3 online sharing solutions for your documents

You've got a bunch of document files laying about your hard drive, and you feel the need to share them. Now what? We've got three solutions for sharing your work with others.

If you're anything like me, you've got a ton of documents that have piled up over the years. People my age (recent college grads) are some of the worst, with nearly a decade of research papers, projects, and various snippets saved along the way--many of which took hours of hard work and are now relegated to a hard archive somewhere in your documents folder or on burnt optical media. Luckily for your files, there are a few places to share them with others who might be interested in reading.

Scribd is one of the most popular solutions, and my personal favorite of the bunch. It calls itself the "YouTube for documents," which is a fairly apt description. Scribd users can share popular document formats like Word, PDF, plain text, PowerPoint, and Excel. Each uploaded document can be made private or public, and is completely searchable. Users can also embed a document on Scribd on any Web site or blog. Users who like what they see can save the file as a PDF, Word file, text, or MP3 (spoken by an electronic voice).

What's really neat about Scribd is the built-in statistics tracking. This lets you keep track of when and where people have looked at your work, with some neat charts and a viewing log.

YouScript has been around for a couple of months now. YouScript gives your documents (mainly movie or TV scripts) a social networking spin, with the option to create writing groups to share your files with others online. Each group can schedule meetings, hand out assignments or homework, and discuss work in the integrated forums and comments. Unlike Scribd, however there's no built-in reader, and documents are managed in a PDF viewer.

OpenFloodgate is a document sharing service created by a Tina Seelig, executive director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. We heard about OpenFloodgate this morning and were pitched with the idea that it could be used to share documents for small companies using its document privacy features. Any uploaded document is displayed in an HTML viewer that converts each page into its own image. What's neat is OpenFloodgate's text size selector. This lets you pick from three sizes, including extralarge, which is about the size of a children's book. Also cool are user comments, which shows up as an overlay box on top of the document, not as a separate section.

I'd expect to see more of these sites popping up in the future, although with Google Docs, Thinkfree, and Zoho at work on online replacements for our office apps, we're likely to see file migration moving further and further away from the hard drive.

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