Sharing files online: Best Services for Libraries

I started drafting this post about 4 months ago. Sheesh.

If I send an ILL request to many large academic medical libraries, I’ll often be sent a password and a link where I can log in and securely download the PDF. This is great because my IS department has pretty strict limits on the size of our email accounts and if mine gets too large, my ability to send new emails will be blocked.

Smaller libraries might want to offer a similar service, but not have access to a secure server (or the software or the know-how) with which to set it up.

There are a great number of free online services for sharing files, so how do we narrow down the right ones to try?

Features we want:

  • We want a simple, easy-to-use interface
  • We want to be able to share even very large PDFs- say up to 15 MBs.
  • For legal reasons, we want the file to be password-protected
  • Bonus: It’d be great if the file was automatically deleted after a certain number of days had passed.

If we use these criteria, the choices narrow down very quickly.

drop.io has quickly become my favorite for the following reasons.

  1. You can assign any (previously unused) URL you like that follows the pattern http://drop.io/[fill in this blank], which means you could use a PMID or Docline request number.
  2. You can upload files up to 100 MB in size
  3. You can set a password AND set the file to delete automatically after a day, a week, a month, or a year.

Also nice: No registration is required. It also doesn’t hurt anything that drop.io looks really cool. Great design.

One also-ran:

Transfer Big Files (brilliant name) almost matches drop.io in meeting our needs, except that it can’t apply an expiration date to the file.

Did I miss any other file sharing services that meet the criteria I outlined?

3 thoughts on “Sharing files online: Best Services for Libraries

  1. Cool! Thanks for the research on this.
    Drop.io looks both handy and dandy; my kind of web tool. 🙂