Monday, June 13, 2011

New love: LiveBinders

If you're a regular reader, then you know I have a sincere love of all things organizational. Each semester I begin by cleaning out file folders and re-using the last semester's binders. I eagerly print new color-coded covers for each class, adding in my tabs for class agendas, sign-in sheets, handouts, and notes. I file my "in process" research and build organizational grids in Microsoft and GoogleDocs to plan incremental tasks toward larger goals. I then embark on my favorite trip to the office supply store. When I'm placed on a new committee, I have a color coded system of filing that screams I should have stock in Sharpie markers. I simply love the flow and placement of the office environment. I carry my color coded files with pride. I know what I have at each meeting. But, all of this organization can be cumbersome and it is usually time consuming..

So, I am becoming increasingly infatuated with LiveBinders, so much so that I simply had to take a moment from a hectic schedule to blog about it. For those unfamiliar with LiveBinders, take a few moments and click on the website. LiveBinders is a site which allows the user to create electronic BINDERS full of information, links, images, and information. The greatest part is not the storage and organization (insert your shock at me saying something trumps organization!). The greatest innovation is that you can share this binder with others! I am developing one to go along with this blog and it is incredibly interesting to see the potential of LiveBinders for those of us who travel or who have to work on a variety of computers. When the blog binder has a bit more progress (it only has tabs right now), I'll share!

Warning: I am admitting to full-on NEWBIE status when it comes to this great tool, but I've got my NERD ON and will be continuing to explore this site. I just crafted a few binders and see excellent potentials for sharing resources for training, continuing education seminars, and my workshops. Additionally, it could carry over into the classroom very easily where students can formulate class activities or access additional information from the professor. There are so many possibilities that I had to blog about it before I fully immersed myself in it (an unusual choice).  Check out a sample LiveBinder (this one is open access--you can give limited or full access to your binders or keep them private): By clicking on the URL, you are taken to a binder titled "iPads in schools" where you can easily see the full range of the LiveBinders options.

Here's a very basic overview. You have a lot of information (say all of your information from a committee on university housing). You go to and set up a FREE account. With this account, you can then create a "new binder" where you can upload, deposit, add, and delete information just like you would with an old manila folder. You can craft tabs and sub-tabs of information and very easily share information with others. Want to see the minutes from the last meeting, use an "access key" and view the binder. Want to share a link with a fellow committee member, add it to the binder. Everyone can access those binders from their personal computers, iPads, netbooks and you are saving paper!

I have to say, the educator in me sees the beauty of LiveBinders: I can easily learn and teach with others. I can SEE students interacting with information. I can see implications for faculty life. The communicator in me sees the beauty of LiveBinders: I can send and receive information in a variety of formats. The tech-geek in me sees the beauty of direct mobile access to mountains of previously paper files along with a living, dynamic format. The bottom line: LiveBinders is beautiful. Why? This site offers an empowering ability to share knowledge ... and knowledge-sharing is just beautiful.

The best part are the tutorials and extra information all over the site. Additionally, I was able to easily follow @livebinders on Twitter and can see the responsiveness of the twitter feeds. So, dear readers, here is the question. Are you ready to think about your files in a new way? Can you see a future full of file-sharing?

The only downside: I won't get to go to my beloved office supply store for my favorite binders, folders, and markers to color-code all of my files. You better sell your stock! Without me, those stores might just crash :)

Two livebinder images from:; File folders picture direct from Lora Helvie-Mason's desk!

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  1. I tried to post a comment but not sure it went through. I too love livebinders and have used them for personal research and in class. They embed beautifully onto a wiki page, and in my case, students are able to access resources for lectures and trips. My colleagues and I used a livebinder as a resource for faculty during orientation. When help was needed, someone responded right away (too many people were logged on using same password). Very helpful tool.

  2. Thanks Heidi! The post went through, there is a delay for me to moderate the posts before you see them on the page. I'm so glad to hear about the wiki compatibility since I use wikis in my classes and for collaborative projects. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. The post is absolutely great! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need! Also like to admire the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your site!