User Education at the Bodleian Law Library
PODLETS – I was asked by my library to develop a series of short podcasts focused on specific services. The
idea for flash video guides grew from this initial brief. Bodleian Law Library is keen to develop multimedia content
and find ways to reach out to its readers online.
• IDEAS: From an exhaustive list of potential guides most were not suitable to be turned in to a guide for
various reasons including imminent change, accessibility or not being enough of an issue to warrant a
• SOFTWARE: Initially I experimented with creating the guides using PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker
as this was the only available software. However the library had a license for Adobe Captivate which
produces a more professional looking end product however takes time to learn to use.
• PROBLEMS: The main problems encountered were technical difficulties, time constraints and uncertainty
over changes to several key library services.
o The Bodleian Libraries are in the midst of a significant period of change, with recent changes
including the rename and rollout of the new reader computing image. Future changes include the
roll out of PCAS. These all have an impact on the information I can provide in the library guides.
o Adobe Captivate has the disadvantage of not allowing flexibility to make changes once the project
has been published.
o Also once the graduate trainee has left the library is it possible for someone else to continue the
work and make necessary updates as information changes and the guides become outdated.
POSTGRADUATE INDUCTION - Collaborative project to revamp the existing postgraduate induction material
for the 2010 intake. My responsibility was for coming up with a new creative vision for the existing slideshow; I was
challenged with finding visual content such as photographs and images that were interesting and engaging whilst
still delivering clear and informative overview of the library.
• PROBLEMS: One of the main problems encountered with this project was time, as this was a
collaborative project negotiating time and balancing with other routine work becomes more important.
In particular the recording of the audio for the induction is yet to happen as organising a time for several
members of staff to work away from their desks is difficult during term time.
OUTCOME – Of course the guides and induction content are the tangible outcomes of this product however it is
important to consider what can be learnt from the undertaking of this work.
• EVIDENCE: How can the value of this product be assessed? How can we monitor whether the podlets
are actually be used by our readers? It is important to consider the value offered by the project
especially when deciding whether it is worth continuing with and expanding on the project in the future.
• INPUT/OUTPUT RATIO: Creating multimedia library guides is a time consuming activity which in an
ever changing library service the product may not remain relevant for a significant amount of time.
Does this mean the effort required to produce them is not reflected in the value gained by the library?
Whilst they look fantastic and are in no doubt useful the long term value of guides such as the podlets
is low especially if longevity is limited. A different choice of software may increase the longevity of the
product however this may result in diminished visual quality.
• VALUE: In comparison the postgraduate induction appears to have more obvious and immediate value
to the library and its users. There is a clear target audience and a specific time frame for use which
means that ensuring the information is up to date is less of an issue. This project has a clear end point
unlike the podlets which means that staff changes and changes to the library service have a less
The Prezi can be viewed and explored in more detail online:
Law Library Graduate Trainee