– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Thing 15

Thing 15 for 23 Things for Research is Podcasts & Videos. I’d been putting it off because I did have an idea I wanted to try , and I knew it would take some time to filter through the suggested platforms and try things out. Unfortunately, it took less time than I expected.

Enquirers are generally pleased to have digital images of items from the collections, and they are generally satisfied with their quality, but they often have difficulty finding their way through Flickr’s rather too many layers of display to the biggest Original size at highest resolution, which is of course what you want if you are trying to read a medieval title deed etc.

So I thought a screencast would be a good way of demonstrating the less than obvious path to those who are having difficulty discovering it for the first time – once you have it, it’s tedious but clear. I wanted a silent film, as more appropriate for viewing (and creating) in a library setting. And I wanted the option of adding highlighting and text. In fact, I had already seen what I wanted using Videopress, but it’s a paid service. I may have to go for that, but I won’t be making a lot of such things and I wanted to at least be able to test out a first attempt for free. But I also have the restriction that I cannot download any software  whatever to my computer at work, and many people can’t. The free versions of Screencast-o-matic and Jing both require downloads. Non-starters for me, unless I lug my own laptop to work 😦

I knew I could do what I wanted, at least for this presentation not using video, with PowerPoint. But it does take ages and I wanted the challenge of trying something new. Hey ho. Instead, I made a little guide using a few still images plus some highlighty circles (generated in PowerPoint) and posted them as a set on Flickr. I have a feeling that looking at screen shots of Flickr on Flickr may well prove confusing for some… here it is. For a fancier version, I think I’d stick with Powerpoint for now. I’ll have to revisit the possibilities again later, because the conservators and I would like to do a series on correct handling of different formats of documents, bound, flat and otherwise.

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