Missives from the Bat Tower

Doing 23 Things all in the name of Web 2.0

Archive for the category “Archive work”

Thing 17: Screencast-o-Matic

With a name that sounds like something from a Wallace and Gromit story and a promise to help users actually use the archives catalogue, I was keen to have a go with Screencast-o-Matic. Our archive catalogue does actually work quite well but it isn’t very intuitive, especially for first time archive users. A screencast seems like the perfect solution to show people how to use some of its features – mainly how to browse collections from your search results.

I found the whole process of recording a video with Screencast-o-Matic very easy. The controls are simple and there are a few things you can customise (like whether to highlight the mouse in the video). I even found the caption writing a breeze which I thought might be a bit more tricky. You have to write a text file with the captions and the timings you want for them and then they appear at the bottom of the screen. It took a little bit of fiddling to get the timings right but after I’d sorted that out I was pretty pleased with the outcome.

But… when you finish your video you have a couple of options, you can either upload it to YouTube or Screencast-o-Matic or download it as a video file. I wanted to put it on the RHUL Library YouTube channel but I didn’t have the log in to hand so I thought I’d save it to Screencast-o-Matic in the mean time. All was well, I could share the link – great. However, when I came back to try and upload it to YouTube it wasn’t anywhere near as easy as I had hoped. There was no longer the option to do it straight from Screencast-o-Matic but I could still download the video as a file. So I saved it and then uploaded it to the RHUL Library YouTube channel which was all quite easy. When I played it back my lovely captions weren’t there! Disaster! I didn’t record a voiceover because a) I don’t like the sound of my recorded voice and b) a voice over isn’t very helpful if the user is in the library so the captions are quite vital.

I haven’t yet worked out how to rectify this so to see the video please follow this link (I can’t embed it because WordPress is mean and strips out the code and I’m not tech savvy enough to work out how to embed it another way). I suspect I may have to record it again to upload it with captions to YouTube but if anyone has any tips please leave me a comment below!

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Look I’m in another blog!

Well I’ve got off to a flying start with the blogging process – I’m already featured in someone else’s blog. Ok, so I didn’t really do this today but by coincidence a write up of the Open University seminar I spoke at recently has been posted today: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/boh/?p=292 Scroll down to see a write up of my talk and some dodgy photos of me attempting to look intellectual.

The seminar was one of a series exploring Religion in London, this one focussing on the Muslim community. It was a fascinating day including a very delicious curry lunch and a chance to look round Croydon Mosque as well as the more intellectual side of things with talks from academics and representatives from community organisations talking about the history of Muslims in Britain and what organisations are getting up to in terms of engaging the community (both Muslims and non-Muslims) with the past. I was particularly struck by the Asian Youth Alliance who are doing some great work – find out more about them here: http://www.asianyouthalliance.co.uk/

 

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