Re: [Videolib] Collection going to IT????!!!!

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Tue, 27 Feb 2007 09:11:18 -0800

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Hi

Ya know...I don't really care about the digital future of feature
films...the industry will take care of itself and screw us all over in the
process, I'm sure.

What I'm concerned about is the future of documentary and educational
films. The issues at hand are: lack of adequate or uniform standards for
delivery: the existence (now and most likely in the future) of competing
proprietary encoding and delivery schemes (can't see MicroSoft, Apple,
Real, Adobe, and Sun joining hands and singing "Kumbaya" any time
soon). The issue at hand is the amount of bandwidth and storage required
to deliver even a VHS-quality image to the screen. The issue at hand is
the fact that the "small guys" who distribute non-fiction works probably
won't be in the position to offer "ready-made" digital files in the short
(and maybe long) run, leaving the task of file creation and management to
the clients (us). Budgets to support digital content delivery are almost
always kept in a separate pocket from collections budgets...how we gonna
deal with this shift? The issue at hand, as I've mentioned below, is a
serious disjunction between what's available for licensing and what's
really used in a particular institution. The issue at hand is the frequent
and common problems in institutional computing infrastructure (including
classroom infrastructure) to deal with digital delivery of media. The
issue at hand is what John Ellis 30 years ago called "The Human Element"
-- the problems surrounding getting faculty or other users interested and
up and running in the brave new world.

Yeah, I think digital is inevitable...but when, I certainly couldn't
say. I can envision more and more of us buying in to way of "collecting"
and providing access to media content that is, when push comes to shove,
much inferior to what we're providing in the analog world. I think it's
easy to get buffaloed into doing this by know-nothing administrators (with
stars in their eyes and only the vaguest idea of what video is all about),
by aggressive IT types who love jumping on anything built of pixels, and by
a fear of somehow falling behind the curve.

It's not that I'm not sanguine about the digital video future, it's just
that I've been around the block enough to wait until something develops
that's worth jumping on.

Gary

At 07:42 AM 2/27/2007, you wrote:
>All these concerns are very real and valid, but at the same time assuming
>improvements in technology and the like within the next decade we will
>almost surely be dealing with much more with films stored on a server that
>are accessed via a network. If the server will be ours or the film
>companies and how open the network will be are questions very much up in
>the air. presumably the movies companies will want as much control over
>their films as they can get but at the same time if in the future their
>is some equivalent to an MP3 format for film they may simply not be able
>to control the spread of their product and will be forced to reach some
>sort of compromise.
>
>of course this assumes current trends continue.
>
>Sincerely,
>Michael
>
>Gary Handman wrote:
>>Hi all
>>
>>Here's the thing with streamed media/VOD/content providers... (and bear
>>with me if you've heard me toss out this shopworn metaphor before): they
>>remind me of the myth of procrustes...you know the guy: badass
>>highwayman who invites unwary travellers into his digs...invites them to
>>take a snooze, and then either cuts off their head and feet or stretches
>>them to fit the bed size.
>>
>>What seems to be happening here, at least to some extent, that we're
>>cutting off head and feet to match the technological bed... I dunno
>>about K-12 or publics, but I do know that in the particular academic
>>environment that I work in there's a fairly bad match between between
>>what is used and needed and useful and what's available to license as
>>online content. I ain't naming names, but I've talked to more than a few
>>institutions in which faculty are gravitating toward using not the most
>>apposite or insightful stuff, but instead, the stuff which can easily be
>>licensed and stuffed inside a learning management system. I'm talking
>>here about vendors who are selling "ready-made" video solutions--either
>>locally uploadable "ready-made" files or access to a remote server loaded
>>with content. The picture is a little brighter when it comes to content
>>licensable for do-it-yourself encoding and serving...but the costs and
>>challenges to pull the latter off are daunting, to say the least.
>>
>>I'm concerned...
>>
>>Gary
>>
>>
>>
>>At 10:08 AM 2/26/2007, Adrienne Howard wrote:
>>>
>>>I work for the biggest K-12 school district in Portland, Or. In our
>>>case, UnitedStreaming (US) was purchased and implemented by our IT
>>>department (IT) about 3 or 4 years ago, and I was told it was rather
>>>inexpensive (for them). At the time, the streaming videos that were
>>>offered was mostly the older United Learning content. Then IT came to
>>>us and said that if we wanted to digitize the contents of our library,
>>>they could host and deliver it through US. Well, we had to explain
>>>that even if we were allowed to digitize our library that we would not
>>>need US because we can stream material through our Medianet web catalog
>>>and booking system.
>>>
>>>However, I do not feel that UnitedStreaming is a joke. With Discovery
>>>purchasing UnitedStreaming, the content is now a little richer, but I do
>>>wish IT had waited. My budget for buying new material is ridiculously
>>>low, but if I bag full of money I would be looking towards purchasing
>>>digitized content from Schlessinger Media, Visual Learning Co. and Films
>>>Media Group. If the content is good and relevant to the curriculum, it
>>>shouldn't matter if it's on DVD, video or streaming video.
>>>
>>>But I think what pains me the most is that some people feel that a media
>>>library can easily be replaced by any inexpensive streaming video
>>>service. I believe our IT department feels they can replace us, and
>>>they release monthly statistics showing some very impressive usage of
>>>UnitedStreaming at some schools. However, when pressed for more
>>>information, we find that many students are registered to use US and
>>>some schools regularly set up the computers in libraries so that kids
>>>can view videos during lunch. I feel this is great for the kids; it's
>>>better than YouTube and it's a good option for those kids that do not
>>>have computers at home.
>>>
>>>But this is not classroom, face to face instruction. The stats cannot
>>>compare - apples and oranges. Our library was built over the years
>>>from the ground-up by curriculum specialists, and now the growth of the
>>>library is based on teacher suggestions and requests. Our library is a
>>>true teachers' resource.
>>>
>>>Not all IT departments are monolithic and make bad decisions. But if
>>>your IT department makes a lot of assumptions and doesn't ask a lot of
>>>questions, more than likely they also have the money to be dangerous. :)
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>Adrienne Howard
>>>Portland Public Schools
>>>Multimedia Library - BESC/L2-30
>>>503.916.3228
>>><http://www-av.pps.k12.or.us/>http://www-av.pps.k12.or.us
>>
>>Gary Handman
>>Director
>>Media Resources Center
>>Moffitt Library
>>UC Berkeley
>><mailto:ghandman@library.berkeley.edu>ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
>>http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC
>>
>>"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life
>>presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."
>>
>>--Guy Debord
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>Scanned MGW2
>
>Gary Handman
>Director
>Media Resources Center
>Moffitt Library
>UC Berkeley
>ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
>http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC
>
>"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life
>presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."
>
>--Guy Debord

