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 here. We 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!

Greetings, Law Librarian Blog visitors

I had the good fortune to meet Joe Hodnicki last week at the blogger meetup at AALL in Denver.  I had the bad fortune to not get a chance to talk to him at all – rather I just summoned up some hubris, slid him my card and pointed at the door signifying that I had to race off to yet another event.  Such is the way of conferences.

So, what did this noob think of AALL?  Let me preface by noting that I am, as the British would say, a “mature student.”  I’ve not been to this rodeo before, but I’ve been to analogous events in my prior career as a corporate communications professional.  I am also not by nature a “joiner.”  All of this means that I look at conferences with a somewhat jaded eye, but I have to say I was favorably impressed on my first outing.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • CONELL: if you are planning on going to AALL for the first time, do this.  It makes the biggest difference in the world to have a cohort of people that you can get to know on that first day.  It is so worth it: for the rest of the conference (and probably the rest of your career), you will be running into familiar, friendly faces.  My “freshman class of 2010” is a group I am proud to have begun to know.
  • Two excellent presentations I attended – “Library Videos: Getting Blockbuster Quality on an Indie Budget” and “Starting Off on the Right Track: Avoiding Mistakes Common to New (and Not-so-New) Instructors” were both fantastic.  I generally feel if you get one decent presentation out of a conference you are ahead of the game (see above re: “jaded”).  These two surpassed my expectations by miles.
  • The keynote presentation by Dr. David Lankes of Syracuse was entertaining and thought provoking (note to AALL – couldn’t you have made this embeddable?  You can get it at the link above – he starts about 15 minutes in).  I especially liked his notion that our value is not in our collections but ourselves.  We are the resources that should be valued, and that valuation needs to start in our own behaviors and attitudes.
  • I demonstrated Zotero with Jennifer Duperon of Boston University.  (The online handout we created is here).  I don’t know how the entire “Cool Tools Cafe” event went: we were absolutely mobbed with people who were interested in learning about this fantastic citation manager and I barely had time to look around.

One thing that stood out for me that was categorically different from the other groups I have been a member of was borne out of a quality that I believe is inherent in most librarians.  I am not sure what to call that quality, but I can illustrate it:* with most groups, there seems to be a sense that if I have something then it is something that must necessarily be taken away from someone else – or perhaps a group of someones.  The competitive edge is strong in many professions, and seeing someone new creates a sense that there is now one less opportunity for the rest.  But librarians just don’t strike me that way.  It seems to be our nature.  Where a law student might say to him or herself, “Oooh – I found the resource.   I must hide it so I have the edge,” a librarian will excitedly say, “Hey – did you see this resource?  It’s really cool – let me share it with you!”  That collaborative, sharing spirit seems to extend to the entry of the profession as a whole.  Our CONELL class was welcomed with open arms by the existing membership.

So, again – to all who are visiting for the first time from Law Librarian Blog, greetings to you and thank you for being such a great group of people.  I am proud to be joining you.

*And I admit it is a variation on one of my pet themes.

Watch this site

With only three months between me and my MLS, I am beginning to revamp this site to reflect my future career.  Past communications posts will still be found under the category “communications,” but going forward I envision that most of my posts will have to do with law, libraries, and law libraries.

…Which is not to say I intend to try to teach Grandma to suck eggs.  I know there are tons of brilliant bloggers in the law library field.  Whatever I have to say on the subject are… well, baby steps.  I intend to honor the fantastic law library bloggers, but I also intend to make my mark in the field of law information.

Please wish me luck.