Thing 1: Office 365
University staff and students have access to Office 365 through the University’s subscription. This allows you to install Microsoft Office on 5PCs or Macs, 5 tablets and 5 phones. In addition, you have access to 1 TB of storage on OneDrive.
As well as the Office tools such as Word and Excel that you will be familiar with, Office 365 has a number of tools that facilitate collaboration, and which may be useful for your research.
In this post, we will cover the following to get you started: downloading Office 365, sharing files, OneDrive and Teams. We will also explore considerations and risks, and point you in the direction of further resources.
Go to the Office 365 portal https://portal.office.com and sign in with your central University account. You’ll be able to download Office 365 or use the tools in your browser. Office 365 allows you to sync your files between multiple devices, and you may wish to download apps for your tablet or smartphone as well.
You will have access to your University Office 365 account as long as you are enrolled or employed by the University. Your access to the subscription will cease once you leave, but you will be able to transfer your files to your own OneDrive account or another location.
Which elements of Office 365 could be useful for my research?
The sharing options in Word and Excel make them a good alternative to Google Docs and Google Sheets. You can set the sharing restrictions on your files to limit access in a number of ways. Look for the “share” options in various Office 365 apps, and you can either invite people via their email addresses, or set up a link that you can email. The sharing options are:
- View link- sign-in required
- Edit link- sign in required
- View link- no sign-in
- Edit link- no sign-in
- Restricted to specific people.
You can also set up shared folders in OneDrive, and control access to these. Sound a lot like Google Docs? It is, but with an important difference: files are stored on servers in Sydney and Melbourne, and the data is owned by the University. This can be very important if the terms of your ethics or grant require data to be stored in Australia. You can find out more about security here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/security/office365-security.
Sharing individual files can be useful, but if you are working on a collaborative project, you may like to set up a Team. A Team site offers a place to store your collaborative files, as well as options for instant messaging, comments, and audio/video conferencing. You’ll also have access to shared notebooks. Each Team site has 1TB of data allowance, and the files are stored in a SharePoint site that is automatically created when you set up your Team. A Team is simple to set up, and you can do this yourself.
You can log in to your Team site via common web browsers, and also via mobile apps, giving you access to your team’s files wherever you have an internet connection.
It is important to be aware that the terms and conditions for cloud tools and storage can change at short notice, and that you’ll need to check that changes comply with any data management requirements that apply to your research. You’ll also need to be aware of any ethics or grant requirements that restrict who can access your data, and make sure that your sharing settings comply.
Sharing files through Teams or OneDrive can be a good strategy for managing collaborative projects but you’ll still need to consider the longer-term preservation of data and records. It is important to back up your files elsewhere in addition to OneDrive. It may be helpful to think of OneDrive or Teams as a place for working documents, with final versions transferred to more permanent storage elsewhere.
- Log in to Office 365 with your University credentials.
- Click the menu in the top left, and select Teams.
- Set up a Team by clicking Add Team.
- Choose your privacy setting.
- Add your team members.
- Set up a notebook, upload some files, use the chat to start a conversation, and get collaborating.
- Instructions for downloading Office 365: http://ask.unimelb.edu.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/6077/~/microsoft-office-365
- General information on OneDrive for Business: https://products.office.com/en-AU/onedrive-for-business/online-cloud-storage
- Teams: https://teams.microsoft.com/
This post was written by Ashley Sutherland (Arts Faculty Librarian). Thank you to Tommy Carron and Drew Poynton from Infrastructure Services for technical advice.