Thursday, 5 August 2010

Thing 21: podcasting and YouTube

What did you think of the library podcasts you listened to/viewed? Might you start subscribing to podcasts or consider podcasting yourself? Or alternatively have you got an idea for a library video to go on YouTube? What do you think about using the audio-visual medium to reach library users? Optional extra: Creating your own podcast

My best answer to any of those questions lies at the intersection of all of them. Having watched the library videos, and having, from time to time, fantasised about doing something similar, I explored the possibilities of the webcam I use for Skype, and found that the Logitech software's help pages were in the form of animated slide sequences. I feared that that instructions for use taken by that medium might be hard to remember, but it turned out not to be so. I watched the slideshow to the end, followed its instructions around the icons and buttons, and filmed myself singing 'I must not show off in the library'. That video will never go up on YouTube, but its shortcomings do not reflect on the instructions from Logitech.

So how do the library videos and podcasts (hereinafter LVPs) compare with the Logitech instruction slideshow?

It's not a strict comparison of like with like, because the LVPs serve a slightly different function. Their aim is to convey an impression, or inculcate an attitude, rather than guide the viewer through a precise sequence of actions. Success for the LVPs is thus not only harder to achieve but harder to measure. What information about classification does the audience take away from Romance of the living book? How is the audience affected by the difficulty of skimming, and of copying and pasting, in videos and podcasts compared to text-based documents? What is done to the message by ironic touches like the twist at the end of A plagiarism adventure or the wholly parodic content of Harper College's Tour the library? (Irony is the blind spot in my own sense of humour.) Have the LVPs, like songs, a value independent of the message driving them? And can the success of the LVPs, however measured, be held up to the more obviously measurable costs, in time, money and materials, of their making?

Further research needed. The short, provisional answer is that library videos get made by librarians with a passion for making videos, who may or may not be all the more pleased to be exercising this at work. But I'm glad that llordllama gets a mention. His prolific video output is sometimes to do with his day job as Document Supply and Repository Manager at Leicester University, and sometimes not.

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