Sharing your recorded research interviews with your transcriber can be a mind boggling task. And more often than not the challenge is the size of the audio/video files. Those “file is too big, cannot send” email messages are really annoying, especially after recording high quality audio interviews.

So how do you easily and securely share your interview audio recordings with your transcriber? Cloud storage.

Cloud storage is a data storage model that stores the digital data in logical pools in multiple online servers and locations. A hosting company owns and manages the physical environment – usually a large data center. Sounds complicated? Not really.

Basically, the cloud storage provider creates a html link to the file(s). Simply email this link to your transcriber and they will be able to download the audio file and transcribe it. All you need to access the data is internet connection.

Most cloud storage providers offer varying free and paid plans. A few companies offering more than 20 GB of free storage. And you’ll need to create an online account for all the providers with a distinct exception of wetransfer.com. As an academic transcriber, let me share 3 cloud storage services that I recommend.

Dropbox.com

Their mantra “Good things happen when your stuff lives here. Dropbox keeps your files safe, synced and easy to share” This is my absolute favorite cloud sharing solution. Its user interface is simple, elegant, intuitive and user friendly. All you need is a valid email address to create an account.

Once you’ve created an account, install the Dropbox app. This allows you to directly share folders or files either by sending invites to other Dropbox users or via email. It also enables you to download and upload files without having to log into your account through the browser.

Once installed, it creates a Dropbox folder on your desktop that works like any other folder on your computer, including drag and drop functions. Just drag and drop the interview audio files into the shared Dropbox folder and your transcriber will have instant access to the files.

Furthermore, this app has a resume property that allows you to continue your upload or download. A very useful feature when you are uploading large files.

To share a file using Dropbox, hover the cursor over the file or folder, a share button pops up. Clicking on the button activates a window popup with a link to the file already highlighted and selected for you. Ctrl +C to copy the link to your clipboard. You also have the option to right click and select copy. You could either email the link to your transcriber or directly enter their email address into the popup window and the link will be emailed to them.

When sharing a folder you follow the same steps, but you have 2 options. You can either invite your transcriber into the folder. If you do, they have access to all the files that you upload into the folder. This makes file sharing very easy and you can use the folder as a transcription hub for your research project. The second option is to send your research transcriber a link to the folder.

Here’s a short video on how to share your research files using dropbox.com

Dropbox.com has three plans, two are designed for individuals and one that’s exclusively for teams. Dropbox Basic has free subscription with 2GB storage space (basically a free Dropbox account). Dropbox Pro has a $9.99 fee per month with 1TB (1000 GB) storage space.

Dropbox Business is for teams with a $15 per user fee per month, unlimited file storage and a free 30 day trial period. So with these specifications, the maximum file limit you can upload to Dropbox is determined by the plan you have signed up for considering these storage limits

Also Dropbox has certain incentives. If you download Dropbox Carousel photo app you earn an additional 3GB. In addition, whenever you invite someone to use Dropbox and they sign up, you earn an additional 500MB, so you can easily earn more storage space by referring dropbox to your friends.

Box.com

Box.com is a more “boutique” version of Dropbox.com with a niche for more sophisticated tasks. Box.com provides a lot of privacy features across all their products, including the free plan.

For the free account, Box.com has a maximum file limit of 250MB with 10 GB free storage space and 5GB for the paid plan. However, with a 10GB free storage space, it’s surprising and sad that the maximum file upload size is 250MB.

Like Dropbox.com, all you need to open an account is working email address. Once you sign up, you can upload the files via the web interface or through their very busy app. Because of the many options provided, you might find it hard to navigate through your account. If you are not easily overwhelmed by choices, Box.com could be a great fit for you.

This cloud storage platform allows you to assign tasks, leave comments, password protect individual files and folders, get notifications when edits are made and even have a choice of six tiers of permissions.

To share a file using Box.com, hover the cursor over the share button, very similar to Dropbox. Click on the pop up on the right side. An already highlighted link to the file will appear directly below the file. Ctrl + C to copy or right click and copy, then email the link to your transcriber. Many other options are provided including direct emailing via Gmail. As with dropbox, you can also invite your transcribe to the folder via the invite collaborators link.

Here’s a short video on how to share your research files using box.com.

In a nutshell, Box.com can be overwhelming when trying to manage a few files or folders. Its many privacy and sharing features are not ideal for the novice. In addition none of its plans have unlimited file size storage and unlike Dropbox, Box.com has no provision or incentive for additional free storage.

Google Drive

Google Drive requires very little set up and is automatically bundled in with any Google account. Let’s face it; almost everyone has a Google account. So if you have a YouTube , Google + or a Gmail account, you already have Google Drive.

As popular as it may be, I rarely use Google Drive for file sharing simply because I find their app wanting. However, they have recently redesigned the web interface, and it’s very easy to attach files and folders stored on Google Drive in Gmail.

Google Drive is a transformation of Google Docs which essentially means that you can create and edit text documents from your Drive account, maintaining the status of an online office tool where you get a word processor, presentation builder and spreadsheet application.

To upload files, simply drag and drop the files into the web interface and the upload will start. It’s slow, but it works. After you’ve uploaded the files, sharing them with your transcriber is relatively easy. Simply right click on the file or folder and a dropdown menu will appear. Click on share and enter the email address of your transcriber . You can also get a shareable link that you can email to your transcriber.

Here’s a short video on how to share your research files using Google Drive.

Google drive offers 15 GB of free storage, a paid plan of $2 per month for 100GB and $10 for 1TB. You have to share that 15GB with your Gmail account. There is an option of downloading the Drive desktop app to your computer, organize all your files and they will sync with the cloud. You can drag and drop files into the Drive website and they will be uploaded automatically. However, unlike Dropbox, there is no provision for neither unlimited storage nor additional free storage.

Wrapping it all up, Dropbox and Google Drive offers users large amounts of online storage for free or for a small fee and are at the forefront of cloud storage. Box.com target market are businesses and large organizations. I find that most universities have a team account with box.com that their students/faculty can use.

If sharing large files with your transcriber is something you do often, I recommend Dropbox.com which has been a favorite for a number of years. The Dropbox site doesn’t offer many customization options, but it’s minimalistic design is very user friendly.

If you are a business and need a more robust solution that offers a variety of file management and sharing options, Box.com is ideal for you as it offers many collaboration tools and file privacy control. Also check to see if you university has a box.com account that you can use.

If you are a Google diehard, and are considering integration with other Google services, then Google Drive is your best bet. And Drive is built into Chromium, which is Google’s Web based operating system, if you have a Chromebook, Google Drive is your best option for cloud storage and sharing files.

In a nutshell, it’s important to choose a cloud provider that offers tools and services that are secure and easy to use. There are other cloud storage providers that I’ll quickly mention. With a Windows/Microsoft account (Hotmail, Outlook, Skype,Live et al), you have access to OneDrive, a Windows cloud sharing service and with Yahoo!, you have access to Hightail.com.

Now that you know 3 effective ways to share your research interviews with your transcriber, it’s time to get them transcribed. If you are looking for an qualitative data transcriber, please get in touch.

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