Thursday, May 29, 2008

Too many videos, too little time...

Everyone has heard of YouTube, but I have to admit this was my first experience searching for something there. Mostly I'd seen a few of the One Minute Critic videos Sam had posted on YouTube, and I think I'd seen some other random "hey-you-should-watch-this" videos other people had pointed out to me. For my search, I typed in "Library Week," which brought up ALA's videos that I wanted plus other videos I didn't particularly care about. Revising my search to "National Library Week" helped a bit with that. I also got to view a short video from some university library that was pretty cool--video of the library on campus overlaid with clips of students talking about their favorite places in the library & why & what they'd like to change if they could. That was fun!

And I like the option YouTube gave me to put one of the videos (I chose the Nat'l Library Week video about Reference) on my Facebook profile. Very cool!

Next was and another search on "National Library Week." That brought up a whole list of videos in a format that was much easier to scan. I like it better than YouTube's too-crowded layout. Here's my favorite Reference video (the same one I posted on Facebook): makes it really easy to embed their videos. I appreciate that! Plus, on their site, the videos are larger (easier to see) than on YouTube. You can even click a little icon and make them full-screen, which is fabulous!! (note: I just discovered almost by accident that YouTube offers this feature, too. That's good!)

I also discovered that has a drop-down menu off to the side of the video you're watching that lets you "share" the video via a selection of options which includes Facebook. I think I'll try it and compare the two....OK, at first glance they appear the same, but clicking on the postings to view the videos has two different effects: takes you to their site in a new tab, while YouTube lets you view right there within Facebook. I prefer the latter, I think. Still, it's good that no matter which of the two sites I'm on, I can add a favorite video to my Facebook account. (So again, why in the world would you need one of those tumblelogs??)

As for library applications, well, bring on the videos! Sam's One Minute Critic program should be advertised on our FVRL website with all kinds of videos--he's certainly got enough to choose from! Why are we not taking advantage of them? He's been posting them on YouTube & & elsewhere for months. But why not here, where our audience/participants are likely to be?

Likewise, I think we as a library system should be using videos and podcasts to advertise all kinds of library programs and activities. Currently we're only just beginning to do this, and mostly through our teen MySpace pages, etc. This is fine--a good thing--but not enough. We're not maximizing our potential yet. (Incidentally, why can I not find links to these MySpace pages from the FVRL website? Am I just looking in the wrong place, or do you need to go to MySpace directly and then search for FVRL?)

The tricky part is overcoming search quirks. How can we be consistent in our tagging so that all related things can be found by unrelated users? Tags and titles are crucial for the ever-important "findability" factor. It's why I prefer Goodreads to LibraryThing and why I like Blogger's "show all" option for a post's labels--so that I can see what tags (or bookshelf titles) I've used in the past and remember to use them again for related items. I don't have any magic answers here. Just my opinion that there is great potential out there in techland to reach new and returning patrons, and we should be thoughtful in how we go about doing it. That's my 2 cents' worth. For today. Tune in tomorrow....

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