Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Module 6: You Tube and Flickr

Step One: Introduction

This module will give you a chance to play with digital images – both still and moving – through exploring YouTube and Flickr.

Some background reading:

Step Two: Experience You Tube and Flickr

Part A: YouTube

YouTube is a video hosting website that allows users to view, post, and share video content. While much of the content on YouTube is considered “amateur,” more and more “quality” content is being added to the site over time, including archival footage (old commercials, for example).

Similar video sharing sites are online as well. Google Video and Yahoo Video have been around awhile, but some newer ones are popping up, both for general and more specific audiences: Channel 101 (television and short film programming); Funny Or Die (founded by Will Farrell, features comedy segments); Metacafe; and more.

Let’s get started with YouTube:

  1. Go to and take a minute to study the home page. Make sure to look in each of the tabs listed across the top of the page, and click on the “Site” link in the very upper right of the page.
  2. Search for a video on a favorite topic of yours.
    For example, you could search for ‘manny bullmastiff’ to find videos of my dog or you could search for ‘librarian’ to see what crazy librarians (or their students) are posting.
  3. Click on the link for one of your search results.
    Note how these pages contain links to related videos, video responses, viewer comments.

    Note also the tags applied to the video – try clicking on some of the linked tags and see what other videos share that tag.
  4. Optional: create an account, search for some videos you like and start a list of Favorites

Part B: Flickr

Flickr is an image management and sharing website whose goals are to allow users to move photos around through multiple means (i.e. email, RSS, posting to blog, etc.) and to enable new ways of organizing photos. It is this last goal that inspired them to allow users to “tag” (i.e. catalog, in library-speak) their images for easier retrieval; even users and friends and family viewing your images may add tags, notes, or comments. While image hosting sites such as this have been around several years, Flickr was one of the first to jump on the folksonomy bandwagon with its tagging and collaborative features.

Let’s go play in Flickr:

  1. Go to and take the tour if you’re not familiar with the site.
  2. View the ACRL 2007 Flickr account here. (This account was developed from a contest and multiple ACRL 2007 attendees contributed to the collection, including yours truly.)
  3. Browse or search within the collection to find a photo you like and click on it. What tags does this image have? Who posted it? Did anyone comment on it? When was it uploaded? What other metadata about the image is available to you?
  4. Find the “Additional Information” section on the right. What are the images copyright restrictions (not all images in Flickr are copyright protected, the default is “All rights reserved” but users can change that setting in their accounts for each image)? Click on the “See different sizes” link. What are your downloading options?

Step Three: Manipulate YouTube and/or Flickr

I recommend you complete both of the following activities but feel free to choose just one if you’re under time constraints.

Part A: YouTube – Embedding Video clips

YouTube clips enabled for embedding (not all clips are; it’s up to the user posting the video) can be added to websites, blogs, social networking sites, and other tools that can read the embedding code. For more in-depth details on this, click here.

(Note: I haven’t found a way to seamlessly embed YouTube clips in PowerPoint unless it can be done somehow through the MS Script Editor, which I do not know how to use…)

  1. Explore YouTube for a video you would like to add as an entry to your blog. If you’ve created an account, you might want to add some to your favorites and then select from those.
  2. Open your blog and get ready to create a post. Make sure it’s set to the “Edit Html” tab where you compose your entry.
  3. In YouTube, look for the “Embed” code (note also the URL right above for use in linking to YouTube videos):
  4. Copy the code in the embed box, and paste it into the body of your new blog entry.
  5. Publish your blog entry and view your blog to see your newly embedded YouTube clip! Woohoo!

Part B: Flickr

  1. If you already have a Yahoo! account, login to Flickr. (You can still complete this exercise if you do not have or do not want a Yahoo!/Flickr account).
  2. Search for an image you would like to add to your blog. For example, you could search for ‘manny bullmastff’ to find images of my dog, or you can try things like ‘librarian’ ‘lighthouse’ ‘cats’ ‘sausage’ or whatever.
  3. When you get your search results, note how now you have the option to search full text or tags with your search terms.
  4. Click on the “Groups” and “People” tabs. How do they connect you with related images and users?
  5. Back under the “Photos” tab click on an image that you would like to add to your blog.
  6. If you aren’t logged into Flickr, go to step 8. For those of you logged in, look above the image and click on the “Blog This” button and follow the directions to allow Flickr to access your blog. Click here for help.
  7. Navigate back to the image you want to blog, and click on the “Blog This” button again to complete posting the image to your blog.
  8. For those of you not logged in to Flickr: Click on the “All Sizes” button above the image to download the size you’d like to post on your blog, then use Blogger’s photo upload tool to add it to your blog entry.
  9. That’s it! Good job!

Step Four: What Do You Think?

Now that you’ve had time to play with, explore, and manipulate the content in YouTube and Flickr, think about a few questions it raises and respond to these or other observations you have made in your blog, such as:

  • How do we teach students to critically view and use content from sites like this? What questions of copyright, ownership, and authority emerge?
  • How do Terms of Service affect the content users share via YouTube, Flickr and similar sites?
  • What is “amateur” content and what distinguishes it from “quality” or “professional” content on sites like these?
  • How can we use YouTube and/or Flickr for teaching and learning purposes?
  • Why does everyone want to be a celebrity these days? How do you plan to get your 15 minutes of fame?

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