Friday, January 22, 2010

Jing! An Awesome Way to Promote Information Literacy

Jing offers free downloadable software that enables you to create audio tutorials, simple screen shots, and then share them freely with others. It seems that reference librarians could easily create an audio tutorial while serving a patron on the phone or via chat reference. By creating a free account with, you can have 2 GB of storage space for your screen shots and screen casts.

Look at the table showing the difference between the free Jing and the Jing Pro version.

Creators of this software have made it relatively easy to share your screen casts with email messages, web code to embed it into a web site or blog, and a stable URL however you wish to share it. Naturally, Jing created a video introducing their product, which I do recommend.

For library instruction, this could really be beneficial. Quick audio tutorials can be created and shared in the ways just mentioned, leaving more time to focus on information-literacy standards. The URLs can be distributed on handouts, to instructors, on Libguides, etc. (Recently, I took the time to learn about Google Sites, which is how I may begin creating my own Libguides, since my institution cannot afford the real Libguides.) With a good pair of headphones that include a microphone, an audio tutorial can be creating lickety-split.

Some might consider the limitation of 5 minutes to be detrimental, but it seems that many students do not appreciate lengthy demonstrations. Most are of the following mindset: "Get in, get done, get out." Of course, if any humor can be inserted, all the better.

Take a look at a couple of my spontaneous audio tutorials:
  • Course E-Reserves: Finding Your Professor's Electronic Documents (2 minutes 34 seconds)

  • Reference Books: Limit Results by Location in the Library Catalog (2 minutes 30 seconds)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info and the example!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your audio tutorials! I read an article about video snippets and virtual reference, and it was nice to find an example! Thanks again!

Spencer said...

Trish, you are definitely welcome. Can you please share the citation for the article you read? It sounds like it might be interesting.

Spencer said...

This from a librarian in Portland, Oregon. Yes, I should be a bit more careful and watch out for typos:
Hi Spencer,

Thanks for sharing your blog tips and tutorials. I enjoyed them. Our library webpages don’t offer much in the way of tutorials yet, although I use them in instruction sessions regularly.

The reason I’m writing though is that your reference works tutorial taught me about limiting by location. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve worked with our Voyager system for 10+ years and never saw this! I just thought we could limit by libraries in our consortium but not permanent locations within the collection, i.e. Reference works, etc. I teach a Western Civ. Session each semester, wherein the professor wants his students to use tools in our traditional reference collection, so I have been showing students how to do keyword searches with the topic and type of reference work (e.g. bioethics encyclopedia) and limiting to our library, but this doesn’t always result in a precise search whereas your method does. I look forward to showing it to our students!

With respect, I noticed one tiny typo on your blog, under “Musings” on this page: At one point, it reads “pee-reviewed” instead of “peer-reviewed.” J It’s not a big deal at all. I just happened across it.

Thanks again for sharing your work with the rest of us. It’s great how librarians can learn from each other!