Friday, 24 July 2009

Video versus Text in the Library

Yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague about kids using YouTube rather than Google as their search engine of choice. I've heard a few people say this over the last 6 months, and while it kind of makes sense, I wondered if anyone has any hard facts on the matter. If "video killed the radio star", could YouTube supplant Google? Is this why Google spent so much money to buy YouTube?

Using both Google and YouTube as search engines I went looking for answers and this is what came up.

Using Google as a search engine I found that there is a post from November 2008 on ReadWriteWeb titled "Is YouTube the Next Google?". This post considers the fact that YouTube is now the second most used search engine. However, according to to YouTube still trails behind Google and Yahoo.

Using YouTube as a search engine did not bring forward much that was relevant (or useful) about YouTube over Google as a search engine. The YouTube search results did however bring back results relating to YouTube versus Viacom and MSN which was interesting in itself.

So what does this mean for libraries? Well..

* There is obviously still much more text based information but you can no longer ignore video as online content, or video as a vehicle to promote the library services. Therefore if you are not already doing it...
* Consider populating your library portals with appropriate video as well as the usual textural content. Moving forward libraries will no doubt be offering a lot more online video and audio content so get with the flow and be an early adopter.
* The instructional, skilling, how-do-I modules on your library portals may be more useful if presented as short videos rather than text based instructions. (Honestly, did you really read the instructions last time you purchased white goods, so why should library patrons be any different). The University of Arizona is doing some great work in this area with their library minute series of instructional and promotional videos. These short and engaging videos are all under one minute, with each video focusing on just one topic.
* Promote your library using you Tube. Personally, I like the fabulous promotional library video "Discover a New World at Columbus Public Library" in the USA. See following for details.

If you can't afford to pay for a high quality promotional video, consider running a short video competition among your patrons and staff. The University of Technology, Sydney did this with very good results. Check out their "LIB:Flicks 2009 Video Competition". The winning video by James Shepherd (it is not clear if James is a patron or a library staffer) is both amusing and engaging.

1 comment:

Mal Booth said...

All of the UTS videos were made by students, including the very suave Mr Hank. He certainly beats a lot of contemporary TV reporters and sports commentators hands down. For starters, he can both read and talk.