– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Thing 21

Thing 21 (yes, I’m skipping around) of 23Things for Research is online scheduling tools. Having participated in a number of its polls before, I’ve only recently encountered the admin aspect of non-registering quick-and-clean side of Doodle; this is certainly a very effective way of getting group consensus on a mutual meeting time. Everyone can see everybody else’s responses, and anybody who doesn’t fill in their availability doesn’t get a vote! I particularly like the ‘available if really necessary’ option (which I couldn’t find on my non-registered poll, maybe it’s a registration-only feature).

I haven’t tried linking Doodle in with Microsoft Outlook, as the universal rollout of Outlook itself across our workplace is fairly new, so making appointments with it and using shared calendars are still rather novel. But I like that it’s possible, and it may be helpful to know fairly soon. I’d test it for the college archivists’ next pub meet, but those are usually arranged with a single round-robin email, e.g.: ‘Time for a pint! Who’s free after work on Wednesday?’ and most people reply in the affirmative within the hour!

I haven’t tried either of the other suggested scheduling tools either, though I have had a look at them; Scheduly is pay-only and seems geared to business websites, and Meet-o-Matic, while it does have a simple free version,  is rather less editable than Doodle, which means that it can be awkward or impossible to adjust times, dates, descriptions or responses after the poll has been set up. So I’ll be sticking with Doodle for now!

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