23 Things for Research – Thing 13: Finding presentations and podcasts

I haven’t often used social media to view presentations and podcasts for educational reasons. One of my lecturers at university was very tech-savvy and recorded their lectures on their MP3 player and uploaded them to the university’s virtual learning environment. I occasionally visited them if I knew there was something I hadn’t managed to note down from the lecture in its entirety.

I know some people were concerned that uploading lectures and lecture notes to the virtual learning environment would discourage students from turning up to lectures if they could just listen to it freely at any time they wanted, although I am not sure what the impact of this has been.

  • Podcasts

The only podcasts I ever listened to were the ones from the Christ Moyles show on BBC Radio 1. I used to listen to them on the bus to university, which was pretty dangerous. I was prone to laughing out loud and had to stifle it. I used iTunes to download them and listened to them on my iPod. My iPod decided to give up the ghost though so I never listened to podcasts again. I still receive emails from iTunes despite not having a piece of apple for at least four years.

I think that podcasts could be very useful for those in education and research, although I don’t think they were particularly popular when I was studying. For this task, I have signed up to BBC Radio 4’s Comedy of the Week via Yahoo! mail. I did try via Zune and RSS but neither worked, annoyingly.

I won’t be actively searching for any educational podcasts, although I wouldn’t be opposed to listening to a few if they were interesting and of relevance. It is certainly useful, though, to know these are available so I can recommend them to library users.

  • Presentations

I have viewed quite a few presentations online specific to libraries, mostly via Slideshare. This is not because I have gone to this website in search of something but because it is a popular place for people to upload their presentations and it is where I am taken to if I click on someone’s link to see their presentation.

Slideshare has come in very useful when I have been seeking information on a topic. Presentations tend to have a more personal touch to them with real-life views and experiences compared to some more formal methods of providing information, e.g. articles, Wikipedia entries. That makes it easier to relate to and see how things work in practice.

I think there is a downside to looking at people’s presentations though. As we have all been taught, it is bad practice to have long PowerPoint slides with tonnes of information which the presenter regurgitates. It is much better to put key points on the presentation slide and to elaborate vocally. This means that presentations in isolation on websites like Slideshare do not always make sense.

For this task, I searched Slideshare for “library serials” and was brought to the presentation RDA and Serials, a very current topic of interest.

In conclusion, I think that people sharing their presentations online is hugely valuable and I have found them useful in the past. The downside is that brief presentations make little sense without the presenter elaborating on what they mean.

I also looked at the University of Oxford’s YouTube channel as something that is a little more interactive than simply a slideshow. I am pleased to see the video at the top of the page is currently Inside the Bodleian: Building a 21st Century Library.

I have seen some of the University’s YouTube videos before and have found them to be very interesting and informative. I particularly liked the video Oxford University – how to apply – undergraduate admissions, which talks people through how they decide which college to go to. I think the animations are excellent and the video is welcoming and friendly. I’d like to know who created it.

I find that YouTube is excellent at sucking you in and wasting hours of your time, however. After watching one video, you are shown others that might be of interest and there are extra videos along the right of the web page to entice you. If you are excellent at resisting these and concentrating purely on the educational and informative videos available, YouTube will be great.


Although I have used these various websites and tools before, I have not really considered them on an educational/research level. This ‘Thing’ has shown me the potential value that these tools can have and I will bear that in mind for myself in the future and for readers in the library.