Using Jing for Quick and Easy Screencasts – A Wonderful Tool for Librarians

When trying to explain a how to use a computer application, a screen shot (still photo) is worth a thousand words. A screencast (video recording) is worth a million. Librarians have been using screencast applications like Camtasia for a while to produce wonderful tutorials on database searching, etc.
I’ve often thought about trying my hand at one, but the cost of the software and the production time was too prohibitive. Well, not any more. I’ve just tried a new, free application called Jing and I just love it.
With Jing, you can record what’s happening on your screen and either save it to your computer or share it. If you choose to share it, Jing uploads the video to and gives you back a URL which you can share with anyone.
Or, if you don’t need a video, you can capture a still screen shot. Jing has built in arrow, text, and highlighter tools – much faster than editing it in Photoshop or Fireworks.
I tested it out and made a screencast of my own. This 29 second video of a me performing a search in our Wisconsin Briefs database took less than one minute to create – 29 seconds for the actual recording and about 15 seconds to begin and end the recording.

Of course, Jing isn’t as full featured as applications like Camtasia. If I wanted to produce a high quality video with audio and annotations, I’d probably break down and buy Camtasia. But for simple screencasts, Jing works great.
Because it’s so fast to create and share content, Jing seems ideal for reference librarians. Say I’m working with a patron via email or IM and I want to walk them through a database search. I simply record myself doing the search (like I did with the WI Briefs example above) and send them the link to the recording. Not only can I probably do all this faster than I could type out the instructions, but it will be much clearer to the patron.
I’d love to hear from anyone else using Jing, particularly librarians. Please share your experiences in the comments.
Source: Inter Alia