Creating and Sustaining Library Video Tours Ariana Baker Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, United States
Chapter Themes: Marketing & Promotion; Technology; Tours.
INTRODUCTION The Kimbel Library and Bryan Information Commons at Coastal Carolina University, a public university in Conway, South Carolina, has a well-respected and well-utilized information literacy program. The Library’s instruction policy states that all information literacy sessions must align with course research assignments. However, library tours are sometimes requested by instructors who do not assign a library research project, but who still want their students to receive an introduction to the library. This is especially common in First-Year Experience (FYE) courses, whose purpose is to help students transition from high school to college. However, offering library tours would not only be in opposition to library policy but would also strain our limited stafﬁng resources. In the last 10 years, the University’s undergraduate population has grown from 7070 to 9747, but the number of instruction librarians has not kept pace. With so few librarians and so many students, it was deemed necessary to scale back. To adhere to our instruction policy while maintaining good relationships with faculty and promoting library resources and services to our new students, the decision was made to create a virtual tour. This tour would provide the same information that students would receive in a face-to-face environment but would not require librarians to be available to give tours nor would it disrupt students studying in quiet sections of the library. As Silver and Nickel (2007) observed, “Online tutorials seem like an obvious solution to meet the growing need for instruction to users in a time when resources are shrinking.” Kimbel Library is no exception. Copyright © 2018 Kylie Bailin, Benjamin Jahre and Planning Academic Library Orientations Sarah Morris. Published by Elsevier Limited. ISBN 978-0-08-102171-2 All rights reserved. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-102171-2.00024-6
Planning Academic Library Orientations
VIDEO DESIGN An online library tour was created in the Fall 2013 semester. The tour is a video walk-through of the library, with descriptions of the different resources and services available in each section. An on-camera librarian introduces each scene from the library lobby, and different library employees speak “on location” to explain the resources and services in each area. It was decided that video recordings, rather than slides, would best convey the same understanding that students get from face-to-face tours. Students are able to “meet” library staff and see other students using spaces and resources and engaging with librarians. Once the video concept and style were determined, the entire project was storyboarded. To do this, I referred to The Videomaker Guide to Video Production, 5th Edition (Videomaker, 2012), which includes a short chapter on storyboard development along with storyboard examples. This process was instrumental in determining the content and sequence of every scene, and making sure every resource and service could be adequately covered in the scenes. It also forced me, an amateur videographer, to think strategically about camera angles, lighting, and sound (including background noise), which I might not otherwise have done. When the storyboard was complete, I created scripts for the major resources available at each of the ﬁve primary service points. Library faculty and staff reviewed the scripts to ensure that nothing was missing and that all of the information presented in the video was accurate. I then recruited library employees from all departments and shifts to participate in the video. Student workers and staff volunteered to play the part of students, and a colleague offered extra credit in her information literacy class to those students who were willing to act in the video. Overall, 14 library faculty and staff and 8 students participated in the video. Following best practices for multimedia production, the video was divided into segments (Bowles-Terry, Hensley, & Hinchliffe, 2010; Spanjers, Wouters, van Gog, & van Merrienboer, 2011). There were ﬁve library locations we wanted to highlight, which provided natural breaking points that allowed the speaker at each library location to talk for about 1 minute. The video then slowed while the host introduced the next scene. According to Spanjers et al., “for students with lower levels of prior knowledge, segmentation successfully reduces the high cognitive load imposed by animations and leads to more efﬁcient learning” (2011). This is a practice I have used successfully in screencasting videos and believe it was
Creating and Sustaining Library Video Tours
even more important to incorporate in the video tour because the duration exceeds video length recommendations of 1 minute or less (Bowles-Terry et al., 2010; van der Meij & van der Meij, 2013).
