Easily Employed Shared Cloud Drive Solution?
October 3, 2014 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Due to a new Vermont law, if a town has an official website, town committees must make their agendas available on the site within a certain amount of time, AND they must publish their minutes within 5 days of their meetings. I am the town webmaster and I am trying to think of an easy way to make this happen when nearly everyone involved is not very tech savvy.

The website already has an embedded Google calendar, and my idea was to invite chairs from the committees to be able to post to the calendar. Then they could create a meeting, and put the agenda in the description of the meeting, thus satisfying the agenda part of the law.

As for the other part, the minutes, I keep running into challenges. Ideally I would like a way that the committee members could either drag-n-drop or upload a PDF file and have it uploaded to either Wordpress OR a webserver. I want to display the directory where the files are located, and in a perfect world each committee chair would save to their own subdirectory.*

I have found a Google Drive Wordpress plugin that appears to let me display the directory structure within the Wordpress framework, but it doesn't seem to display the subdirectories.

The Google Drive I am using is a clean, new, unused Google account, so another idea is to share the account, and teach people how to upload files right in Google Drive. Then the only issue is how to display the Google Drive's contents to the public.

I am not against using paid service if they will work and aren't too expensive. My goal is to make whatever is developed as easy to use as possible for the committee chairs who will have to use it, both now and when others take their place.

I feel like I am spinning my wheels now, and so I am asking for help.

*Something like this: http://www.royaltonradio.org/podcasts/

P.S. Many of Vermont's towns are shuttering their websites rather than comply. My town is looking for solutions. It would be super awesome if whatever I/we come up with could help those other towns.
posted by terrapin to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Sort of an odd solution, but have them email to a particular address, and have a script that recieves the email, removes the attachment, and places it on the server. You would need to add some sort of codeword or whitelist of people you trust attachments from.

Also it is one way, nobody can edit or delete files (but make sure to rename with a timestamp so they don't collide.
posted by nickggully at 5:46 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Use this to receive the file in, and just share out the GDrive folder link to the public?
posted by deezil at 5:52 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Each committee has a publicly accessible Dropbox/Google drive/etc folder, and there is a link to that dropbox folder from your website. The committee secretary can then just save the minutes document to the dropbox folder on their computer when they are done with it.
posted by rockindata at 6:08 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Derby Line is publishing its minutes and agendas on its Facebook page.
posted by Gridlock Joe at 6:41 AM on October 3, 2014

Along the lines of what nickggully suggested, but someone has already done it for you.

Create a webpage with an email... MailPin.
posted by superelastic at 6:52 AM on October 3, 2014

Could you make use of If This, Then That (IFTTT) to get the documents from one easily-accessible place into WordPress? For example, here's an IFTTT recipe that would take emails sent to a particular address and create a WordPress post with certain categories / tags. You could probably modify that recipe slightly such that it assigns categories / tags based on who sent it, not the address that's receiving it.

There are similar recipes to connect other services with WP, including uploading to DropBox and having it automatically published.
posted by zebra at 6:57 AM on October 3, 2014

Email upload is what I'd suggest.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:12 AM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: I had to do a similar thing for very non-technical users and I chose to simply embed Google Groups in a single page. That way, each one of my users can just email the agenda to their dedicated google group email, and the whole thing gets posted (both email text and/or attachment).

Your total set up time should be around an hour, depending on how many commitee members you have. So you would create a google group for each committee chair and then embed them all in one page.

- even non-technical users know how to use email
- any email attachment will work
- google hosts all the docs
- free

- limited styling options unless you get schmancy with javascript
- takes a couple seconds to load
- limited to iframes

For my project the pro's far outweighed the cons (especially #1!), YMMV.
posted by rada at 9:01 AM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: First, I want to thank everyone for their suggestions, and in deezil's case the hands-on help. All of your ideas helped me develop a process that has proven to work very well in testing, and we should be implementing it soon. I used a combination of IFTTT & gmail and shared on my own website in the hopes that it helps others.
posted by terrapin at 1:34 PM on November 2, 2014

« Older Productivity tips when you can work only in dribs...   |   Runnin down a Tom Petty style Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.