Additional Software Options for Students, Part 1

Many of the services listed are either free, have free versions with lower capacities/less features, or low cost to GSLIS students. Some, like Omnigraffle, are the Mac equivalent of a Windows program. It’s also always worth checking what is available on the UIUC software webstore.

If you see anything you’d like to vouch for and have added to this list, please leave a comment!


Through GSLIS, you have space on the server through the I:Drive (Web Publishing) and H:Drive. There are also services available elsewhere that will allow you to load your files and will create the links for you. DropBox, YouSendIt, and Amazon Cloud Drive all give you a certain amount of space for free, but also allow you to purchase additional space.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Diagramming Software:

Several classes at GSLIS, including Introduction to Databases (490DB/490DBL) and Systems Analysis and Management (453LE), use diagramming software. Check with your instructor ahead of time to see if different options are acceptable and which format the assignment needs to be in when it is turned in (PDF? Visio file? JPEG in a .doc?). When you have that figured out, there are plenty of options out there that range from free to expensive. Some are browser based and others are Windows only or Mac only. Many have free trials available.

Visio Students can download for free at the webstore:
Lovely Charts

RSS Readers:

If you don’t know what an RSS Reader is (RSS is usually spelled out to be Really Simple Syndication), you can keep an eye out for our RSS/Blogging workshop. We usually offer it at least once a semester. For now though, check out Common Craft’s RSS in Plain English. Here is a transcript of the video.

Google Reader

Meeting Scheduler Tools:

Doing group work? In a student group? Setting up a social event? Meeting scheduler tools can be a huge help in coordinating times for when to meet up.

Doodle Polls
When is Good


It’s always a good idea to have more than one browser installed for troubleshooting purposes. If something doesn’t work in one, you can test it out in another browser. It’s particularly helpful if you plan on doing any web design. This way you can check to see how your web page looks on various browsers as not everyone will be viewing your page with the same setup.

Pale Moon (Firefox optimized for Windows)


Protecting your computer from viruses and malicious programs should be a high priority for all users. CITES has it’s own Anti-Virus documentation that we strongly encourage students to look over: There are also free Anti-Virus downloads through the UIUC webstore. Some of the below programs, particularly the anti-malware, are worth checking out even with the Anti-Virus that the university provides. It is a myth that having more than one Anti-virus makes your system more secure. Having your Anti-virus complemented by some anti-malware or spyware, however, can be beneficial though you probably do not want more than 2 anti-spyware programs installed as it can be more intrusive than helpful. Many of the below programs are Windows-only, but being aware of malware issues is important for users of all operating systems. And as the recent Mac Defender malware incident has shown, even Macs are not completely free of threats.

Malware Bytes
Spybot Search and Destroy
Microsoft Security Essentials
Panda Cloud Antivirus
Panda USB Vaccine

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