PBS Video Database

Jim Scholtz (jscholtz@sdln.net)
Wed, 17 May 2000 12:00:21 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Group,

I responded directly to two people about the PBS Video Database, as my
library (possessive aren't I?) subscribes to it. I thought that I'd post
my response to initiate other responses as well. I've been busy cataloging
the 466 titles and we've been circulating them just like other videos but
have not marketed the subscription to the local colleges/universities and
school system yet (winding down toward summer). We expect to renew our
subscription for next year and do a comprehensive marketing plan for use -
going into the schools and showing the teachers just how neat this concept
is. Matter of fact, I'll be training my staff on using the database on the
web tomorrow.

Hi Howard and Stan, As a PBS Video Database subscriber and user I just
wanted to clear up a couple of errors about the Database. First of all,
the database is available only on an annual subscription basis. If you
already own a number of titles (currently 466), you can get a discount from
the subscription price of $3,xxx per year - paying about half. Renewal is
$3,000 per year. You as a patron/vendor can't [list] a video in the
database. Currently, the video database consists of about 466 PBS Video
titles (such as all the American Experience titles, Civil War, etc.). They
are time-coded on-screen (bottom right hand corner). If a library has a
number of PBS programs already (we owned about 117 titles), you can get a
discount on the 1st subscription price, and still receive those titles in a
time-coded version. All the titles are titled, but also numbered 1-466+
and come in generic, look-alike containers. Some programs are broken up
into more volumes than you previously owned (ex. FDR comes in 4-5 videos
instead of a 2-volume set). I imagine that you as a subscriber could
recommend that a title not included in the database be included but it
would have to be one owned by PBS Video. A printed subject/person index
comes with the subscription that is very thorough!!. Also, the major
attraction is the subject/person web-based, searchable index. The index
also provides users with additional and supplemental material (more will be
added) so that presumably, a user (teacher, etc.) could look up videos on
Richard Nixon, get a lesson plan, additional materials plus a time-coded
listing of all videos where he appears.
Additionally, the titles come with lots of teacher/student guides and
posters. Not k-3 for sure, more like Jr. High through college and general
adult material. The time-coding on-screen is not obtrusive - analogous to
the transluscent channel icons on your cable channels. While there is lots
of ancillary and supplemental material available on the site (you have to
be a subscriber to be able to access it - however, remote access for
teachers, patrons, students, etc. is available through password from a
subscriber) there are no video clips available (I'm not sure if they're
even planned). That would slow the system down considerably and make the
point of having the videos available moot.

We've just started using the videos and database. The website has just
been up and I'm training staff. Also, we need time to get school/college
teachers used to the idea. Cataloging 466 titles in such a short time was
no small feat - I'm still working on it. I think it will be a boon to our
patrons and a great resource and cross-marketing tool.

Jim Scholtz
Yankton Community Library