Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vine and Web-based Library Instruction

Imagine webpages that contain brief recursive videos, each one serving a different purpose for library instruction. Interested?

The versatility of Vines is perhaps its most important feature. Vines, by virtue of being six seconds long and looped, may be a middle ground between more effective image capture (Mestre, 2012) and more popular video-based instruction that too often taxes short-term memory (Oud, 2009). A series of Vines allows more advanced users to skip over the redundant, and enable non-linear instruction as each Vine can be a piece of a whole.

Quick, simple, elegant, Vine offers something more than a snapshot, but less than a three-minute tutorial in which one's eyes glaze over, or constantly pause and rewind to keep up. However, what Vine doesn't have is a a way to capture a website, instead relying on using a mobile device's camera pointed at a screen. Observe:

Crude. Not entirely effective, but perhaps it shows promise, keeping in mind I held a smart phone in one hand with a laptop on my lap. Consider this a plea to Vine: please allow for six second, web-based screen captures. Please. Also, making Vines easier to embed would be nice, as the current way has you go through Twitter.
Over on Matt Anderson's blog there's a post about using Vine to promote library services and build a brand. Are you using Vine in your library, and if so, how? Let me know.

UPDATE, 2/25/13: Shelf Check also has a Vine post on tutorials.

Mestre, L. S. (2012). Student preference for tutorial design: A usability study. Reference Services Review, 40(2), 258-276. doi:

Oud, J. (2009). Guidelines for effective online instruction using multimedia screencasts. Reference Services Review, 37(2), 164-177. doi:


  1. Hm. Could you compare Vine and Jing for me?

    1. Jing, which we've used before, will let you capture both images and motion on a screen for up to five minutes. Anything above that and you'll have to pay for the "big sister" software program, Camtasia, which has additional functionalities. Camtasia is worth it if you plan to post something like a lecture online. It's an excellent program.
      Each Vine takes six seconds of video and then plays it on a loop, and does not yet allow for screen captures, though I wish they would and I've asked them about it.

  2. So I don't know if I'm just being grumpy, but I just don't think Vine is the right tool for many jobs - just yet anyway. It's entirely possible to make pithy short videos using better tools. The fact that we librarians tend to blather on and on isn't a problem with the tools. :) I can see a case to be made for being on Vine for the sake of being on Vine - the same way we wanted to be on Instagram and Pinterest and everything else. There is a real - if not easily measurable - value in demonstrating to our users that we are in touch, we understand these technologies and what they are for. But if I had to lay out the requirements for a tool to help create library instruction or promotional content, Vine would not currently meet many of them. (Embedding, screenshot annotation, etc)

  3. Whoops missed the editing window... I do think Vine would be pretty cool in a library's twitter feed to take snippet videos at events. Like the "living photos" that Flickr described their short videos to represent when they first started supporting video. Anyway, stepping off the grumpy box now. :)

    1. I think that's all well said. We don't do much in terms of social media over here, which I suppose gives us the luxury of waiting to see if Vine really does become a "thing" that's widely used and accepted. The "we are in touch" argument is one I've made with regards to QR codes, and Matt Anderson, linked above, makes that point with Vine.