Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, has a You Tube account with a selection of many information literacy videos. “Using Libros to Find Books” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I85Fn3KHoqI&list=UUIfTkQQqpZfWRGoabmwgulw&index=5&feature=plcp) explains how to use the library catalog. The video (3:16) has been viewed 123 times in a little over a year. A brief synopsis describes the content of the video so that the user can determine whether the video will be useful to view. The video starts with a slide that advises the viewer to maximize the browser window for the best viewing and that the video has audio. It is particularly useful to inform the viewer in advance that there is audio because the viewer might be in a situation where it isn’t be a good idea to play sound. The viewer can then mute the sound or use earphones. The video is captioned, and the hearing impaired (or a person who for some reason cannot play the sound) can still benefit from the video. It would be a good idea to include this information on the introductory slide because a viewer might not automatically assume that captions are provided. The video is narrated by the Distance Services Librarian who has a pleasant voice to listen to.
The content of the video includes an explanation of what types of materials are found in the catalog and how to access the catalog. There is a brief tip about using the most important keywords of the topic as search terms, and a search is demonstrated using a hypothetical topic. The librarian explains that there are alternate ways to sort the search results (by date or title), but she doesn’t mention the default sorting criteria (relevance). A very good explanation of the item record is provided which includes mention of publication information (for citation purposes), location / call number / and status (for actually locating an item), and the contents and subject headings (for determining whether the item will meet the patron’s needs). The librarian also explains that clicking on a subject heading will provide a list of similar items. At the end of the video, contact information is provided for further questions. Unfortunately, the audio is cut off mid-sentence at the end.
In general, the video is well done, but it is unfortunately out of date. Since the creation of the video, the appearance of the catalog has completely changed. The video shows the old appearance, and this could disorient novice searchers who expect one thing but encounter another when using the catalog. Unfortunately, in order to change this, the entire video must be redone. While it might be a nuisance to redo the video, other small changes could be made at the same time, such as mentioning at the very beginning that the video is captioned, explaining more completely the sorting options, and preventing the unfortunate cut-off at the end of the video.