Image Credit: The Connecticut Library Association – All rights reserved – Copyright 2008
Members of the College & University Libraries Section (CULS) of the Connecticut Library Association host an educational program each fall, the purpose of which is to showcase innovative programs in technology or educational library services for academic libraries. Librarians throughout the New England region attend.
This years’ CULS program, held on Oct 24 2008 at Wallingford Public Library, featured a panel of talented academic librarians who were invited to present examples of their current outreach, training and information literacy efforts using state of the art technologies. The title was “Podcasts & Videos: New Instruction Techniques to Reach the Academic iPod Generation” (announcement is shown above). All of the panelists are from academic libraries in Connecticut.
Following is a recap of – and online links to – their individual presentations.
In previous years, freshmen at Fairfield University learned about library services via a lecture (which was rated by some past attendees as “boring”) given at the beginning of required library instruction sessions. In 2008, Fairfield University reference librarians Ramona Islam and Leslie Porter wrote a docu-drama for, acted by and about undergraduate students who need to find pathways through the research process and services available to them as users of the Nyselius-DiMenna Library. This “choose your own adventure” movie, played in tandem with clickers to facilitate students’ voting, has replaced the lecture and serves as an entrée to the remainder of class, during which students learn research skills and practice using library resources.
This short film is titled “Fairfield Beach.” The students starring in the film are drama majors (who were able to use the film as examples of their work for their acting portfolios). The film benefits from the professional-quality direction, technical production, sound and visual editing which was provided by students and staff at the Fairfield University Media Center.
“Fairfield Beach” is a treat to watch… you have to see it to believe how a male student could actually describe the process of requesting an interlibrary loan as cool and exciting! You can the view the film direct from this link: http://faculty.fairfield.edu/mediacenter/library/
Also read a blog entry from the 2008 LOEX Conference, held in Las Vegas this summer, where Ms. Islam and Ms. Porter presented their project, at: http://loexofthewest2008.blogspot.com/2008/06/students-are-stars-making-subversively.html
Digital Resources librarian Debra Herman and Reference librarian Susan Slaga, from Elihu Burritt Library, Central Connecticut State University, presented their experience creating vidcasts for iPods for CCSU undergraduates. Since 2007, these two librarians have produced over a dozen short screencasts using Adobe Captivate software for topics ranging from using digital course reserves to searching article databases or the library catalog.
Their discussion at this meeting focused on the technical aspects of vidcasting: required software and options, costs involved, post-sound or video editing and generating RSS feeds, as well as promotion and evaluation (by pre- and post-tests) of the effectiveness of these digital learning tools.
Their powerpoint presentation, “Podcasting for Library Instruction” is available to view on Slideshare, at http://www.slideshare.net/hermand/podcasting-for-library-instruction-presentation/.
Ms. Herman and Ms. Slaga were invited speakers at the 2008 Computers in Libraries in Arlington, Virginia. In 2007, they presented a program in Massachusetts on their use of instant messaging for reference services at CCSU, which is available on the NELINET website, at this link: “Nuts and Bolts: Implementing Web 2.0“.
Lei Wang, Instructional Design librarian at Cushing/Whitney Medical Library of Yale University, was the final speaker of the morning. Mr. Wang has created dozens of screencasts over the past two years for training Yale medical students, clinicians, hospital staff (and external clientele) to search medical literature and specific clinical databases or subscription software.
His presentation “Screencasting and Podcasting: Experience of the Yale Medical Library” is available at this link on Slideshare.
To view a list of tutorials and training guides at the medical library, click this link.
While the other speakers’ primary focus were on undergraduates and faculty (who are usually on-campus to some extent), clinical personnel using a graduate medical library are not often actually on-campus or if they are, their time is taken up seeing patients, teaching medical students or rotating through training sites far from New Haven, so the content must be available on-demand, 24 hours a day. Mr. Wang showed statistical data and time-sensitive tables, measuring on-site and off-campus use of the work. His concerns for reaching a time-challenged (or remote) audience to provide training or pathways to current clinical information are shared by medical librarians all over the world.
Following is a screenshot of the Medical Library‘s podcasting page on iTunes:
– All rights reserved – Copyright 2008
Two ideas from this meeting have stuck with me. First, a slide in Mr. Wang’s presentation showing the number of hits from sites external to the Yale community on the video tutorials accounted for 69% of the total number. Two-thirds of the people using these training materials are not even connected with Yale. Wow. That is a big reach.
The other thing: librarians who trained and received graduate degrees even 10 years ago couldn’t have envisioned the extent to which technology and educational adaptation underpins the core intent and value of academic (or any) librarianship: meeting the information needs of our users, when they want it and as they want it packaged and delivered.
This meeting was clear demonstration of the ways in which information professionals with deep subject/content knowledge match technological expertise with teaching skills to provide these services for diverse groups of library users… on-site and off.
Also see: On Mashable.com (Oct 22 2008 ), blogger Torley wrote: “How to Master Screencasting in Seven Steps“