Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Invasion of the podcasts

A much more mellow pod
Thing 21 brings me to podcasting and youtube.  I haven't really listened to many podcasts before (or rather I have via my computer but not after downloading them onto portable equipment).  As others have said the audio podcasts of radio programmes are useful but what about for libraries. 

I love an audio tour around an English Heritage site (except when they introduce Mrs Mopp the housekeeper from 1560 preparing for the visit by the Queen, who always seems, from the strong accent, to be from Cornwall or Yorkshire even when you are standing in a castle in Kent) and the descriptions of the rooms and the instructions on which door to go through.  But not sure it would have the same appeal through a library - "go through the door on the left and when you reach the first bookcase press 1" and "now look to your right to see dewey numbers 300-310, standing on a bookcase of mdf from the late 20th century".    It would, and is, useful for lecturers that students may miss, or talks by visiting lecturers which do not have to be visual necessarily.

On the whole, for library inductions or tutorials I think a visual element is desirable.  I looked around at some video tutorials and Arizona State University had their own "library channel" and a selection of tutorials in a variety of forms, some with people and others screen shots and virtual environments.  A visual demo of how to use a resource is very helpful and something I would like to investigate further.

Finally I looked at YouTube and while I found some of the library introductions amusing I wasn't sure if students would.  Were they just amusing from a librarian's point of view?  Humour is a tricky balance in a video - it can end up just being embarrassing.   My main reaction to alot of the stuff was similar to Donald Sutherland's towards the pod people.

Invasion of the body snatchers (1978)
So to sum up I suppose I think there is a use for creating podcasts for tutorials and possibly promotion of library services (but I will not be launching into lady gaga).  I prefer some sort of  visual element and not just talking.

To end, I do like the Sesame Street sketch with the cookie monster in the library, even if he is not the easiest of customers.


  1. That's my favourite YouTube Library video too!

  2. I hadn't made the link between library tour podcasts and historic building audioguides, but now you've said it I can't stop imagining one. "Let's hear from old Mr Ebenezar Booke, librarian here in the seventeenth century..."