Thursday, August 02, 2007

My first Slideshare/Slidecast

We are trying to promote all of our new databases at my library. (Let me add that I am aware that we should have a better name for databases, right now, that is the handle we are using. Patrons can figure it out for now. )We have over 50, plus, several fantastic ones from our state library. These include, Rosetta Stone, Ebsco Master File Premier, and many others. Our main problem with databases is one of promotion. We do get heavy use, about 5,000 hits per month, but it could be better. Some companies do not even provide the stats, which makes it difficult to determine usefulness.

Ironically, the ones that cost the most, get the least usage. We use a pricing guideline to determine the usefulness of our databases. There isn't a typical cost per click that we use, but if we have a database in which that cost is significantly higher, we need to promote it, or junk it.

Last year we had about 54,000 hits on our databases and spent about $13,000 on them. This ended up being about 25 cents per hit, not bad. However, if we took out the two highest cost per click ratio, the actual ratio was closer to 5 cents per click. So we got rid of those two, but others we felt were useful were still getting dismal numbers. They were in range, but dismal. So we came up with an idea to have a screencast tutorial on how to use the databases.

At first we looked at a full screencast hosting site, fee based. In general, the problems were, it cost too much, and that the screencast took too long to load on our computers. This is especially true since we are trying to expand our internet bandwidth AND most of our community's internet users have dial-up. So we came upon SlideShare. This was a product I had read about through the Librarian in Black Blog back in October. I had it kicking around in my head since it was an easy interface and required little bandwidth. We decided to use it for our tutorials. The first one we tried was Rosetta Stone. What could be better than the ability to learn a new language online FOR FREE! Here is the basics on how we did that:


  1. Go to slideshare and set up an account.

  2. Create a slideshow using Powerpoint

    1. Using screen shots and copy and pasting them into powerpoint is a quick and easy way to do this.

  3. Upload the powerpoint program to slideshare

For the slideshare, that is all. On the sidebar, it has an embed code. Once embedded on a website, a patron just goes to the site, clicks on the arrows for the next slide and that's it. Just as I finished the slideshare, they developed slidecast. Now you can include a podcast that will synchronize with the slides. Here are those steps:
  1. Narrate the slideshow using the phone recorder, or use a headset with microphone with the Microsoft sound recorder program

    1. This program will allow you to record your voice AND to stop and start pieces as you like.

  2. Upload the audio, (use odeo account for this, see how to set up a podcast)

    1. The audio must be hosted by a podcasting site, slideshare doesn't host the audio.
  3. Copy and paste the link url into slideshare by clicking on slidecast and copying the link.

  4. Sync the audio and slide by going to the sync program.

    1. Play your recording and click the slide when you want the slide to run. Save when done.
  5. Save the program and copy the embed code.

  6. Paste the embed code onto the Database of the Week page through Bookletters.

So far, we have had 64 hits in about a week and a half. I am still tweaking it, but I thought I would share it. So far we have had 50 individual users going through 500 different courses. I will see if this will increase the numbers, but the tutorial is getting quite a bit of usage, a good sign.

There is a transcript underneath

Slide 1: Click on Library Databases

Slide 2: Click on Language

Slide 3: Click on Rosetta Stone

Slide 4: If accessing from inside the library, this is the first page you will see. From home, you need to enter you library card # and pin. Your pin is usually First Time, the last four register first. digits of your Returning phone number. visitors, just log in on the side

Slide 5: Create your own username and password, near the bottom, enter your library card #.

Slide 6: Once registered, you can begin your coursework. The first time you launch your course, a free program called Shockwave will load onto your computer.

Slide 7: Shockwave will load. Allow the program to install on your computer. This will take some time depending on your Internet speed.

Slide 8: Welcome Screen, still loading

Slide 9: Once loaded, you can choose what level you would like to begin.

Slide 10: The most basic level wil provide simple identification. When it provides the word in Spanish, you must match it with the picture. After you answer the first 50 questions, you can determine if you are able to continue, or if you need more practice.

Slide 11: Once you have finished the first lesson, you can determine what you would like to work on next. You have four options: LISTENING AND READING LISTENING READING SPEAKING WRITING

Slide 12: If you get stuck, you can go back to the menu screen by clicking on the parachute man on the lower right hand corner of the screen. If you need help, click on the question mark. Live tech support is available Live Tech Support M-F 9AM - 6PM EST 1-800-788-0822 If you have further issues, call the library at 421-8710.

We have the link to the database of the week from the home page, and then the slideshare is embedded in the Library Database of the Week home page with the above text underneath. We are also running the text in the local newspaper to help promote our databases. Hope it works, at least we are marketing them. Whatever they are called, marketing is the problem with databases, not so much the name.

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Sam Wallin said...

I'm going to try this one out - I've been fiddling around with screencasting tools for months, and mostly getting frustrated. For me it's the money issue (can't buy anything very expensive), so i've been working with freeware mostly.

I think if i give up on the moving mouse (the appeal of screencasting, where you can make a 'movie') then i'll be able to do plenty with slides.

Regarding the promotion of databases - something we're trying at my library is a class we offer twice per month called "Find Info: (Topic)" Every two weeks there's a new topic, like "Health" or "Business," where we show people how to find information on that topic using the catalog, databases, and the internet. Some topics are database intensive, others are internet intensive, but by focusing on the outcome (finding info), and not the tools (databases, etc.) we hope to be sneaky about promoting our databases and at the same time get people the skills they need.

jdscott50 said...

Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, the only technology classes anyone comes to are the basic ones. I did have a genealogy class that incorporated databases, worked beautifully.

Hope you find it helpful, thanks for the comment.

Royce said...

diggin the content.
from your twitters you sound like a busy man.

jdscott50 said...

Thanks for the comment. Hope you find what you see here useful.