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VideoNotes (launched this month) is a simple online tool that allows you to write notes alongside videos from a variety of sources including Vimeo, YouTube and Coursera. It was developed by Unishared, a French education start-up but pointed out how it would be useful for journalists.

In practice

I took a Data Journalism panel discussion video (below) from the International Journalism Festival #ijf13 and typed in notes as I watched.

One good thing about this application is that the notes are timecoded, so when you click through them it will take you to the right place in the video. This is particularly useful in conjunction with the YouTube’s own timecoded embeds. So, for example if the main focus of your article was the impact of Nate Silver on Data Journalism you could run the discussion from this point. The other great feature of this application is that it stores the information on Google Drive, so you can collaborate on note taking. I’ve shared these notes with News International so if you work there you can see them. For the rest of you I’ve written some notes alongside a few Data Journalism tutorials. I’ll post something on this soon.

How it helps you

Not only is this a good internal research application but it could potentially be expanded to encourage collaborative and open journalism. Notes could add further context and clarification to a video and allow your audience to understand a story.


This video was created with my News International Google Drive, I think in future I will use my personal Google Drive as current business restrictions mean that I couldn’t allow public collaboration on this. Although the note making device is very simple to use, it would be good to see the time codes so that specific key quotes could be more precisely cited. At the moment any attempt to correct this deletes the time code completely.


A useful tool to help guide you through video with a real potential for collaborative journalism.