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Audio and Video – Up and Coming Technologies for Librarians

I spent most of Monday in the track on web design, but for the last session, I branched out to the digital library track to hear Connie Crosby speak on instant audio and video, and I was glad I did because I learned about an area that was previously unfamiliar to me. Crosby pointed out that audio and video help to build communities because hearing voices and seeing faces are very powerful. Audio creates intimacy, and video connects to humanity. And using audio and video tools is easy: all you need are headphones with a microphone and a computer. Many of the systems make it very easy to quickly post audio files to a web page or to a blog. Users can generally call into the audio with a computer or by phone.
Here are some of the tools currently in use: 
  • Talkshoe. Create, manage, and host your audio. Allows several people talking at once and recording for listening, downloading, or podcasting. FREE recording, storage, bandwidth. Very low cost to entry.   For a site using Talkshoe, see Uncontrolled Vocabulary, which is maintained by Greg Schwartz for librarians to talk about issues. 
  • Utterli (formerly Utterz) is somewhat like Twitter, with people talking back and forth. It can also be used for text, photos, and audio, and also allows cross-posting to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, or a blog, etc.  
  • Seesmic. Hosts video conversations. It has 30,000 users, 5,000 of them active, and 1,000 very active.  
  • 12seconds. Twitter for video. Hosts video clips of 12 seconds or less, so it forces you to be succinct! Can be watched via the web or on a mobile device. 
  • ooVoo—video conferencing for business. Offers higher-quality video than other sites. Video chat for up to 6 people. It is proprietary software, so it must be downloaded.
  • Tokbox. Allows connection to many people on the screen (the record so far is 21). It is web-based, not proprietary. Because of the crowded screen, there is lots of confusion, and it is hard to figure out who is talking. 
  • offers live streaming video and interactive broadcasting. Chat is also available. Video can be recorded for later viewing.
This is a relatively new area on the web, so we can expect to see advances in the coming years.
Connie has posted her slides and demonstration videos on her blog.
Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, and IL 2008 Blog Coordinator


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