Tag Archives: Interventions

Podcast Your Research?

Flushed with anticipated success, I blogged for the library about disseminating your research via social media.  I’ll reproduce it here (after all, they’re my words!)  This afternoon, I’m meeting up with our learning technologist for a personal tutorial in devising podcasts and related formats, so I’ll probably have more to add to this later!  I have two reasons for needing to know – disseminating my own research, and sharing “how-to” videos etc for people using our library resources.

We’ve just found a great blog post on the LSE Impact Blog, about the benefits of disseminating your research using social media – and, specifically, by using podcasts.

Podcasting is like broadcasting, over the internet.  It tends to mean an audio recording, and means your research can potentially reach a much wider audience.  Have a look at this!

There’s a book, Communicating Your Research By Social Media, which looks really interesting, but we’ll get that later on this year.  For now, read the LSE Impact Blog and see if it sets you thinking!

  • What could you podcast about?
  • Or would you use a blog (with or without video)?
  • Or a powerpoint (ditto)
  • Or a powerpoint with voiceover?
  • What technical expertise would you need?
  • Would it be worth learning these skills?  (Rhetorical question!)
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This is your Librarian Talking: not a “shush” to be heard!

Okay, feeling more alive now, I decided it was time to wrap up my project “interventions” – the two user education guides that I’ve undertaken to devise as part of my PGCert project.

Initially, the intention was to create just one.  It didn’t feel enough, and it didn’t offer the chance to experiment.  Moreover, it didn’t really address the problems that I perceived our students were experiencing.

I decided I’d create two.  I had bold ideas of podcasts, vodcasts, powerpoints with recorded voiceovers, and screencaptures.  I even toyed with the idea of combining a YouTube and screencaptures.  I went to the park one lunchtime and played with YouTube (it’s anonymous, and there weren’t many people around). Then commonsense kicked in.

  • Who wants to listen to me explaining something, without seeing what I’m telling them about?  This is about using electronic resources, guys!
  • Who wants to see me talking about e-resources, without seeing the e-resources?
  • I asked my more technically-minded son how difficult it would  be to combine a video of myself, with screen-captures of our e-resource pages.  “Who wants to see your little face in a circle in the corner of the screen, Mum?”   He wasn’t being unkind.  “We want to see what you’re explaining about”, he continued.  He had confirmed my misgivings.

I decided my first intervention would be something I felt comfortable with: a powerpoint.  I have hardly ever recorded a voiceover, but at least the powerpoint would be easy.  Simplicity itself, in fact.  I spent hours sourcing suitable images, made a presentation about referencing and citation, got it approved in principle by my project supervisor, and scurried home to write and record the script.  Six migraines and a viral infection later, I had a free evening and got the mic/headset out of its box … took a deep breath, and got on with it.  I had a complete intervention – put out the flags!

It had been so easy, I had more time left over than I expected.  So I started my second intervention.  I sourced screencapture software, made a handful of powerpoint slides, and wrote the script.  This morning, I seized the gift of some more free, peaceful hours, and started recording.

Even with a new, more robust internet connection, my computer didn’t load up pages as fast as I needed them to load.  I tried again, this time pausing the recording until they did load.  There are parts of our webpages that seem to occupy half the screen before sliding up again.  Not helpful.  Moreover, flipping between a handful of powerpoint slides and the e-resource pages was clunky, and I wasn’t entirely sure that my guinea-pig cohort (still innocent that they are to be invited to be guinea-pigs) would see exactly what I wanted them to see, or whether they’d get all the recording clutter around the edges of the screen. This wasn’t going well.

I thought again.  What, actually, was wrong with another powerpoint-plus-voiceover? I’m good at powerpoints, I can read a script confidently, and I know the recording will work. Is there really any merit in trying anything else that won’t look as good or flow as smoothly?  It took minimal time to turn all my scripted online demos into screenshots in the powerpoint.  Recording it was easy – why, I’d even practised the words several times already on the functional but ugly screen-capture attempt.  garden-1825638_640

Finally … I have two interventions.  (I wish I could show them off here straight away, but that would spoil the project, so you’ll need to wait! But here’s a picture, just as a teaser.)

And I can put the kettle on!

Everything Changes … But Not Yet

I had a momentary hesitation when it suddenly dawned on me that our new library management system would be implemented this year – staff training starts next month – and I wondered whether one of my PGCert project ‘interventions’ might therefore be an introduction to the new catalogue, rather than to the present one.

However, it transpires that we don’t go live until July, so my intervention will probably have to be an introduction to the current system.  If it has to be re-jigged subsequently, then that will just be a routine task as part of my role as a librarian. (Indeed, there is much to be said for a test-run on the present system, to ensure that any suggested improvements can be incorporated into a learning-tool for the new one.)

Meanwhile, I shall continue thinking about questions for my survey, and the rapidly-becoming-unavoidable task of the ethical approval form. (Historical musicologists don’t usually do much in the way of ethical approval – our subjects are so long deid!)