Web videos are a great way to raise public awareness and involve your users in sharing stories about the value and power of archives. A variety of social networking tools (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, even Facebook) provide options for managing video entries for your local competition. You can even embed them in your own website without advanced scripting or programming knowledge.
YouTube is the undisputed heavyweight of video sharing. For our purposes, it delivers all of the necessary tools to provide your institution and the archives profession with broad exposure to the public at large. For example, the National Archives and Records Administration has created a YouTube channel that features more than a dozen "playlists" of categorized videos and has already attracted more than 250,000 upload views! By coordinating efforts within this social network, archives institutions can leverage the I Found It In The Archives public awareness campaign to greater effect. Let's take a look at how this works....
Channels are actually a feature of individual user accounts. Therefore, even if you already are a personal user of YouTube, you may want to create a distinct user account to which you can give a more generic "institutional" name that will appear on your channel (e.g., acmearchivist). Once you have created your account and logged in to YouTube, you can select "My Channel" from the pull-down menu under your username to edit and customize your channel.
A playlist is a collection of videos that can be watched on YouTube, shared with other people, or embedded into websites. "Favorites" is your default Playlist, but you can create as many as you want. By creating a new playlist (e.g., "I Found It In The Archives"), you can easily add videos to your local competition, display them on your YouTube channel, and distinguish them from other video collections that you want to manage.
To create a new playlist:
Adding videos to your playlist is easy. If you have uploaded a video yourself, you can click on the "Uploaded" link in the left-hand column of the "My Videos" page, check the desired video(s) from your list, and click the "Add to" button. However, you can also add other users' YouTube videos to your playlists, which eliminates the need for file management.
Note: It is essential that all entrants acknowledge that they understand what is involved and what their participation means. Completion of the Entry Application and Release and Waiver forms is mandatory.
On your playlist details screen, simply click on the "Add videos to playlist" button in the top right-hand corner and you'll see a list of your recent viewing history. Any video that you have watched on YouTube can be added to your playlist.
Your users can send you a file for upload as an email attachment but, per above, it's much simpler to encourage them to create their own personal YouTube account, upload their video, and share its location with you. In this way, the individual's name will display as the video creator and s/he can control the title and description of the video directly. Be sure to obtain the Entry Application and Release and Waiver for every video that you add to your playlist.
Once you have a channel and a playlist for your local video competition, there's one more step to complete your setup. On the channel display, click on the "Videos and Playlists" tab. On the left side of the window, select the "Playlists" checkbox and then, on the right side of the screen, check all playlists that apply. Save your changes and you're ready to go!
YouTube's help pages on channels (i.e., Personal Settings and Interacting) provide additional tips on a range of other configuration options, including Friends, Subscribers, Ratings, Comments, etc. One option that you may want to consider is embedding video content directly into your institution's webpage. This can be done with individual videos, with playlists, and/or with channels:
The Society of American Archivists has used these guidelines to create its own YouTube channel and playlist for the I Found It In The Archives national competition. After you complete your review and selection of your local video entries, we invite you to submit the following materials to email@example.com:
In the meantime, visit SAA on YouTube and....
Share your thoughts, questions, and plans for I Found It In The Archives so that, together, we can make this effort go viral!