January 2002
Issue 1
Volume 7
  In This Issue
Non-Linear Video Editing
Building "High Traffic" Web Sites
Grammar Trap: May vs. Might

Non-Linear Video Editing

In the not-so-distant past, video production was a field as inaccessible as nuclear physics. Video used to required an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a dedicated building to house the equipment, and a staff of engineers to keep it all working. The democratization of video technology began with the appearance of consumer-grade camcorders. The revolution is now complete with the advent of desktop non-linear editing.

What Is Non-Linear Editing?

Non-Linear editing for video is like word processing for print. Just as a word processor allows you to not only type documents, but also insert new text and move things around, non-linear editing allows you the same kind of flexibility with video. The power to move clips around, edit their length, and add titles and graphics easily are all features of these systems.

Things to Consider

Most non-linear systems available can import video directly from a camcorder through a connecting cable, although the kind of connection varies with the tape format and computer platform used. Traditional analog camcorders need a computer capable of translating the video into a digital signal that the computer can read. Digital camcorders (which are getting less expensive all the time and which will ultimately replace analog cameras) record a digital signal compatible with computers.

Your computer platform also plays a role in what editing system you actually use. PC users have a wider variety of systems to choose from, with a range of complexity and prices. Costs vary anywhere from $50 to $200, with corresponding levels of features and abilities.

For Apple Macintosh users, the most common choice is Apple iMovie. Not only is iMovie a leader in bringing video editing to the consumer, you can't beat the price! It's free to Macintosh users and offers an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that will have even a rank novice editing video in no time.

With video technology finally trickling down to the consumer, it's important to remember that having a video-editing tool at your disposal won't make you a video editor. Video editing is truly a combination of technology and art, and expertise comes with experience. But with the advent of desktop non-linear editing, the opportunity to gain this expertise is now available to everyone.

For more information about how to produce and edit your next video, contact Ag Comm's Visual Media Unit.

The following link offers information on video editing systems that are supported by AgIS:

Steve Doyle

Building "High Traffic" Web Sites

Putting a Web site on the Internet means search engines will automatically search your site, right?


Paul Boutin, "Wired" magazine, said there are over 1 billion pages on the Web and only 80 million, or about one tenth, are indexed.

To get more traffic, your site should include these key elements:

  • Title tag
  • Meta tags
  • Alt tags
  • Text

Tags are extra identifiers in the HTML code of a Web site that give information to the user or the Web browser.


Titles should be specific. Don't put, "Welcome to my page." For example, include "Purdue University-West Lafayette, Indiana." This leaves no doubt of the page's identity.

On subsequent pages, change the titles, but keep a connection with the first page, like "Research at Purdue University."

Meta Tags - Description

Visitors don't see your description tag, but search engines can. Some search engines use software to comb the Internet to sift through Meta tags on individual sites to build the content included in the search engine's index. Not all search engines use this tag, but if they do, your description will be listed below your title.

Descriptions should be helpful to visitors and give a brief, accurate description of your site, like the following tag. "The Purdue Agriculture Web site offers research and Extension programs on food, farming, and life sciences, and youth, families, and community development."

Tags should be different for each page and less than 50 words.

Meta Tags - Keywords

Keywords increase relevance, or ranking, during searches. Any words, phrases, or acronyms visitors might think of should be listed as keywords.

Alternate spellings like "catsup" and "ketchup," as well as different versions of words like "bike" and "bicycle," should be included. Spaces between commas are not necessary, so leave them out and use less than 500 characters.

Alt Tags

All graphics, banners, charts, and graphs need alt tags, or alternate text, to explain the content. Without this, search engines might miss> vital information to rank your site.


Finally, there should be text on all pages to help search engines rank sites. Pages made completely of Flash movies or pictures do not rank well because there is no text for indexing.

For more information and online examples, visit

Virginia Retzner

Grammar Trap: May vs. Might

This one is for the truly persnickety among us (even more persnickety than I).

Strictly--very strictly--speaking, "may" means to have permission to do something.

Example: The boss says I may occasionally leave early if I have no meetings and my work is completed.

"Might," in this context, means maybe one will do something.

Example: I might leave early if my cold gets any worse.

In common usage, though, it's perfectly acceptable to use "may" to mean "maybe."

Do you have a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.

Visit http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agcomm/ontarget/grammartrap/ for past "Grammar Traps."

Laura Hoelscher

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