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1. Can anybody add content to the ANTS site?
Answer: Yes. Although ANTS initially started out as a COPPUL initiative, it was opened it up to non-COPPUL librarians in the Fall of 2006. Anyone can register to be a member of our COPPUL Wiki and anyone can get a DSpace account and upload content to our repository.
2. Are you asking people to only develop tutorials for the e-resources currently on the list?
Answer: No. Anyone working with e-resources knows that databases are aquired by new vendors, old vendors go out of business, new e-resources are continuously being born, and that old e-resources (that were previously not that popular) can become popular. Hence, we anticipate that many people will want to develop tutorials for e-resources not on our initial list. That is why we chose a dynamic wiki - that anyone can add to - as our home for all e-resources identified for development.
If you see a need for an e-resource tutorial that not on the list, all we ask is that you add it to the Wiki (it is very easy to do using Easy Edit). This way others will be made aware of the fact that (a) a tutorial needs to be created for a specific e-resource or (b) whether you are creating one (so they do not need to create one locally). Adding these e-resource to the list, keeps the list both current and relevant, so please feel free to (a) add to the Wiki, and (b) to upload a tutorial for an e-resource not on our initial list.
3. I noticed that ANTS seems to be dedicated to creating tutorials for e-resources. Do you accept other types of library tutorials as well such as Information Literacy ones?
Answer: Yes. Although ANTS was originally conceived as being a method or enabling development of e-resource tutorials across institutions, we have recieved a lot of questions from people who would like to see other types of tutorials included as well. These include Information Literacy Tutorials, Literacy Tutorials (for Public Libraries), Data & GIS Tutorials, Tutorials for Handicapped users, and any other type of tutorial that there is a demand for in the library world.
We welcome all ideas and all content. Ideas for new types of tutorials can be added onto the Wiki by cobtacting us and we will add a new page for that type of tutorial. Ideas for Specific Content under one of our identified tutorial groups, can be added to that page for the group (i.e. you could indicate there is a need for a plagarism tutorial in our Information Literacy Tutorials page.)
4. Is there any restrictions in the types of software used to create tutorials? Do you recommend that people use one vendor's software?
Answer: We do not tell people that they have to use Captivate, Camtasia, Viewletbuilder or Wink. We leave that decision up to our creators. All that we do ask is that whatever you use, it can be converted into a Shockwave Flash File (SWF) or Flash File, and that this includes audio (as general consensus is that it makes for a better viewing experience.)
5. I have never used audio in my tutorials. As it is new to me, do you have any recommendations?
Answer: We do have a few simple suggestions that work well when recording audio. First of all, you do not have to enter some sophisticated recording studio to get good audio. Instead, make sure (1) that you are in an office that does not have a lot of noise (such as music, construction sounds, etc) , (2) that you use a Headset recorder (the speaker rests close to your mouth when you are recording and as such, it picks up your voice and eliminates a lot of white noise - such as the sound of an Air conditioner blowing) and (3) that you save your file on High or CD Quality in order to get a good sound on your tutorial.
6. Do you know of any good online training that I could take to learn how to create Animated Tutorials?
Answer: Organizations such as ALA, ACRL or The Partnership (in Canada) are always offering online courses. So will your local library association. In addition, one of our team members - Paul Pival - did a Webinar on using Viewletbuilder that is freely available for anyone to view (the password is ANTS). You will need to download the Elluminate Live Software to view it, but Elluminate is freely available.
Another option is to visit (1) our Best Practices in Screencasting page or (2) specific blogs dedicated to discussing tutorial development. Some include The Distant Librarian and Libcasting. They will keep you up-to-date.
7. I registered for RSS Feed updates. The feed sends me the page but I want to see the changes made to the page. How do I do this?
To see the changes, go to the ANTS page sent to you in the Feed. At the bottom of the page is a grey area with the words: Latest Page Update. Select the Complete History link and you will see a history page. To view the changes select the + sign beside the day and time for the page you want to view (which is likely the most recent.) It will display the Changed Text (with additions in Blue Text and Deletions in Red with a strikethrough.) You can also look at how the changes altered the previous page by selecting View Changes from Previous Version. You will then see the entire pages with previous and changed text.
