CALI 2016 – Libraries as Publishers of Affordable E-Books

At CALIcon 2016, my colleagues Diana Donahoe, Matt Zimmerman, and I presented on how the library published Diana’s TeachingLaw: Legal Research and Writing textbook.

March conference presentation – Transliteracy in Legal Education

CALI 2015 – Camtasia Boot Camp Workshop Virtual Handout

I will be doing a half-day workshop at CALI ’15 in Denver – if you haven’t signed up, there is still time – the details about the workshop are hereWe will be in room 170. There is also a Slack channel for the room – I will be trying to monitor Slack questions, but it is also likely that I will be running around a lot -for those trying to ask questions via the internet, I beg your patience.

Some of the materials for this hands-on intensive were created in advance.  You can download those here:

If you do not own a Camtasia 8 (for PC) or Camtasia Mac license and have not downloaded and installed Camtasia’s 30-day free trial on the laptop you will be using during the workshop, please do so prior to coming to the workshop.

My Getting Started handout (which is in the materials folder) is also available here. This is merely a quick-start introduction to Camtasia Recorder and Studio and their interfaces, and not a replacement for Techsmith’s excellent and detailed user guides and tutorials.  Feel free to use this during the workshop as a note-taking file as well.


LegalED – Igniting Law Teaching Conference

I spoke on transliteracy at LegalED’s “Igniting Law Teaching” conference last week.  Since it is a TEDx conference, it is high-energy, exciting, and exhausting.

My slides (with speaker notes) can be found here.

And since I didn’t post it at the time, here is the video from last year, “Going Hollywood on Your Desktop”

Virtual handout to my CALI presentation, “Going Hollywood on Your Desktop”

As soon as I have it, I will post the link to the recording of my presentation at CALI 2014, “Going Hollywood on Your Desktop: How to Create Great Screen-Capture Video.” I am happy to answer questions in comments below.  Until then, here are some notes and links:


In the presentation, I outlined my process to create screen-capture video and some of my reasoning (my program of choice is Camtasia, and the way I work is based on my experience with it.  If you haven’t tried Camtasia, they offer a 30-day free trial that allows you to use the program in its entirety – no watermarking, no nonsense):

  1. Script
    I create a three-column script that includes what I will say, an idea of what will be shown on the screen, and how I intend to enhance or alter the visuals in post production (e.g. zooms, highlights, etc.)
  2. Create any visual assets needed for the production
    Usually just using PowerPoint (possibly with an assist from Photoshop).  These include title cards and any animations I will be using to illustrate concepts.
  3. Record all video – animation assets and live video
    I try to record in order because it makes my life easier when I am editing (I am able to name each clip in sequence, which keeps things easy to keep track of – if I decide to insert something after clip 2, the new clip becomes 2a).  I generally read the script out loud as I record, just to get general timing and also because it’s really easy to record too quickly and not leave enough time for the voice over to run.
  4. Rough edit
    Here is where I trim out the really excessive bits and frequently add callouts, which I can reposition later if the timing is poor.  Having the callouts in before I read the voice-over again helps with timing – I know I can breathe a little bit with a callout because they take time to fade in and out and they should be present long enough for the viewer to register their existence and meaning.
  5. Voice-over
    This is where I close my door, take deep breaths, and try to remember everything I ever learned in a misspent youth in the theatre.  Enunciation, taking time, reading for meaning.
  6. Fine edit
    Trim excess pauses, refine the timing of callouts and highlights, generally tighten the whole thing up.
  7. Add closed-captioning
    With the voice-over complete, I let the auto-caption process roll, then tighten it up using the original script to copy and paste when the text recognition software starts turning “citators” into “sigh taters.” Don’t bother doing this at the production level when you are using YouTube – they have their own closed captions which aren’t compatible with Camtasia.
  8. Add transitions
    Don’t add these until you are fairly sure you are finished editing – any trimming of video content at the ends of clips will break the associated transitions and you’ll have to re-add them.
  9. Produce & upload
    Select your file format and any additional production settings, and let your project render.  Upload final result.
  10. Profit!!!
    (with apologies to South Park)

Aspect ratios:

Educational video in action:


Great white shark with message:

Also appearing at…

My colleague Russell McClain and I have started a new blog to talk about academic technology in law libraries – it’s called Socratic Robot.  If you are interested in law school academic technology, please take a look!

CALI Presentation – “What We (and Better Yet, Our Students) Learned from Using All the Toys in the Toybox

From the Computer Aided Legal Instruction Conference, June 2013 (actual content starts at around the 16-minute mark):

“People Want to Help”

I ran into an old friend/colleague recently.  He’s still in the business I left behind and he has had a bit of a rocky road since we worked at the same organization, and he had that almost desperate honesty that people get when they’re at their wits’ end.  In a stairwell in a parking garage, he told me he was miserable in his current position and was really looking for something new.

I have been there.  I have felt that choking anxiety that comes with working in a situation that feels like a cage, with a boss who feels like an abusive jailor.  So I said, “I know someone you can talk to – would you like me to set up a dinner or drinks with her? I’ll go to introduce you and be there so it isn’t as awkward.  I don’t know if she has anything, but she’s at least one more person in your industry who can keep an eye open.”

So, about 24 hours later my husband and I were having a couple of beers with one of my best friends and my old colleague.  And because my friend is empathy personified, she told my old colleague, “Nobody should be miserable.  We’ll sort you out.”  She named several organizations she knew who were looking for people with his skills and experience. After we left, my old colleague thanked me for setting up the meeting as if it was a hassle or trial for me.

But here’s the thing.  I love doing this.  I love putting people together who can help one another.  It’s pure joy to me.  I’ve introduced people on Facebook, via e-mail, and in person.  People who can help one another in all sorts of ways and who are mutually thrilled with the new connection.  And I told my old colleague, “Remember this: people mostly want to help. It feels really good to help other people.  Just let them.”

AALL Spectrum, I am in you

It’s another spin on my earlier Law Library Lights article on using library techniques to manage technology requests.  Not a lot of new content, but definitely a better effort all around.

Belated self-promotion

I have a not-so-new article published in Law Library Lights: Librarian 2011: Using Basic Library Science Techniques to Manage Technology Requests.

Thanks to my colleague Pamela Bluh, I also have my own corner of our institutional repository.  Hopefully in the near future I will have the inspiration and time to write more blog posts and traditionally published material.