The Introduction to Alaska Digital Resources: Opening Your Info Conduit program developed by members of AkASL and the Juneau chapter of AkLA to introduce you to the statewide electronic resources available through SLED and the Digital Pipeline.

This is your chance to Explore...Discover...Play!...and Learn about the statewide information and research tools and how they can be useful to you both personally and in your library or classroom.

To get started, see the lesson list on the right of this screen.

Need an an id/password for the Digital Pipeline? Call 1-800-440-2919.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lesson 9: Creating Tutorials

As you have most likely discovered from this course, teaching people how to use digital resources can be complicated!  While some us are capable of learning by doing something, using a resource once, most of us will require additional learning aids to cement the knowledge we glean the first time we use a new resource.   Walking through the steps required to successfully use a resource with a patron is definitely a useful introduction to the functions and features of a database but what happens when the patron goes home or tries to pick up their research later and you aren't there when they have a question?

Screenshot for setting up "The Settlers of Catan" using Clarify,  http://www.clarify-it.com/   

I've found creating tutorials using screenshots, search tips and step by step instructions and posting them online can provide a good option for people to learn at their own pace on their own time (a lot like this course).

I'm often surprised how time consuming this can be, taking screenshots, preparing the technical step by step instructions (technical writing has never been my strength) and in some cases recording audio or video live as you demonstrate the resource.

Value of Professional Networking:

So the great thing about working in the library world is that whatever resource you are preparing to create a tutorial on, chances are another library or in some cases the vendor for that resource may have already created a guide.  Take a look around other library sites, search for something like Ebsco Small Business Reference Center tips or tutorials, see what you find.  I've gone as far as contacting a library and asking if they will share their resource so I can modify it for our library and as many librarians have been willing to do this, I always return the favor.  Making a few changes to a guide is a lot less time consuming than building one from scratch.  That is as long as you find one that you feel is well done and easy for a user to understand.

For example, I was preparing for an ebook open house and had just seen some great handouts that Jean Powell at the Wasilla Meta-Rose Public Library had made available.  I sent her an email to ask if I could modify her docs for use at our library and she sent me her PowerPoint slides (don't get me started on PowerPoint, death by PPT, try Prezi instead).   I used this as a starting point making a few changes to customize for our library.  You'll notice in addition to step by step instructions using numbers and bullets there is a screen shot included that allows the tutorial to explain a few things about choosing ebook formats.

  1. Visit the website or screen which you would like to demonstrate.
  2. Press ctrl+prtScn (print screen button located along top row of keyboard at end of F# keys) at the same time.  This will take a screen shot, basically copying the viewing area of your screen, placing it unseen on the "clipboard" to be pasted later (it will be pasted as an image file). Mac users press Command-Control-Shift-3. The screen shot will be placed on your clipboard for you to paste into another program.  
  3. Open Microsoft Paint (on most computers, Start Button>Programs>Accessories>Paint). Or for Mac use Grab ( bundled on Mac OS X Applications>Utilities folder). More Mac Screenshot Tips here.
  4. Pressing ctrl+v will paste the screen shot into your editor (MS Paint, MS Word works too).
  5. You may need to crop the image using the "select" tool (square box with dashed lines)
  6. Then choose File>save as> and you can choose to save as jpeg or a few other image files.  
  7. These 7 steps could be modified and expanded to explain to a new blogger how to navigate the administrative dashboard of Blogger.  

Screenshots are essentially the bread and butter of helping demonstrate the (too many) steps required to use many of our library resources.  I've also found it a useful tool for troubleshooting problems that library patrons are experiencing when they call me on the phone with database access problems.  Rather than explain and spell out the complex error code I can explain the print screen function and have them email me a screenshot.  

Alternately, screencasting software (Camtasia has a free 30 day trial and there are a ton of FREE tools) which record your screen and in some cases audio live as you do the demonstration of the resource so you don't have to take screen shots and write up text, creating a video based tutorial.  

Discovery Exercise

Congratulations you've made it through 10 weeks of AK Digital Resources assignments.  
Her's your final assignment.   

  1. Create a tutorial on one of the Digital Pipeline Resources and add it as a post to your course blog.
  2. Tutorials must include at least: images, text, relevant web links.  Optional:  embed video or audio. 
  3. Please include a brief paragraph summarizing your experience creating the tutorial, tools used, etc. 
  4. Post a link to your tutorial as a comment to this post.

Useful Tools and additional Resources

Online Tutorials: Tips for Developing and other Resources, http://bit.ly/GUKxK6


  1. Hi,
    My instructor for the web design class I'm taking made some great video style tutorials and shared the two free resources he uses to make them. I thought I'd try them for this assignment.


    Also, Joyce Valenza did a blog post yesterday about screencasting:

    Eight ways to create screencasts and slideshares:

    ...which is an extended version of a post from her blog:

    So many choices...anyone want to share one(s) they have used or plan to use?


  2. I'm Posting this on behalf of AKDragonfly

    I had to embed some external media source I created in my web page for my web design class...the video I planned to use didn't work out, so I quickly made this...I used Screencast-O-Matic. I've never done this before, so let me know what I can do to improve it. Thanks!


    1. got it Valarie, thanks, see your post for my comments.

  3. Hi,

    The link below is to my latest blog posting of my online tutorial. I used Clarify to make it!


    1. got it, thanks Barbie, see your post for my comments.

  4. Here's a link to my prezi...


  5. Creating a tutorial took awhile as i tried several tried and true formats (Jing, Garage Band, Word) and finally tried something new: Clarify-It which was so easy to use and allowed me to do everything those other tools do and then some. See further comments on my blog, Geotech Librarian...the link to the tutorial on the Heritage Quest Online is http://geotechlibrarian.clarify-it.com/d/m2x9t4

  6. Just finished with 24 hours to go, but it was fun if a bit stressful catching up after traveling overseas and then going outside for a conference soon after my return. Thanks, Geotech, for your encouraging words. I used Clarify-It too, and it was great. I was able to do my tutorial over 2 days, despite a lot of back-tracking and rejigging. I'm really hoping to try it out on some of our Alaska physicians, as I hope it will teach them they can get a lot of the articles they need from Academic Search Premier! My Tutorial is called Tap Alaska's Digital Pipeline for the Latest Medical Articles, and can be viewed at http://sallybremner.clarify-it.com/d/ptfc2h

    All the best to those who are still beavering away to finish!

    Posted by Sadie Hawkins
    (still can't get Blogger to allow my Wordpress account to legitimize me here!)

  7. Here's my tutorial if you haven't seen it on my blog. Really appreciate any comments on ways to improve it. I used Clarify-it, based on Barbie's comments.


  8. Digital Pipeline Journal Alert Tutorial: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/clfF1Zpaa
    This tutorial walks a user of the Alaska Digital Pipeline through setting up journal alerts for publications available via EBSCO.

    I planned on redoing this tutorial, but decided to wait since I’m taking an Information Literacy class this summer that includes lessons on creating instructional screencasts. I’ll redo this one at some point since I received feedback that text for the URLs would be helpful. For my tutorial assignment, I will more than likely focus on how to access SLED and the Digital Pipeline for kids for an information guide wiki for our Seward Elementary students. I'll post it on my blog when I finish it.

    This was a fabulous class that I would highly recommend to other Alaskan librarians and library workers. Thank you to all who made it possible!