Thursday, June 28, 2007

CCPL YouTube Video on Accessing Research Databases

The following YouTube video, without sound, is an experiment in instructing people on how to access research database titles in video format. It is a show and tell script. Also, keep in mind that this is just my first online instructional video so I'm just learning how to do it well. The rest of this post covers: how I did this YouTube videofrom the software side, story board telling/instructing, and some big picture thoughts in bottom line format in the link below the labels under Read More.

How I did it...
Initially, I tried a few different software packages: MS PowerPoint, Wink, SuperC, and about two other packages (all open source or shareware with purchase required after limited trial for the A/V file creation and saving part). The only upfront costs involved was the PowerPoint software which was already on the computer I use.

Finally, I settled on PowerPoint and CamStudio open source software. The first part was to create a storyboard in PowerPoint. The Second step, and probably the most time consuming for doing this as my first online instructional video, was to download CamStudio (after trying other sofware) and actually record an active PowerPoint presentation in view mode. The CamStudio website also effectively uses a video on how to install the software.

Altogether between trying various software, learning capabilities of software, and abandoning the idea of using just flash presentations (these are not easily sharable on websites and blog linkage is another problem) I selected the YouTube website as the place to park content and the use of the .avi file format at this time. From the software side, the big push I felt necessary was to create content in a file format compatible for YouTube videos. Initially, I had problems with installing, running and lack of features on some shareware and open source applications that supported a video format compatible with YouTube.

Maybe sometime in the future, I'll do a brown bag session in person on how to create YouTube videos from PowerPoint slides.

Storyboard telling...
There is a wonderful book on PowerPoint called Beyond bullet points. It provides some useful insights into telling a story online that trains, informs, entertains, and holds the attention of an audience. Granted, the book mainly covers how to's of giving formal presentations in front of an audience, but much of the content also covers creating an effective message and instruction in a Powerpoint presentation.

The ability to actually profile sources in a video format as opposed to just text and pictures is useful in instruction. Many people are visual learners and actually seeing how to do something such as access a database or learn what kind of resources are available by pictures of newspapers, magazines, and book covers is valuable.

In the future, we may create additional videos that demonstrate serials and monographs tranistioning into electronic form say flying across a computer screen from physical to electronic form. Sometimes visuals can give people a real concrete sense of electronic based content originating from print sources.

The concept of Brown Bag Instructional Series is akin to sessions some organizations run during lunch to do training or for entertainment. It is an informal setting to learn something useful or be entertained typically. I'm contemplating the idea of creating video clips by subject area: arts and antiques; health and medicine; automobiles, literature, etc... Reason being, people like to find content and it is really only librarians and avid searchers that may care about the details of doing fancy content searching such as index searching with boolean logic. My tentative penciled in goals on this idea of video clips on database usage and awareness are not set in stone. Basically, I want to instruct, capitivate, and educate library staff and ulitmately patrons to find information effectively in that it should have great utility, an entertainment side and value.

Bottom Line,
Currently YouTube and other video on the web like technology is an excellent intstruction and entertainment tool in providing point of need assistance or enrichment. On such example and intended use of this video clip is when a patron is wanting to know how to access databases via an online Instant Message session. One solution is just to send the patron the video link on of how to do it (once it is established he or she also has a Charleston County Library Card). We have some additional things to learn before brining this technology into more useful terms. The good news is that we seem to be getting closer to making library resources easier to use. Keep in mind this is just an experiment and down the road future library clips may be produced..