How do I? video search

Tony Hirst has created a neat little search interface using Google’s Coop customizable search engine. It searches a number of video archives to find instructional videos – he seeds it with the phrase ‘How do I?’  He explains it here, so I won’t bother, and thus save myself potential embarrassment by getting it wrong.

I will say it returned some very good results for me. I put in a search for How do I.. create a podcast. And the resources it came back with were great. Having just written a piece on podcasting for a course, this reinforces to me the point that increasingly there is little point in me writing guides or even finding resources – students can do much better themselves and find the ones they want. This doesn’t make me totally redundant though (my mortgage lender will be pleased to hear), I think my role then is to place podcasts in an academic context by creating meaningful activities and perhaps producing other material which relates to pedagogy, broadcasting, or whatever – ie to make some links to material they might not get through such means. This is a good thing – educators should concentrate on what they do best, not writing how to guides or acting as a search engine.

Tony says he knocked it up in twenty minutes. This also demonstrates the difference in approach in the web 2.0 world ‘out there’ and the academic world. You just know if this was a university (any university) project it would have been funded for a year, they’d set up careful consultation, draw up a set of user specifications, run some workshops, produce a report, start coding, get to a demo stage that worked only on a very small subset of video, then disband.

Anyway, give it a go.

One Comment

  1. Tony Hirst says:

    The “seeding” is psychological – the prompt in front of the search box (“how do I”) encourages the user to put in quite a comprehensive query, more complete than if they were just using the normal google interface, using terms that are also likely to feature in the title of the result the user would like to see…
    I’d also guess that the “how do I” text on the page influences the ads that google returns, which should also be relevant to the query…
    tony

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