Introducing INFideos: Information Science Videos on YouTube

Introducing INFideos: Information Science Videos on Youtube

Jenna Hartel

Editor’s Note: Dr. Jenna Hartel, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, has joined the Information Matters editorial board as an Associate Editor in the multimedia and education areas. Across her twenty-year career she has championed visual research methods and creative pedagogical strategies, and she is the winner of the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Hartel has recently launched a YouTube channel, INFideos (formerly named BIBBLEium) of original educational videos about Information Science, and she will be sharing this novel content through Information Matters on a regular basis. Her first contribution, below, explains why she is committed to video-making and provides an overview of the INFideos project. Later postings will feature selected videos, short contextual statements, and suggestions for using the videos in a classroom setting.

Short educational videos can be very effective teaching tools. The theory of multimedia learning holds that “cognitive integration” is most likely to take place when the learner has corresponding pictorial and verbal representations in working memory at the same time (Mayer, 2009).  What is more, video content appeals to a Net Generation; taps multiple intelligences and learning styles; fosters student attention, focus, and creativity; and makes learning more fun (Mazirir, Chuchu, & Gapa, 2020).

—[at INFideos]…seminal concepts of Information Science are updated and re-interpreted for this era, and they are endowed with greater emotional resonance—

Unfortunately, the big ideas and great insights of Information Science are mostly stuck in a print-based Stone Age, gathering dust and risking obsolescence. Long-standing tenets of our field reside mainly in the journal literature or sometimes in textbooks and both are locked behind expensive paywalls of elite university libraries. In late 2020, when my own teaching shifted online due to the COVID pandemic, I wanted to enliven my virtual classroom with multimedia content about Information Science only to discover dubious resources and huge gaps. While there are some terrific “one-offs” and many impressive YouTube channels produced by librarians (kudos!), the latter mainly focus on contemporary issues of practice. To my surprise, the most popular Information Science videos on YouTube that explain foundational concepts—such as the reference interview or Kuhlthau’s (1989) Information Search Process—were made by students as the outputs from course assignments. Hence, in this increasingly multimedia Information Age, newcomers have become the authorities and online gatekeepers to the literature and traditions of Information Science!

This situation motivated me to create INFideos, a YouTube channel of educational videos about the foundational ideas and literature of Information Science. The channel’s name is a portmanteau that combines “information” and “videos” and aptly reflects the topic. I am excited to share this resource with the Information Matters community and invite everyone to visit and use the videos in their teaching. A 75-second Welcome to My Channel trailer plays upon arrival and is the best starting point for newcomers.

INFideos are designed to appeal to students within all levels of Information Science degree programs. They have also been made with an eye to non-specialists, interdisciplinary visitors, and more seasoned information devotees moving into new areas. In length they range from 15 seconds to 17 minutes and are therefore not overwhelming or a large investment of time to watch. Each video is enlivened by eclectic music and striking imagery. Perhaps most importantly, seminal concepts of Information Science are updated and re-interpreted for this era, and they are endowed with greater emotional resonance. My viewers thus far have praised the videos’ high production values and their deft balance of scholarly rigor and playful charm.

To better organize this resource, INFideos appear in series. That way, instructors and students alike can become familiar with the consistent structure and purpose across each collection to more easily watch and learn.

The What Makes This Paper Great? series focuses on landmark papers of Information Science. After the featured work is introduced, I present its origins, context, structure, highlights and ultimate impacts. Every episode is a deep dive, and viewers will come to understand the rhetorical strategy of the publication at hand. Each video concludes with reflections on the strengths of the work, and throughout has entertaining insider stories and references. Any of the videos in this collection can be assigned freestanding to students, alongside the original paper. Alternatively, they may support lectures or class discussions in real time. Thus far, the What Makes This Paper Great? series features eight episodes, such as those below, and more are forthcoming.

Every episode of What Makes This Paper Great? also has a detailed and hyperlinked table of contents so that students or instructors can engage only what is needed. The table of contents from Episode 5: Neutral Questioning – A New Approach to the Reference Interview (Dervin & Dewdney, 1986)), is show below:

00:00     – Introduction
00:41     – Neutral Questioning: A New Approach…
01:22     – The Reference Interview
03:07     – Brenda Dervin (biography)
05:59     – Patricia Dewdney (biography)
06:47     – Structure of the Paper
07:33     – The Paper’s Introduction
08:10     – The Theory: “Sense-Making”
09:39     – What is Neutral Questioning?
12:06     – Application Tests of Neutral Questioning
13:16     – What Makes This Paper Great?

