Monday, 27 August 2012

Thing 18: Jing / screen capture / podcasts (making and following them)

Well done all for making it thus far! We now explore some enhanced ways of visualising data with the help of screen capture tools. We will also take a look at podcasting.

1. Jing

Screen capture tools allow you to make a narrated video showing how to do something on a computer. They record your mouse, and everything you click on and show on your screen. Ever had a conversation over the phone with your parents, trying to explain to them how to open the attachment you sent in your last email? (“Double-click on the attachment icon!” – “There isn’t one!”...): this trick could help you solve this kind of situations and, more importantly, some work-related issues like having to explain over and over again to your users how your library systems work.

You can download a free version of Jing at You will get a “Sun Launcher” button on your screen (top centre for Windows, upper right corner for Mac).

Hover over the “sun” and choose Capture. Click and drag to select a portion of your screen., and then release the mouse when you are happy with the image you have selected.

From here, you can do two things: 1) take a screen capture or 2) make a video.

The clever feature in Jing is that you can annotate your capture, by inserting a text box, highlighting part of the image, or adding an arrow. Once you are done, click on the Save button.

If you choose to record a video, Jing will provide you with an icon to check that you are not on mute and then will give you 3 seconds (!) before the recording starts, so make sure you’ve got a microphone and are ready to go. There is a 5-minute time limit – remember to keep your script short, clear and concise. Click Stop when your are done, and Save.

If you are following the cpd23 programme from your work computer only, it is likely that you won’t be allowed to download Jing. In this case, a very good alternative is Screencast-o-matic. Its use and features are marvellously explained in this post, written by The Book Gryphon for the Cam23 2.0 programme.

There is a variety of tools available for screen casting; if you want to explore the topic further, you can also take a look at Camtasia and Lightshot to name just a few.

2. Podcasting

A podcast is an audio file broadcasted via the Internet. What differentiates it from web streaming is the fact that podcasts are usually part of a series, centrally maintained and regularly updated, which also allows for offline use after downloading. You can subscribe to a series so that it automatically downloads on to your computer and MP3 player. To do this, you need to have podcatching software, such as, for example, iTunes.

Podcasts are a good tool to use if you are planning to deliver a series of talks, training updates, or anything that will require delivering your content over time.

An example of podcasting for librarians is the arcadia@cambridge seminars series. Careers services are using podcasting too: see for example the amazing series produced by the Careers Group-University of London, which is open-access and free for anyone to download – a great source of professional development-related information.

How to make podcasts: the best way to get started is to take a look at Podwhating?, a full course on podcasting provided by Edinburgh Napier University. It took place last year and worked more or less like 23 Things, with blog entries for each task; all the content is still there, and the site features also a wonderful page of course materials that you can access for free. I particularly recommend the guides dedicated to installing and using Audacity, the main free software for making podcasts.

What next?

Thing 18 requires a lot of work, especially if you haven’t used these tools before. If you have, let us know what you made of them and how they enhanced your work. If you haven’t, explore them and let us know how you think you could use them. Real examples in the form of screen captures and podcasts are welcome, of course!

NB: Post written by Maria Giovanna De Simone

1 comment:

  1. Intrigued by Jing, especially as I'd like to make a PowerPoint introduction to show new students various parts of the screens they encounter when they use the OPAC. I can capture and save the screen image, but haven't been able to do this with the cursor arrow pointing at the relevant bit they need to click. Wonder how I achieve this?


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