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Promoting the Digital Alcohol Studies Archives Collection

Even if it’s going to be a never-ending project, the Digital Alcohol Studies Archives Collection is now in good enough shape that it can be promoted widely. We even have our first serious user, a researcher, whose work will benefit many. Hoping to share more about that at some point, but these large-scale projects do take time.

We’re confident that our content is unique and worthy of promotion. To get the best bang for the buck, we lined up a few easy (or so I thought) options that can be used, shuffled, and reused on various platforms, targeting diverse audiences.

As for technical details, I like to work with what I already know and have at hand: slides, screenshots, images, and some combination of them; matching texts for lay and academic audiences that use a consistent language; short educational videos created with iMovie or similar and narrated by a native English speaker (that is not me), using the language already agreed upon, or captions only.

Once we have a few of these, the next step is to embark on a journey of promoting our resource on platforms of interest to our audiences.

For example, the simplest and shortest video was uploaded to the Alcohol Studies Research Guide. I added a new tab called Digital Alcohol Studies Archives, which includes a 50-second slide show, with captions only. Created from screenshots with Canva, the slides were exported to iMovie, which ensures smooth transitions and even better timing, plus some copyright-free music. The eight slides have short texts and visual representations, allowing the user to get a glimpse and, hopefully, want more information. The video is hosted on my Kaltura Media Space, which is probably not the best solution for longevity but works for promotion.

Slide with screenshot

The opening slide of a 50-second promotional video with captions. Click the image to start the video.

While I was at it, it was fun to create a similarly short video to showcase some of our unique content under the title “Only from the Rutgers Collection: Who was Jellinek?” Same technology, same setup, same design, and slightly longer video, but unparalleled content about one of the most important scholars in alcohol studies, the mysterious E. M. Jellinek. The eleven slides use a bit more visual selected from the image collection, while the screenshots of the pages are meant to inspire further exploration, i.e., visiting the E. M. Jellinek page of the Digital Alcohol Studies Archives Collection.

Title slide of the video promoting unique resources related to E. M. Jellinek. Click the image to start the video.

The longest video so far is a bit over two and a half minutes. Using everything we learned with the shorter ones, we developed a narrative to deliver the message through 33 slides. Creating this one took a lot longer than the previous two, as it required more steps – and repeating them a few times to get it right. The script itself had a few iterations until we all were happy. The voiceover soundtrack took two takes, they were good enough to combine them into the final product (although I’d recommend using professional equipment). Editing the transitions is a breeze in iMovie. The entire process could have been completed more professionally with Adobe Premiere Pro, we went for the low-hanging fruit and the video turned out to be just fine, see for yourself below.

The longest promotional video used the same slide as the title for the narrated version (2:35 minutes). Click the image to start the video.

The by-products of these videos are not negligible either, but they still need some work. Each alcohol studies celebrity should get their own promo, growing the “Only from Rutgers Collection” series. There is a “Best of alcohol studies history” series in the pipeline, the collection would definitely yield some interesting compilations. The Summer School t-shirts would make a fun video too!

However, next is the instructional “how to” video to demonstrate and explain some best practices for searching and browsing the collection and understanding the intricate relationship between its components. Stay tuned!