Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Social Video: Videoblogging & YouTube

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Social Video: Videoblogging & YouTube

Article excerpt

In the past year, viewing and creating video for the Web skyrocketed to the top of many Internet users' lists. The popularity of YouTube, Google Video, and other sharing sites, coupled with the ease of using video technology, has unleashed the hidden auteur in many people. Now, devices such as the Apple TV pull YouTube content into consumers' living rooms, "viral" videos such as "Kitten Playing Piano" move around the world at lightning speed, and practically anything one might want to view is available on thriving video-sharing sites.

Libraries are tapping into this phenomenon in a number of ways: videoblogging, creating a library presence at sites like YouTube, and offering library users the chance to contribute their own video content. It's all an example of that thread of participation we've seen with the other tools.


Just as podcasting is a form of audio blogging, adding a short video to a blog post for syndication via RSS is yet another way to add content to the Web. Because it's blog-based, videoblogging affords the same useful features: comments, trackbacks and an archive of previous posts.

For more about videoblogging, including examples and links to resources, visit David Lee King's blog (listed in the Resources box at the end of this chapter).


YouTube is a video-sharing community site. Like Flickr, users can "favorite" videos, subscribe to feeds of videos, comment, and make connections. The popularity of YouTube exploded in the last year or so--leading Time magazine to name it "Invention of the Year." (1) Lev Grossman noted that YouTube's popularity grew at the intersection of three revolutions: the revolution of falling prices and ease of video production, the rise of Web 2.0 sites as communities, and the cultural shift away from the mainstream media. Grossman commented: "Consumers are impatient with the mainstream media. The idea of a top-down culture, in which talking heads spoon-feed passive spectators ideas about what's happening in the world, is over. People want unfiltered video from Iraq, Lebanon and Darfur-not from journalists who visit there but from soldiers who fight there and people who live and die there." (2)

Recently we've seen viral videos such as OK Go's treadmill music video, viewed by 20 million users, and the recent Democratic presidential candidates debate featuring questions from Americans via YouTube. (3) This site--or community--is a perfect example of how the nature of promotion, reporting the news, and making personal connections has changed in the last year. How are libraries involved?

YouTube in libraries

In 2003, my team at the Saint Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana, made a video set to Madonna's "Ray of Light" (see figure 15). The video followed a fast-motion day in the life of the library. Roughly 200 people saw the video at our Staff Day. In 2006, I uploaded it to YouTube when Warner Brothers Music and YouTube entered into an agreement to allow users to mash up Warner artists on YouTube. Since then, it's been viewed over 30,000 times. Librarians and others have commented on the video, including someone who wanted to work at SJCPL! Videos such as this one become marketing tools for finding not only patrons, but also potential hires. Might new graduates looking for a tech-savvy, cutting-edge library search YouTube for possibilities? Could libraries create recruitment videos for marketing to new LIS grads? The possibilities of video sharing seem endless.

Other libraries have discovered the power of the video-sharing community as well. The librarians at Gail Borden Memorial Library in Elgin, Illinois, recently hosted "Storypalooza," which gathered user-created videos:

   At the library web site
   extras.html, we are using YouTube to help us
   tell stories about the library and reading. This
   January and February, with sponsorship from
   First Community Bank, we're asking everybody
   in our library community to pick up their cameras
   and join the visual storytelling fun. … 
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