Collaboration Tools

 

We currently offer the following tools to help researchers exchange information and ideas.  If you know of other collaborative tools in use at Cincinnati Children's or the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, or if you are interested in installing a new tool on our servers, please contact the BMI Help Desk.

Information/file sharing

SharePoint

A licensed technology from Microsoft®, SharePoint® is a platform for hosting and developing secure intranet or extranet sites that support communication, collaboration and document management.  It is closely integrated with the Microsoft Office suite, so if you are interested in collaboratively developing Word®, Excel®, PowerPoint® and other Office documents, SharePoint may be an ideal solution.  SharePoint also enables you to quickly create announcement lists, discussion boards, surveys, calendars and other site features, and to customize how these features are displayed in the user interface.

Drupal

Drupal is an open-source content management system for creating Internet sites. Whereas SharePoint is suitable for creating private collaboration sites, Drupal is suitable for developing informational sites open to the public.  With Drupal it is easy to create and organize HTML pages, and to enable multiple users to add and edit content. With some assistance from BMI, you also can customize the look and feel of your site.

Xythos

Xythos is a licensed tool for secure file sharing. Using a web interface, you can upload files of any type or size, organizing them into folders as needed. You can send anyone, anywhere a "ticket," or email invitation to view your folders and files, setting conditions such as permissions, password-protection and expiration dates if desired.  Those receiving tickets need only click a secure URL to access shared resources; they don't need Xythos accounts themselves.

MediaWiki

BMI hosts an existing instance of MediaWiki that is available to CCRF/UC College of Medicine faculty, staff and students.  This resource is intended as a "sandbox" for short-term collaboration over the public web.  For instance, if you are participating in a committee and would like a place to quickly post schedules and notes, you might use our MediaWiki instance -- provided you're comfortable with anyone in the world seeing your information.  If you are interested in creating a more permanent or secure web environment for collaboration, we encourage you to consider SharePoint, Drupal or Xythos, described above.  Currently, we have no plans to host additional MediaWiki instances for specific groups or purposes.

Scheduling

WebCalendar

WebCalendar is an open-source tool that enables you to keep track of your own appointments and events, and to view those of other users.

  • Available to: CCRF faculty and staff
  • Cost: None
  • New Account requests: BMI Help Desk
    • Note: Please specify whether you would like to join the group of Cincinnati Children's and UC researchers using a public version of the calendar, or if you would like your own instance of WebCalendar -- for example, for your department or research group.
  • Web address for public calendar: http://bmicalendar.cchmc.org

MRBS/Research Equipment Booking System

To meet the scheduling needs of labs and other groups with equipment available to other researchers, we have installed an open-source tool called MRBS. Via a web interface, investigators can view calendars for available resources and book open times. The Developmental Biology Imaging and Flow Cytometry Research cores, for instance, are using this tool to schedule time on multiple microscopes.

Mailing Lists

Mail lists are a way to easily manage email communication -- for example, among members of a committee or users of a common resource.  Lists can be set up in a number of different ways.  For example, list membership can be open to anyone or controlled by an administrator.  Similarly, the ability to send messages may be granted to all subscribers or a select few.

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