Sunday, February 22, 2009


I couldn't resist the bad 80s humor for the title of this post about Thing 20 (YouTube) .

I started by doing a simple search for "technical library." This result cracked me up:

Of course, I teared up in the end. Give me a moment to gather myself...

And then I ran across some angry library patrons:

I'm not sure what I learned from this other than to be careful of disgruntled library patrons who have access to musical instruments and a video camera. In fact, it is probably wise never to anger music-video-star wannabes for any reason.

One of my all time favorite video discoveries is this Christmas Card by a guy named Jared Foster, which is pure art and joy. It is hosted on Vimeo. I don't know these people; I just really enjoyed their video at Christmastime.

So, what did I learn? Well, for most topics on which I searched I had to sort through a lot of awful hits to find something good, if, indeed, anything good existed. This lack of precision is the same irritation I have with all social media (e.g., when it comes to searching. Too much time invested for too little return. However, if you are looking for something very specific (e.g., a product demo of LED bulbs from LEDtronics; I have developed a colossal fear of my children being exposed to mercury should we break a compact fluorescent), this is a great place to look. I especially like the ease of finding historical video clips. (Remember how our teachers used to drag out those big reel-to-reel projectors to show videos in school? Now it's just point and click!) It's also great for browsing.

At my library, we frequently incorporate YouTube finds into dynamic news pages we create for our users. We see a lot of traffic to sites that we create to pull together relevant news and video feeds related to a high interest event, such as the Consumer Electronics Show. Another lesson, as with other social media, is the value of user input such as ratings, reviews, and additional content added via comments. This type of information can help users to evaluate the content against their needs and follow leads to information beyond the original content.

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