The lab relies on a college supported Google Drive account for all of our digital storage. This is a convenient storage solution because 1) all Kenyon students have Drive access via their Kenyon google accounts, and 2) the account does not have any storage cap (i.e., we will never run out of space). This is also a great tool for collaboration, as it gives lab members direct access to the same files (instead of needing to email files up and back).
Google Drive is a cloud based storage, which means the physical data are stored on Google servers. You can therefore access the data from any web browser and from any internet-connected device.
However, this is not a convenient (and sometimes impossible) way to interact with the data under all circumstances. For instance, if you're working on a manuscript you don't want to need to download the file and then be required to upload it when you're done editing. I'm sure you can see that this could quickly lead to version control chaos. Especially, if you were working with a collaborator. Which brings me to …
To get around this issue you can download the Google Drive app (Windows/Mac/Android/iPhone). This will allow you to keep a synchronized local copy of all the files on your computer. Importantly, when a change is made to a file in the cloud, it will automatically be reflected in your local copy. Similarly, when you modify and save a local file, your new version will automatically synchronize to the cloud.
Any edits/deletions that you make on your local computer will propagate to the cloud and to the computers of every lab user
To get access to the lab directories, I will need to send you an invitation. However, do to a limitation with the Google Drive program (see box below), I will need to send you a separate invitation for each directory that you want to access. Unless you have excessive amounts of free disk space, you'll want to be selective in what directories you share. For instance, if you're doing a skin-conductance study then there's probably no reason for you to share the EEG directories, which can take up quite a bit of disk space.
All lab users will have access to the
users directory, which has sub-directories for each lab member.
The Google Drive program will allow you to specify which directories you want to synchronize with your local computer. This can be very useful.
Imagine you have two computers. A desktop machine with lots of local storage, and a laptop with limited storage. Now let's assume you have two directories on Google Drive; one for movies (legally obtained, of course!), and one for class documents. Using the sync options you could specify that on the documents directory syncs to your laptop (where local storage space is at a premium), but that the both the documents and movies directories synch your desktop (where local storage space is not an issue).
Great. So what's the problem?
Unlike other similar services (e.g., Dropbox), Google Drive does not let you pick and choose sub-directories to synchronize. That is, if you want to synch a directory then you must synch everything that is in that directory. You cannot specify that you'd like to sync sub-directory A, but not sub-directory B.