents worth, and yes some of it I have said before, but I think it is worth repeating:
• If like Del.ico.us, the cloud service allows you to make a local back up - do it on a regular basis. Service have been known to go under, disappear, or have service disruptions. Why even Google has been known to go down. What will you do when the software in the cloud goes sour?
• Checkout and tag sites such as cloudtrip. These sites provide lists, ranking, and reviews of cloud computing services.
• Make sure you have covered issues such as copyright and data security. When you sign up for a Web 2.0 / cloud computing service, do you actually read the licence agreement?
• See what's out there, experiment, use it, but if you don't like it (or if you see something better) move on.
• Checkout, tag, and set up an RSS feed for the online Cloud Computing Journal and / or the Cloud Computing Expo site.
• Take the time to checkout the Princeton University UC Channel Computing in the cloud web site.