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October 2008 Site of the Month

Submitting an Interlibrary Loan Request Online.

Authors: Anne-Marie Basso, Librarian, Berkeley City College; formerly Reference Librarian, Doe/Moffitt Libraries University of California Berkeley
Institution: University of California Berkeley

Interviewer: Robert Perret

Tutorial Description: This screencast walks students through placing an online request for an interlibrary loan.

Q. How long did it take you to construct the tutorial?
A. The tutorial took several weeks to construct from start to finish.

Q. What made you decide on this format?
A. This tutorial came out of another tutorial project on how to use A tutorial about interlibrary loan was a logical next step and it is now linked to from the WorldCat tutorial

I also felt it was necessary because while working nights at the reference desk in the undergraduate library I never met any students who knew they could request interlibrary loan materials online. When they discovered they did not have to make a special trip to the interlibrary loan office they would always choose to request items using the Internet. There was a customer service gap that this tutorial attempts to address.

Q. How have you publicized the tutorial?
A. The tutorial was first announced on the library blog which was syndicated on the library home page at the time. Some librarians integrated the tutorial into their library orientation sessions. I also presented the tutorial at a reference staff meeting to raise awareness among colleagues. The tutorials continue to be publicized on the UC Berkeley Library Tutorials web page.

Q. Has any assessment been done? Specifically, the number of times it has been viewed, and whether it has been beneficial to students?
A. The number of times viewed is tracked through Google Analytics. We have a link to give feedback at the end of the tutorial for assessment purposes.

Q. Are there any plans to link it to Points of Need like inside WorldCat or on course pages?
A. Because I no longer work at UCB I talked to the supervisor in charge of the tutorials. This is what she said: "It is unlikely that the Interlibrary Loan request tutorial will be linked inside WorldCat, as I believe the UC system will adopt the Next Generation Melvyl union catalog, which includes the WorldCat holdings, and the tutorial will likely be revised to make it more general to the UC system or will be replaced by something else.

The individual librarians who develop course and subject web pages can choose to either link or embed tutorials within the pages they develop, but we don't and can't mandate it."

Q. Is there any advice or recommendations that you would make to someone interested in creating a similar tutorial?
A. Work with your team closely and keep your focus on what the end goal is. Do your research and prototyping!

Q. If you were creating this tutorial again, would you change anything about it or the way it was developed?

A. Creating a tutorial using Adobe Captivate is an iterative process. If I were to create this tutorial again I would reconsider using the audio narration. Most of the time creating this tutorial was spent trying to precisely match the audio narration to the screen movements. Each time a piece of audio or video is edited the rest of the tutorial is thrown off course, leaving the audio out of sync with the visual. To resynchronize was extremely tedious. In retrospect, I could have minimized the audio/video coordination issue if I had completed the screen capture process (including all edits) first, then recorded the scripted audio content second, and not edit any content afterward. Unfortunately, I am not sure if the tutorial creation process is ever this neat. Still, to aim for this level of perfection could prove helpful and time saving.

In the end I wondered if it was impractical to do the audio at all. The tutorial will need to be updated soon and the audio must either be re-recorded or deleted all together. Nonetheless, I think the audio does add a certain appeal to the tutorial making it more engaging overall.

Q. Is there any advice or recommendations that you would make to someone interested in creating a similar tutorial?


  • Make a story board your first step. This will save you time later.
  • Be ready for a learning curve if you are using Adobe Captivate for the first time. The skills you learn with Captivate will apply to other technology, so it is worth the pain.
  • Keep the tutorial short and tailor content only to your learning outcomes no matter how tempting it is to include other contextual information.
  • Get feedback about your plan from colleagues.
  • Almost every word I narrated also appears written on the screen. This is essential for an effective tutorial because many users may not have access to speakers/headphones when watching the video. For the video to be effective without audio, the written captions are essential.
  • Know your tutorial will need updating in the future.
  • Know that using audio may add several extra hours to your production time.
  • Check out Jing, a free online video screen capture tool. It lacks the elaborate editing features of Captivate but is super easy to use and puts out a great looking tutorial in just minutes!