8. I know that ANTS is designed to be a tutorial repository, a place where we all contribute our finished products...and then others can ccess and modify the file to suit individual needs. My question is this: what if the tutorial is generic enough that it doesn't require any modifications? Is it legal, ethical, acceptable to send students to the (already completed..by someone else) tutorial as part of a web quest?
Answer: You can do whatever you want with our tutorials - provided you give attribution to their creators. You can link to them as is; you can download them to your site and have people use them from there; or you can modify them and use them locally. We allow people to modify, but this is just an option we felt some people might want in order to make it (1) desirable to participate and (2) make our tutorials desirable to use (as some people may wish to add link to their serials list, or add their branding.)
9. I work with Distance Education Students and was told that instead of using Animated Tutorials, that I should use Powerpoint Slides as they take less bandwidth. Are animated tutorials using Flash significantly larger than Powerpoint?
Answer: No they are not if they are kept short (which is the recommended practice anyways.) In comparing the two we discovered:
- Powerpoint Presentation with 28 screenshots was 2.26 MB
- SWF File created by Qarbon Viewletbuilder with High Audio and 3-4 minute in lenght was 2.75 MB (MLA Advanced Search Tutorial)
- SWF File using Captivate was about 3 minutes long and 3 MB (CINAHL Headings Tutorial)
- SWF file using Camtasia also about 3 minutes was 26 MB (the largest file - for the Art Index Tutorial
You can go through our files at DSpace and see the size of each as well as learn their viewing times. But most programs allow for SWF files that are comparable to a Powerpoint and provide users with a better viewing experience.
10. Since upgrading my Adobe Flash Player to Adobe Flash 188.8.131.52. any Camtasia files sound strange. What is the matter?
Answer: The answer to this question can be found at the Techsmith site. They are talking with Adobe about the issue and Adobe is trying to recitfy the situation. Until then, Techsmith is providing a patch that people can use with Camtasia tutorials so the sound is of good quality. Richard Baer re-released his Wikipedia Tutorial using this software and it worked. To learn more go to:
11. Are there any Copyright issues associated with using screenshot taken from Commercial Vendors products?
Answer: We vaguely remember discussing this issue at the start of the ANTS project in 2004. The consensus then was that by creating these tutorials we are actually doing vendors a favor as we are making people aware of their product, and as such they would be foolish not to want us to do this.
The project originated in Canada, so we are not experts in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in the U.S. but (1) as our tutorials are not presenting a large dataset, (2) screen displays of articles are a small part of the first page of an article, and (3) they are being used for educational purposes, we feel that there is little reason anyone would question the legality of what we are doing. The hundreds of tutorials created since, and the absense of lawsuits, would seem to indicate that is indeed the case.
12. Can I alter the dimensions of a tutorial to make it appear larger or smaller at my site?
Yes you can by doing one of two things:
a. If you are using Embedding code, follow our instructions about altering the dimensions of embedding code for any embedded tutorials.
b. If you want to link to a tutorial with a different dimension (unlikely, but it could happen), then download the Source Code from DSpace, alter the dimensions of the source code, and upload it (at you local site) as an SWF or FLV file, with the dimensions you like. You can then link to the tutorial with that dimensions (instead of linking to one of ours.) NOTE: In order to do this, you will need Camtasia to edit Camtasia files; Captivate to edit Captivate files (etc.) You may or may not want to pursue multiple editing software programs, but if you do, you will also be able to do things like add your library brand (etc) to a tutorial.
13. Some vendors already include tutorials in their offerings. Why should librarians take the time to build any of their own?
The reason is simple: vendors are interested in selling products and so their tutorials tend to emphasize the sexy features of their products like My EBSCOHost. Librarians on the other hand are interested in educating people how to best use these products to find the information they need (i.e. information literacy). This means that the types of tutorials our users need when they are first learning about a project are different - and this is particularly important if students are unable - or unwilling - to come into the library due to preferences, time constraints (i.e. the library is not open when the student starts a paper after their kids are asleep) or distance contraints (i.e. Distance Education Students.)
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