VIDEO PRODUCTION The two main videotaping tools used in this project were a Sony video camera and a lavalier mic. The library’s air conditioner and white noise machine were turned off before taping to remove background noise. All speaking parts were recorded at least two times, so excerpts could be cut and pasted in case of mistakes or poor video or audio quality. Action shots included reference consultations, library instruction classes, book borrowing, self-checkout machines, students at study carrels, and much more. All action shots were recorded from multiple angles for longer than needed and then trimmed to ﬁt with the timing of the speaker. These action shots play throughout the video while library employees provide voiceover narration. Actors were told to avoid certain clothing designs. Large patterns can distract viewers, whereas small patterns, including thin stripes, checks, and small plaids, tend to quiver on camera (Jager, 2015). Coastal Carolina University logos were encouraged, but all external logos were prohibited to avoid potential controversy or inadvertent promotion of other universities. Actors were also given scripts in advance of the taping, although they were not required to memorize them. All scripts were written on rolling whiteboards and placed directly in front of the video camera, which ensured that all lines were read correctly without requiring participants to memorize them. As recommended by Mayer, Fennel, Farmer, and Campbell (2004), a conversational tone was used by speakers throughout the video. Mayer et al. found that this “personalization increases the learner’s interest, increased interest causes the learner to exert more effort to engage in cognitive processing during learning, and an increase in active cognitive processing during learning results in deeper learning, which is manifested in improved transfer performance” (2004). Our speakers provided both voice-overs and on-screen narration, so we wanted them to be as casual and conversational as possible, to replicate the atmosphere of a face-to-face tour. Although this project was well planned, it was the ﬁrst large-scale video (as opposed to screencast) production that I created, so there were many scenes, scripts, and instructions that needed to be revised or recreated.
Planning Academic Library Orientations
Once the taping was complete, I used Adobe Premiere Elements to edit the video. Other editing software that were considered included Final Cut Pro and Camtasia. Final Cut Pro is already available on library computers and offered many advanced editing features. However, it is only available on Macs and, as a PC user, I was more comfortable using software on an operating system I was familiar with. Camtasia is already used for screencasts, but it does not have the sophisticated editing options, such as green screen effects and transitioning, that I was looking for. Adobe Premiere Elements was relatively inexpensive (<$100) and proved easy to learn, allowing straightforward editing of video and audio. Select staff previewed the video to make ﬁnal suggestions before it was uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo. Once on those websites, the video was closed-captioned and linked from the Library’s website.
MARKETING The video tour was initially promoted to FYE classes in place of face-to-face instruction. However, as is often the case in libraries, our instruction program changed its mission and 1 year after the video was created, librarians began teaching face-to-face instruction sessions for many FYE classes. As a result, the video was not heavily marketed, although it did get disseminated to those faculty members who request tours in addition to classes. Beginning in the Fall 2017 semester, we will no longer teach library instruction sessions for FYE classes. The video tour worked well in the past, so it will be used again for FYE faculty who want information about library resources and services. Once ﬁnal edits have been made, the video will be marketed through email and newsletters. Although the video took considerable time and effort to create, we have been able to reuse it over the past three and half years and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. The video tour frees up librarians’ time; therefore, we can work on other job responsibilities, and it provides students with a thorough overview of the Library’s resources and services. Putting the information online has been a good alternative to face-to-face tours and inﬁnitely better than turning down tour requests completely.
VIDEO SUSTAINABILITY Although the video ﬁlls a need, it has not been without challenges. Speciﬁcally, the ever-evolving list of resources and services offered by Kimbel
Creating and Sustaining Library Video Tours
Library means that the video tour has gradually become outdated. Silver and Nickel observed that one of the biggest challenges they encountered when creating their own multimedia tutorials “was the need for constant updating” (2007). This is particularly true for screencasts, which must adapt to frequently changing websites, databases, and course management systems. However, we have learned that many of the same issues exist in video tutorials. Kimbel Library’s video tour is now more than 3 years old, and some of the content is inaccurate. It was important to us to include many library employees, but turnover has left us with only 4 of the original 14 employees featured in the video. More importantly, new resources have replaced or supplemented those discussed in the video. The video tour needs to be updated to reﬂect the growth and change in the library. Unfortunately, the current format does not lend itself to easy editing, so efforts are underway to identify ways to recreate the tour to make it more sustainable in future. There is not a lot of literature about reediting previously published videos. Because it is difﬁcult to do, many people create new videos as they become outdated, rather than edit old ones. However, creating new videos, with all of the preproduction and production factors that includes, is a time-consuming process. We are therefore attempting to make a video tour that can be more easily edited. As previously mentioned, we used the technique of segmenting to divide the video tour into ﬁve distinct sections. This helped us organize the content while also allowing students to use natural pauses in the video to process the information (Spanjers et al., 2011). However, the video is more than 5 minutes long and therefore does not align with the same best practices we use when creating screencasts. According to Bowles-Terry et al., video tutorials can be improved by dividing them “into 1-minute (or even 30-second) segments and listed on a table of contents for students to use” (2010). Because the video tour is already segmented, it makes sense to turn each segment into a separate video. These shorter videos should help students remain engaged in the content and will allow the library to edit each video individually, as needed. Although this individual video editing may not seem necessary, there are problems encountered in the editing of longer videos that we might be able to avoid by doing this. For example, it is difﬁcult to change one clip of video or audio without affecting other clips further down the timeline. With fewer clips, there will be fewer problems, and with more videos, we can eliminate any possibility of adversely affecting any video other than the one we are editing.
