[Videolib] Seeking data

John Holland (jholland@chipublib.org)
Thu, 10 Jul 2003 10:43:09 -0400

I need to do a collective brain pick, and ask if any of you have run
across an article or report on the status of non-feature ("educational")
films being issued on DVD. As I think we all know, there are hundreds of
films which we have had in our collections for years which have not been
issued in DVD, and the common belief is that they may never be issued as
such, due to such things as clearance costs, acquiring disc rights from
the producer, demand, etc. I haven't run across anything in print which
gives hard statistical fact that might sway some sceptical minds.

The video collection at Chicago Public Library's central library is
currently under mandate from the administration to weed approximately
half its educational VHS tapes - nearly 13,000 videos - and instructed
to replace them all with DVD, or just get rid of them. We have tried to
explain that many (most?) of these are not available on DVD, and due to
the factors mentioned above, may never be released as such. Obviously,
some companies like PBS Video are releasing their best sellers as such,
but it has already been mentioned on this list that "Eyes on the Prize"
is one essential title which may go out of print for reasons of
cost-prohibitive clearances. The larger, more commercial/high-profile
companies are not really the problem; it is the more specialized
publishers that are my concern. Will we ever be able to replace
California Newsreel titles on DVD, for example?

I am desperately trying to defend a heavily used collection that is
nowhere near being obsolete, so any documentation from outside sources
would be appreciated.

John Holland
Chicago Public Library
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605

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