Recording Programs and Forums

The following tips are designed to help Instruction Section members record and disseminate IS programs and forums over the Internet. These tips are current as of this writing, in February 2008. Their accuracy and relevance will change over time as technology and the Section’s activities change. The Policy & Publications Review Committee is charged with maintaining and updating this document, with input from other IS Committees as appropriate.

Before arranging the session recording(s)

  • Draft and submit a Type 2 publication proposal to IS Executive Committee (via your committee’s liaison) requesting permission to record the session(s) and distribute the recording(s) after the fact. See below under “Posting and promoting” for suggested locations for distributing the recording(s).
  • Contact ACRL to obtain speaker audio consent forms for presenters and audience members who speak during the session. See below under “Audio consent forms” for more details.
  • Secure any necessary recording hardware by making an audio/visual request to ACRL or other arrangements with Instruction Section or committee members. See below under “Hardware requirements” for more details.

Arranging the session recording(s)

Hardware requirements

There are two options for recording hardware:

  • The first, and preferred option, is to record the session through the mixing board that is being used to mix audio from the presenters’ microphones to the room’s speakers. All that is required to do this is an MP3 recorder that has a line-in option and a cable to connect to the mixing board. In case of an iPod, this will require a third piece of equipment, a device that attaches to the iPod that allows for in-line recording, such as Belkin’s TuneTalk Stereo attachment.
  • The second option is to use an mp3 player or recorder with a built-in or external microphone. Unlike recording with the in-line option mentioned above, this method will pick up all ambient noise coming into the unit’s microphone. Obviously, careful placement of the mp3 player within the room is key. This method can lead to a recording with lots of background noise and it is best used for recording a single presenter or small session in a relatively quiet setting.

Audio consent forms
Signed audio consent forms must be obtained from each speaker prior to finalizing the session recording. The ACRL office maintains an ALA attorney-approved speaker consent form specific to audio recordings, including podcasts. ACRL staff can work with IS committees in advance of recording to customize the ACRL consent form template to the recording situation.

  • ACRL requires the use of the ALA attorney-approved speaker consent form. The use of alternate agreements, such as Creative Commons licenses, is not approved by ALA attorneys at this time.
  • Contact the ACRL office ( to request a current copy of the consent form and to confirm which ACRL staff member should receive the signed consent forms. Typically you will be able to fax the signed forms to the ACRL office after the session is completed. At the time of writing, consent forms could be requested from ACRL staff Margot Sutton Conahan and returned to David Free.
  • Make the form available to anyone who will be recorded at the event, including scheduled panelists (in advance) and audience members (at the session) who may be recorded when commenting at a microphone, for example. Plan to edit from the final recording any comments from individuals who did not submit a signed consent form.
  • Anticipate that speakers, in particular, may ask for further explanation of the legal terms of the consent form. Ask an ACRL staff member for assistance in responding to these questions in case an ALA attorney should first be consulted.

Recording the session(s)

Managing participants

  • Before the session begins, remind all participants that audio recording is taking place. All participants who speak during the session should sign an audio consent form before leaving the session. Have extra audio consent forms on hand for this purpose.
  • During open comment periods, ask all participants who speak to state their name and institution for the recording.

After recording the session(s)

Post-recording editing and metadata

  • After the session is recorded you may need to do minor edits to get the data prepped for distribution. If the data is recorded in anything other than MP3 format you will probably want to convert it to this format. This is especially true if the data is in a format such as .wav, which creates very large files. Dead air should be cut, making presentations shorter and saving on file size. Volume levels can be increased or decreased, and the audio levels should be balanced. A number of free or inexpensive programs exist for converting and editing files (e.g. Garageband for Macs). One excellent open-source option is Audacity ( Audacity works on many platforms including Mac and Windows.
  • In addition to making changes to the audio quality you should also add metadata to the the recording. On MP3s this metadata is called ID3 tags. These tags make it possible to locate and display song titles and artist information on an MP3 player. MP3 tags can be added via Audacity (mentioned above) or a free tag editing programs like Mp3tag ( Another option for adding metadata is to record a short introduction to the recording and append it the beginning of the recording. This introduction can explain when and where the recording was made, and can introduce the topic of the recorded session.

Posting and promoting

The 2007-2008 IS Executive Committee has agreed to have content from the 2008 Midwinter Discussion Forum posted to the IS website as follows:

  • The audio file and Recommended Reading list (PDF) both reside in the Discussion Forums directory, and are linked from the Discussion Forums web page.
  • The audio file and Recommended Reading list are both linked from the home page of the committee that sponsored the forum (IS Research & Scholarship), with a brief narrative description, under “Past Projects.” example. (Current as of 02/08.)
  • In general, audio recordings and other materials generated from Discussion Forums should reside in the Discussion Forums directory.
  • In general, audio recordings and other materials generated from Programs should reside in the Programs directory, and should be linked from the Programs web page
  • Current practice is to post both downloadable and streaming versions of audio content. This was facilitated by the IS Web Co-Administrators.

Approved past promotion venues for audio recordings from forums have included ILI-L, the ACRL Insider blog ( and ACRL Update (email list currently maintained by David Free at ACRL.) Promotion on ACRL Insider and via ACRL Update was done by contacting David Free directly and supplying him with the necessary text. Promotion to ILI-L was done directly by the committee.

Prepared by the Research & Scholarship Committee 2007-2008.
Maintained by the Policy & Publications Review Committee