Planning Academic Library Orientations
Another change that may make future edits easier is to replace select video clips with short PowerPoint slides. It will be easier to create new PowerPoint slides and insert them in the proper place on the video timeline than it would be to retape part of a scene. While we plan to keep video as the primary component of the tour, slides are likely our best option to quickly and easily update obsolete sections. In conjunction with this, we will use audio to more broadly explain our services and resources. For example, rather than have a speaker explain the speciﬁc types of cameras that can be check out from the circulation desk, we can broadly state that Kimbel Library has “many” cameras, while listing them on a slide. The text on the slide can be updated by anyone with editing access to the video, and we will not have to rerecord audio for the entire segment. The tour can then revert back to video of students using the equipment. Finally, we will need to organize the video, audio, and slide ﬁles, so they can be located and updated with ease. Given the possibility of turnover, the ﬁles should be located in a publicly accessible location, so that other library employees have access to them if they need. Once completed, the videos can be added to a YouTube playlist with an easily viewable and clickable table of contents.
ASSESSMENT This video tour has not yet been formally assessed. After revisions are made, we will begin marketing the video to faculty. It is expected that the video will be more heavily used because of marketing and to the elimination of library instruction for FYE classes. As a result, we will need to begin assessing awareness and usefulness of the video tour. Likert scale questions will likely be directed primarily to ﬁrst-year instruction sessions. Some examples of outcomes we plan to evaluate include the following: 1. Increase in awareness of services among students. 2. Continued use by FYE instructors. 3. Use of the video tour by non-FYE instructors. A general comments section will also be included in the assessment survey. The beneﬁt of making a more sustainable video tour is that it can easily be updated to address concerns that faculty may have so instead of waiting 4 years to make changes, we expect be able to update the video at the end of each semester.
Creating and Sustaining Library Video Tours
CONCLUSION The importance of introducing students to the library should not be ignored, and librarians may need to look at alternatives to traditional, faceto-face orientations if stafﬁng and time do not permit them. Videos, although time-consuming to create, can play a signiﬁcant role in the delivery of effective and efﬁcient library orientations, allowing students to watch anywhere at any time and freeing librarians to work on other job responsibilities. This approach has worked well at Kimbel Library and hopefully, with some tweaking, will continue to play a role in orienting our students to the library.
REFERENCES Bowles-Terry, M., Hensley, M. K., & Hinchliffe, L. J. (2010). Best practices for online video tutorials in academic libraries: A study of student preferences and understanding. Communications in Information Literacy, 4(1), 17e28. Jager, J. (April 24, 2015). What to wear when you’re in front of the camera. Entrepreneur. Mayer, R. E., Fennel, S., Farmer, L., & Campbell, J. (2004). A personalization effect in multimedia learning: Students learn better when words are in conversations style rather than formal style. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(2), 389e395. Silver, S. L., & Nickel, L. T. (2007). Are online tutorials effective? A comparison of online and classroom library instruction methods. Research Strategies, 20(4), 389e396. Spanjers, I. A. E., Wouters, P., van Gog, T., & van Merrienboer, J. J. G. (2011). An expertise reversal effect of segmentation in learning from animated worked-out examples. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(1), 46e52. van der Meij, H., & van der Meij, J. (2013). Eight guidelines for the design of instructional videos for software training. Technical Communication, 60(3), 205e228. Videomaker. (2012). The videomaker guide to video production (5th ed.). Burlington, Mass: Focal Press.