Video Killed the Radio Star.

Adobe CaptivateI get to make some Adobe Captivate videos at work and it is fun! I feel like Steven Spielberg. I sit in my office with my headphones on, murmuring, “Highlight Box goes her to underscore the name of the webpage.” And people look through the doorway and think I’m doing complex technical things. I’ve switched my office chair to a director’s chair and have taken to wearing a beret. The students mock me, but I think they’re just jealous of my genius?!

Let it be known that I am not the first among my friends to undertake this type of project. My buddy Ania, as part of her practicum placement during school, got to make these BIG and REALLY COMPLEX videos. She worked at U of T’s Gerstein Library and the topics covered in her captivate projects included: Citation Tracking in Web of Science, Citation Tracking in Scopus, and Citation Tracking in Google Scholar. That’s her, talking in the audio!

I want to chat with her about how she was able to ensure the right kind of detail and context, without making them unwieldy for student use, but she is in Jasper all summer cutting wood and climbing mountains. *sigh*

And my friend Monica has also undertaken the how-to video making for the internets: She test-drove Jing, a free screen-casting software application available online, and made a video for her mom, about how to set-up a Gmail account. So cute!!

To help me in the struggle to create concise, usable videos that are neither so brief that they still leave students confused, nor so detailed that they suffer from a bad case of the TMI’s (too much information), I’ve referenced a really great article from Reference Services Review, written by Joanne Oud, entited, “Guidelines for effective online instruction using multimedia screencasts.” The article is scholarly, but provides a lot of sensible tips on how to create online videos that are sound cognitively, pedagogically, and aesthetically… i.e., that are not junk. Stuff like “giving an outline of what will happen right at the beginning” is common sense (Oud 2009), but doesn’t always make it into the final edit. So to Joanne Oud, whoever you are: Thanks for the article.


Also helping to guide my movie debut is this awesome project called ANTS: the Animated Tutorial Sharing Project. They collect screencastings that libraries all over the universe have created, and aggregate them into a single site. They have a account called LION (Library Information literacy Online Network) where you can view all kinds of videos from all sorts of libraries, with clear instructions on how to embed videos into your own library’s website (they did the whole Creative Commons thingy so it’s legit). Particularly videos about questioning the validity of online resources: That is universal, like the sun and taxes and stuff. They’d be helpful for any library. That is to say: Let’s not reinvent the wheel, people!

And finally, let it be known that the American Psychological Association keeps up with the times: From the latest APA Style Guide to Electronic Resources under “Video Weblog post,” they have instructed us in how to cite a YouTube video:

Norton, R. (2006, November 4). How to train a cat to operate a light switch [Video file]. Video posted to

That is, author or video creator, date, title, and URL. And now you know!

Note that with all this video-making going on, there are grave dangers… The infamous Rick-roll being one of them. But there are ways to keep yourself safe from these attacks! Check out the instructions online. Har har har.


One response to “Video Killed the Radio Star.

  1. hey Meghan!
    Funny you should post about this, as I am busy churning out a whole series of askON training modules using Captivate. It’s certainly an interesting application, isn’t it?
    Thanks for linking to Ania’s tutorials- I am definitely going to have a look.
    We should discuss our Captivate experiences… I bet there are things you can teach me.
    PS- dont you think screencasting is poised to sweep the library world?