Hear no library, see no library, speak no library

hear no evil monkeys

image courtesy of johnsnape on Flickr

So I’ve reached Podcasts and YouTube. Listening and looking.

Like many other cam23 bloggers, I do already subscribe to podcasts (from Radio 4) as well as viewing things on YouTube (mainly things people send me as links and songs from Disney films for my 3 year old, not my first choice of entertainment). I haven’t thought very much about either medium for libraries.

The examples of podcasts were very interesting. I particularly appreciated the University of Aberdeen offering transcripts with all of their podcasts so the information is still accessible to those without sound cards or headphones or the right equipment. The JISC podcasts were a good length and very interesting. There is definitely room for offering audio library tours/induction/information for those library users who seem to walk round perpetually attached to their earphones. I can envisage this kind of material sitting happily on a library website along with traditional print, pdf, html pages. I know that lectures are already often available in this way. However, strictly speaking a podcast is regular audio output to which users could subscribe and I think that is harder to do. What kind of ongoing content would be appropriate in this kind of format? I am struggling to imagine it in the context of my library or anywhere I have worked.

The videos were all quite good fun. Setting aside the jokey ones (more a US trend than UK, perhaps) I liked the Social Science library tour from Oxford and the silent movie style of the University of Liverpool’s guide to electronic resources (versus “Goggle”). It’s a fine line to tread between genuinely funny and toe-curling though and I’d be interested to see what some students thought of some of the videos there.

podcast image

image courtesy of Colleen AF Venable from Flickr

Podcasts are a bit lifestyle-dependent though. I say this because it’s taken me quite a long time to find enough time and the right equipment to listen to all the recommended podcasts and view the YouTube videos. A few years ago, I regularly listened to podcasts or live radio on my mp3 player as I walked to work and back or just around the house. I had a sound card and all the necessary stuff on my work computer but – more importantly – my own office so that I could view videos or listen to audio at work even. Podcasts in particular would have been a perfect output for me at that time and useful for keeping up to date with things. Now, I drive everywhere and am forced by the passengers in the car to listen to nursery rhyme CDs rather than radio or podcasts. I don’t walk anywhere by myself any more so never have the chance to listen to things on headphones (apparently it’s frowned upon when in sole charge of small children). I work in a large shared office and have no headphones to use there (I borrowed some recently to listen to a webinar and felt very odd sitting there with headphones on as people tried to approach me with questions). So to view the videos, I had to wrestle the laptop from my daughter’s Disney-obsessed grip. My lifestyle makes audio/video a bit more difficult.

So any library thinking of developing podcasts or videos should bear in mind that these forms of communication will only reach or appeal to a certain proportion of their users and should be just one part of a whole range of communication methods.

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2 comments so far

  1. Sarah Burton on

    I love this post, it’s very insightful and looks at the subject in a way I hadn’t considered. But then I only have myself to look after. Thank you for the hear no evil monkeys as well, I’ve always loved that idea.

    • Céline on

      Thanks! I wasn’t that pleased with the post but the fact that they are not really media that work for me made it a really hard one to assess properly.


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