The Help! Gov Info Webinar series is going for the big time! #alaac15

Summer projects are a great thing. This summer a big focus of my time will be converting our webinar series to accessible, embeddable YouTube videos. The series is called “Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian” and is organized by the North Carolina Library Association’s Government Resources Section. The series has been ongoing since April 2011 and we have 48 webinars available on a variety of topics, from government data to genealogy to congressional history. The series was geared originally to librarians who were asked to take on government information duties without training, but anyone is welcome to attend and there are lots of topics of wider interest.

The webinars take place live in UNCG’s Blackboard Collaborate software, which has worked great, but the recordings are not very accessible. They require Java and are not easily embeddable in LibGuides, etc. This is a major problem for a lot of our clientele like public librarians and even the public to be honest. So, rather than hiding this excellent resource we decided to figure out a solution.

Enter out Help! YouTube channel. This is definitely a work in progress, so if you have suggestions, please get in touch. We have been asked to archive them through Internet Archive as well.  For each webinar I am downloading as MPEG-4 and then cleaning up the recording.  To do this I needed a solid video tutorial software. I have an older version of Camtasia at work that has a mind of its own (and doesn’t work). So rather than offering up my first born for a new version (I kinda like my cats), I decided to apply for an award that would pay for it. Luckily, I won the NewsBank/Readex/GODORT/ALA Catharine J. Reynolds Research Award from the ALA Government Documents Round Table. It will help pay for Camtasia on my personal computers, a copy that I can give to NCLA in case there are other sections that would like to use it, and some will be leftover for travel to promote the series at conferences.

I will be adding webinars throughout the summer. The cleaning process can take a while so I am asking people to give me suggestions for priority webinars. If you have a favorite from our list, let me know. My goal is for this to be a FREE and accessible resource for all information specialists/librarians/reference gurus out there. Because after all, government information should be free!