Guest Post: Sign me up! Event registration with GoogleDocs and Calendar

By now, if you’re not a GoogleDocs convert, you at least know enough about it to resist it’s Google-y charms. If you fall into the latter group, well, you might just come around by the end of this post.

Nestled among Google’s answer to the trifecta of productivity software is a gem that will make registration for your next library workshop a breeze, especially when used with Google Calendar.

Behold the Form:
Google Form

Essentially, it’s a very stripped down survey-making application that feeds results into an accompanying spreadsheet. To get started:

1. Create a new Form from the GoogleDocs front page.
2. Add a name and a description for your event.
3. Add your question fields with the Add Item button. (Here you can choose a question type – text, paragraph, scale, etc. For registration forms, I use Text and ask for first and last name, email address and academic department.)
4. I like to edit the confirmation message – the note students get when the form is submitted. Do this under More Actions.
5. Also under More Actions, select Embed and copy the code for your form.

Edit form

Now you can add the code to a web page, but why stop there? Go a step further and paste it into the description field of an event in Google Calendar.

Edit event

The trick here is to tweak the HTML a little to make a link instead of an embedded object. I just change the <iframe src> tag to an <a href> tag and edit what I want the link to say.

Finally, take the code for the Google Calendar and paste it into your website. This code can be found in Calendar Settings for the desired calendar.

Calendar code

Now, you have a fully integrated library events calendar and sign up sheet. When participants fill out the form, their responses will be added to a spreadsheet in your GoogleDocs item list.

One last detail I like to customize, is notification – you can be sent an email when someone submits the online form. To set this up, open the spreadsheet, go to Tools → Notification Rules.

Notification rules

This GoogleDocs/Calendar combination has been immensely helpful in setting up workshop registration and keeping attendees organized. Plus, it has all the benefits that come with GoogleDocs – it’s web-based so I can set up registration forms anywhere and I can add co-instructors who can view the class list and make any needed edits. To see all this in action, feel free to check out my workshop calendar.


Allie Jordan is the Emerging Technologies and Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  While she’s not exploring the ins and outs of the graduate student psyche, she’s cross stitching or watching roller derby.

You don’t have to be just a Libtechtalk groupie. Did you know that this blog is looking for guest authors? Contact ctomlinson at towson.edu to find out how you too can write about your favorite technologies and how they might be used in academic libraries.

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PollDaddy: a fun and easy way to engage students

On the small scale, PollDaddy can be used in the classroom to receive immediate feedback on student understanding. Changing what was once a pop quiz into something more along the lines of a game show.

On the large scale, when making plans for the library’s future, PollDaddy can be used to gather input from patrons. For example, a ten-question survey could provide invaluable information on what students need in a study space and look for when it’s time to take a break. Additionally, simple polls can be used on a continual basis. A poll on the library’s homepage could serve as an informal platform from which to ask users a new question every week. What hours are you most likely to be found in the library? What floor do you nap on? Would you bring your laptop to the library if…?

Click image to link to actual poll.

Click image to link to actual poll.

It’s useful and it’s easy. I was able to register a new account and create this poll in less than 15 minutes. It would have taken only five minutes if I had planned out my question and answers ahead of time.

It’s also flexible. You can choose from several different designs and question types or customize your polls / surveys using CSS. Once your question(s) and the answer options have been entered, PollDaddy generates code that can simply be pasted into your website(s). One poll / survey can be placed on multiple sites and the results entered at each location will be conveniently gathered on your PollDaddy account.

The free account offers unlimited polling and up to 100 survey responses per month for surveys with a maximum of 10 questions. It does not include analysis capabilities. PollDaddy Pro is available for $200 per year. It too offers unlimited polling, allows up to 1,000 survey responses for surveys with any number of questions, removes PollDaddy branding, and includes analysis capabilities such as customized reports, voter location, and removal of repeat votes from the same IP address.

Sign up for a free account . Try it out on your website, blog, social networking profile, etc. Useful for fun and for research, it may become your new favorite tool.