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ACS Invests In Digital Services

by Linda Wang
August 23, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 34

Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Dylewski (from left), Kirk Zamieroski, and Janali Thompson create ACS multimedia products in-house.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Dylewski (from left), Kirk Zamieroski, and Janali Thompson create ACS multimedia products in-house.

The American Chemical Society’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) has invested in a new Digital Services Unit that is bringing the capability of producing high-definition videos and other multimedia products in-house. With these new capabilities, ACS can produce these products at a fraction of what an outside contractor would typically charge, says Michael Woods, OPA assistant director of science communications.

“ACS members now have access to videos that are much richer, much more interesting, and much more informative,” Woods adds. “By producing these videos internally, you’re dealing with individuals who not only know chemistry, but they know the ACS membership. Members are going to receive content that is engineered for a specific audience.”

The Digital Services Unit began operating at full capacity last December. Examples of recent products include the member welcome video and new “C&EN Picks of the Day” videos being played throughout the ACS national meeting in Boston this week.

“People will sometimes tune out the welcoming video loop after a few days at the national meeting,” says Adam Dylewski, OPA manager of digital services. “Our goal is to have something fresh for people to watch each day, whether it’s the C&EN Picks of the Day or some extra content from Bytesize Science (”

The idea of expanding ACS’s digital capabilities originated in 2007 when OPA began producing its first podcasts. “People were coming to us for advice on how to do podcasts,” Woods says. “As we talked with people in other ACS business units, we realized that they were using outside contractors to produce their podcasts and videos, and the fees being charged by the outside contractors were just amazingly high.”

Today, the Digital Services Unit boasts cutting-edge multimedia equipment, including high-definition digital cameras, professional sound systems, and portable teleprompters.

In addition to its own projects, the Digital Services Unit also produces videos for other ACS offices and divisions, such as the Office of High School Chemistry and the Publications Division. OPA’s fees are about half of what an outside contractor would typically charge.

The unit is building an archive of educational videos that can be used for outreach by ACS’s Chemistry Ambassadors ( sadors) and other volunteers. “The idea is to create a portfolio of educational chemistry content that is accessible to a large audience,” Dylewski says.

The Digital Services Unit is producing a video on how to inexpensively produce your own videos and multimedia products, Woods says. Meanwhile, the unit continues to expand and welcomes partnerships with all ACS groups, including the local sections, committees, and divisions. For more information, visit



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