Thing 18: Jing/screen capture/podcasts (making and following them)

I’ve been putting this one off because screencasts and podcasts are not something I’m very familiar with, either in terms of making myself or following them, so I wasn’t sure where to start! They’re not something I would use in my current role, but I can see how they would be useful in various areas of library work. For example, screencasts could help students and  staff navigate electronic resources, and podcasts could be used to introduce learners at a distance to library services. I know our Faculty Liaison Librarians (FLLs) already use screencasts and such like in their work, particularly with students who aren’t based on campus, and have found them to be very helpful.

I tried out Screencast-o-matic at home, and it seems to work well, although my skills with it are not great at the moment. I think it would be a good tool to use if I ever did need to create a screencast, which I may well do one day, who knows!  I didn’t try Jing as I didn’t want to download it on to my computer at home if I wasn’t really going to use it. I didn’t even try downloading it at work!

I’ve never followed or listened to any podcasts before. I did download some podcasts of Mitch Benn reading A Christmas Carol last Christmas, but never got round to listening to them! Like screencasts, I think podcasts can be a useful means of conveying information to library users, particularly those at a distance, but also those who actually visit the library. For example, an audio ‘tour’ of the library could be recorded as a podcast, downloaded by students and they could then visit the library at a time of their choosing, for a podcasted library tour. I’m sure I’ve heard of this happening at some university libraries. Podcasts could also be used to help communicate information about the library to students and staff with visual impairments.

Although the FLLs in our institution use things like screencasts and podcasts, I think it would be good if other teams within the library also made use of them, or even did things like creating videos for YouTube and uploading them onto the library’s website/BlackBoard to show people how to use the self-service machines and move the dreaded compact shelving! (A few members of library staff did record a video to this end when we first moved into our new building, but were never allowed to do anything with it!). There’s a lot of technology out there that’s really useful, and it’s a shame we don’t do more with it to help students and other users of the library.