Using Podcasting and Online Video in the Library

In the spirit of this week’s topic, I’ll let one of my favorite bands accompany my blog posting. If they ever come to your town, be sure not to miss “Eddie from Ohio”.

I have a 2nd generation iPod, in other words one that’s been around for awhile now. I loved it when I first took it out of its packaging and my devotion to it has dimmed little over the years. I’m a left-of-the-middle of the road fan of trendy gadgets, so it’s not like I fall all over myself whenever the latest toy comes along. I’ve never touched an X-box (I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen one), don’t know anything about Wii, and believe “Guitar Hero” is about the most idiotic concept one could imagine. Just learn to play a guitar, for God’s sake.

But back to my iPod, I do love it and perhaps as a result, I’ve also become very reliant upon podcasts over the years as a way of listening to favorite radio and television programs. In fact, I bet if I tracked my usage, I probably listen to more podcasts than music on my iPod. “Fresh Air”, “Speaking of Faith”, “Pardon the Interruption”, and “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me” help me pass many a minute and a mile on the treadmill.

I’m newer to the discovery of YouTube and its cousins in online video, but I admit that I enjoy coming across a video of a favorite band or musician, or an interesting lecture. And truly there are some really bizarre yet really funny things out there. There are likely some disturbing bits as well, but I’m happy to report I’ve avoided them so far.

So all in all, I like music on the web. I like talk on the web. I like video on the web. And what I like most about these things on the web is this… I like them when they’re well done. Professional, even. I do not like junk. I do not like things thrown up on the web for the sake of throwing something up on the web. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of that in this realm.

I do believe that when it comes to using podcasting and/or online video in the library that one MAY be able to think of a valuable time and place. I thought the podcasts from UVA (History of the Health Sciences Lecture Series) were interesting and I imagine enjoyed by many. I believe lecture series are a great thing to make available via a podcast. We host a number of special events in my library; book signings, poetry readings, artist talks. I can see any of these being recorded and made available via podcasting for those unable to attend. Similarly, I can see these events videotaped and made available on YouTube.

What I can’t see is library classes, library tutorials or the like being created with these tools. Why not? Harken back to my comment above… “I do not like junk”. I fear that’s exactly what these run the risk of becoming. Nothing more than clutter. I remain unconvinced that online help of any sort is much utilized and/or desired. Seriously, who ever reads the help manual? Does “help” disguised in some other medium somehow conquer this innate human behavior? I doubt it. We prefer fumbling through and I prefer a clearer path for my falling.

So I say jump on the podcasting or video posting bandwagon when its appropriate, but keep the clutter on one’s desk.

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