Innovations Affecting Us--Podcasting, Coursecasting, and the Library
- DeVoe, Kristen.
- Against the Grain 18, no. 1:78-9, 85.
Developments in social software (RSS, podcasting, blogs, etc.), combined with instructional support tools such as online video tutorials and course management software, create new possibilities for both library instruction and outreach initiatives. Together, these tools can support an ongoing strategy of delivering the necessary information discovery techniques to the target audience at the time of actual need. In some ways, this strategy is perhaps analogous to the "just-in-time" model of library collection management. At Virginia Commonwealth University, the majority of students and faculty are familiar with the use of course management software such as Blackboard. As a result, library instruction for the sciences and engineering has been moved into this online environment. This creates an engaged context for the development, organization and staging of numerous online video tutorials, covering very specific subject topics and search techniques relevant to the sciences and engineering. These tutorials, currently created using software such as TechSmith's Camtasia Studio, are intentionally brief (1 3 minutes), and each is focused on a single topic or resource. Topics range from specialized bioinformatics tools from the National Center for Biotechnology Information to basic resources from VCU Libraries. Video tutorials can also be used for brief demonstrations on a laptop computer during a liaison office visit or outreach event. Since each tutorial is associated with an RSS feed, the convenience and accessibility of RSS/podcasting provides a way for faculty and students to remain connected with these detailed, skill-focused resources long after the instruction/outreach event. It also facilitates awareness of new tutorials at the time they are first developed, provides access to updated tutorials, encourages the possibility of new users who may not have attended the actual event, and is compatible with scientists' and engineers' overall attention to new resources and techniques for current awareness.