With a lighter touch, the Tiny Video series delivers an audiovisual amuse bouche between 15 and 30 seconds long. In keeping with the times, the Tiny Videos resemble content on TikTok or spirited advertisements for scholarly products. Each one illustrates an important concept in Information Science, such as Buckland’s (1991) information-as-thing, Erdelez’s (1999) information encountering, or Metoyer-Duran’s (1991) insights into the information behavior of gatekeepers. Though slight (in time), they are meant to have a big impact on curiosity. To that end, many make a surreal or dream-like impression, like this meditation on Elfreda Chatman’s (1996) concept of information poverty. Of the 22 (and counting) Tiny Videos, shown below, several are drawn from longer INFideos works and contain links for viewers to follow and learn more.  It is my hope that the Tiny Videos go viral and spread the great work of our field far and wide. Everyone is welcome to use these diminutive multimedia artifacts in lectures, course websites, and correspondence with students.  

Finally, there is the Information and Leisure series, which introduces leisure as a setting for information behaviour, a topic that is my specialty. This troika of linked videos provides almost an hour’s worth of material and could be the foundation for an entire class session. 

INFideos also contains a handful of videos that do not fit perfectly into any series and therefore stand alone, namely How Do I Write a Theoretical or Conceptual Paper?, which was made with doctoral students and early career scholars in mind. Another, Pictorial Metaphors for Information, contributes an arts-informed perspective to our field’s long-running conversation about the nature of information.

—I hope that INFideos lend momentum and a modern sensibility to Information Science pedagogy and brings our literature and its worthy ideas to the attention of more people—

I hope that INFideos lend momentum and a modern sensibility to Information Science pedagogy and brings our literature and its worthy ideas to the attention of more people. It is also my aspiration that fellow researchers and educators are inspired to move in multimedia directions, so that we have a greater volume and variety of multimedia resources available to students and the world. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified of new videos and stay tuned for my regular contributions to Information Matters, which will be a guided tour of my favorite INFideos. Finally, please contact me ([email protected]) to provide feedback; recommend themes and topics for future videos; and/or if you would like to collaborate on a video project. Many thanks to Information Matters for the opportunity to share INFideos with Information Science, its professional counterparts, and beyond.

Note: Thanks to BOBCATSSS (formerly EUCLID, the independent European non-governmental and non-profit association that promotes European cooperation within LIS education and research), for permission to reprint this posting, which appeared in their November online newsletter.


Bates. (1979). Information search tactics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 30(4), 205–214.

Buckland. (1991). Information as thing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42(5), 351–360.

Chatman. (1996). The impoverished life-world of outsiders. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 47(3): 193–206. 

Dervin, B, & Dewdney, P. (1986). Neutral questioning: A new approach to the reference interview. RQ25(4), 506–513.

Erdelez. (1999). Information encountering: It’s more thanjust bumping into information. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 25(3), 26–29.

Kuhlthau. (1988). Developing a model of the library search process: Cognitive and affective aspects. RQ28(2), 232–242.

Maziriri, E. T., Gapa, P., & Chuchu, T. (2020). Student perceptions towards the use of YouTube as an educational tool for learning and tutorials. International Journal of Instruction, 13(2), 119-138.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Metoyer-Duran. (1991). Information-seeking behavior of gatekeepers in ethnolinguistic communities: Overview of a taxonomy. Library and Information Science Research, 13(4): 319–46.

Cite this article in APA as: Hartel, J. (2022, January 13). Introducing INFideos: Information science videos on YouTube. Information Matters.  Vol.2, Issue 1.

Jenna Hartel

I am an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. As an interdisciplinary social scientist devoted to the field of Library and Information Science (LIS), I conduct research in three related areas: 1) information and the "higher things in life" that are pleasurable and profound; 2) visual and creative research methods; and 3) the history and theory of LIS. In the Master of Information program at the Faculty of Information, I mostly teach graduate students in the Library and Information Science concentration. Both my research and teaching aim to be an imaginative forms of intervention in the field of LIS, through unorthodox projects such as Metatheoretical Snowman, Welcome to Library and Information Science, and the iSquare Research Program. See my website at or my YouTube Channel, INFideos.