The Pitfalls of Video Presentations – and a Suggestion for Avoiding Them

A traditional librarian duty is to create guides for students and other patrons.  As better technology has become available, libraries moved from paper booklets to online guides like LibGuides. To further assist in classes and training, especially in academic libraries, many librarians have created podcasts or videos. These are all effective ways to disseminate information and give guidance on resources to a wide variety of patrons, including those who cannot physically get to the library, but there have always been problems with services provided in this way as well.

There is a lot of advice about how to get the most out of research guides, as they may not be read or used as much as they should be, but one of the biggest concerns is that they have to be updated. Updating takes significant time and effort, and this problem has been exacerbated with online resources. From day to day, WestlawNext and Lexis Advance can change. When giving personal reference service, these changes are easy to adapt to and demonstrate to a patron.  But on paper, online, or in a video, one major change to the resources may make the guide much less helpful to a user.

This is a constant struggle. As there are more online resources and more distance education classes, it has become more difficult to produce guides, and especially videos, that do not have to be redone completely each semester (or sometimes in the middle of a semester). My library has begun investigating how to give presentations to externs, students enrolled in clinics, or students in other circumstances that make attending live presentations difficult. What is an efficient way to reuse audio or video presentations? We have tried short videos, but in order to redo them, we have to reshoot the entire video.  We have tried using PowerPoints, but they don’t carry any explanation or clarification from the librarians when only the slides are viewed. We looked at other presentation software, but nothing worked to help with these issues. In looking around, we finally found information on recording PowerPoint presentations with audio explanations on the slides.  If necessary, we can also embed videos.

There are several benefits to using the PowerPoint presentations in this way.  We can go in and rerecord the audio on any individual slide, but we can leave the other slides intact.  So instead of redoing the whole thing, as we had to do with videos, we only have to redo a small amount of the presentation. We can pull entire slides out, so if something has changed with short notice, we can still use the presentation and either add back in the changes or simply leave it out.  Using the audio feature of PowerPoints has provided a more flexible way to present and reuse information on how to use resources.


About Shawn Friend

This entry was posted in Patron Services, Reference Services, Teaching (general) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Pitfalls of Video Presentations – and a Suggestion for Avoiding Them

  1. sdemaine says:

    If you’re interested, our library uses a product called Storyline from a software company named Articulate. It combines the ease of PowerPoint with screencasting, audio, and e-learning. It is also excellent at publishing for multiple types of mobile devices.

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