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Hi

Ya know...I don't really care about the digital future of feature films...the industry will take care of itself and screw us all over in the process, I'm sure.

What I'm concerned about is the future of documentary and educational films.  The issues at hand are:  lack of adequate or uniform standards for delivery:  the existence (now and most likely in the future) of competing proprietary encoding and delivery schemes (can't see MicroSoft, Apple, Real, Adobe, and Sun joining hands and singing "Kumbaya" any time soon).  The issue at hand is the amount of bandwidth and storage required to deliver even a VHS-quality image to the screen.  The issue at hand is the fact that the "small guys" who distribute non-fiction works probably won't be in the position to offer "ready-made" digital files in the short (and maybe long) run, leaving the task of file creation and management to the clients (us).  Budgets to support digital content delivery are almost always kept in a separate pocket from collections budgets...how we gonna deal with this shift?   The issue at hand, as I've mentioned below, is a serious disjunction between what's available for licensing and what's really used in a particular institution.  The issue at hand is the frequent and common problems in institutional computing infrastructure (including classroom infrastructure) to deal with digital delivery of media.  The issue at hand is what John Ellis 30 years ago called "The Human Element" --  the problems surrounding getting faculty or other users interested and up and running in the brave new world.  

Yeah, I think digital is inevitable...but when, I certainly couldn't say.  I can envision more and more of us buying in to way of "collecting" and providing access to media content that is, when push comes to shove, much inferior to what we're providing in the analog world.  I think it's easy to get buffaloed into doing this by know-nothing administrators (with stars in their eyes and only the vaguest idea of what video is all about), by aggressive IT types who love jumping on anything built of pixels, and by a fear of somehow falling behind the curve. 

It's not that I'm not sanguine about the digital video future, it's just that I've been around the block enough to wait until something develops that's worth jumping on.

Gary





At 07:42 AM 2/27/2007, you wrote:

All these concerns are very r= eal and valid, but at the same time assuming improvements in technology and the like within the next decade we will almost surely be dealing with much more with films stored on a server that are accessed via a network.  If the server will be ours or the film companies and how open the network will be are questions very much up in the air.  presumably the movies companies will want as much control over their films as they can get  but at the same time if in the future their is some equivalent to an MP3 format for film they may simply not be able to control the spread of their product and will be forced to reach some sort of compromise.

of course this assumes current trends continue.

Sincerely,
Michael

Gary Handman wrote:
Hi all

Here's the thing with streamed media/VOD/content providers... (and bear with me if you've heard me toss out this shopworn metaphor before):  they remind me of the myth of procrustes...you know the guy:  badass highwayman who invites unwary travellers into his digs...invites them to take a snooze, and then either cuts off their head and feet or stretches them to fit the bed size.

What seems to be happening here, at least to some extent,  that we're cutting off head and feet to match the technological bed...  I dunno about K-12 or publics, but I do know that in the particular academic environment that I work in there's a fairly bad match between between what is used and needed and useful and what's available to license as online content.  I ain't naming names, but I've talked to more than a few institutions in which faculty are gravitating toward using not the most apposite or insightful stuff, but instead,  the stuff which can easily be licensed and stuffed inside a learning management system.   I'm talking here about vendors who are selling "ready-made" video solutions--either locally uploadable "ready-made" files or access to a remote server loaded with content.  The picture is a little brighter when it comes to content licensable for do-it-yourself encoding and serving...but the costs and challenges to pull the latter off are daunting, to say the least.

I'm concerned...

Gary



At 10:08 AM 2/26/2007, Adrienne Howard wrote:
 
I work for the biggest K-12 school district in Portland, Or.  In our case, UnitedStreaming (US) was purchased and implemented by our IT department (IT) about 3 or 4 years ago, and I was told it was rather inexpensive (for them).    At the time, the streaming videos that were offered was mostly the older United Learning content.  Then IT came to us and said that if we wanted to digitize the contents of our library, they could host and deliver it through US.   Well, we had to explain that even if we were allowed to digitize our library that we would not need US because we can stream material through our Medianet web catalog and booking system.
 
However, I do not feel that UnitedStreaming is a joke.  With Discovery purchasing UnitedStreaming, the content is now a little richer, but I do wish IT had waited.  My budget for buying new material is ridiculously low, but if I bag full of money I would be looking towards purchasing digitized content from Schlessinger Media, Visual Learning Co. and Films Media Group.  If the content is good and relevant to the curriculum, it shouldn't matter if it's on DVD, video or streaming video.
 
But I think what pains me the most is that some people feel that a media library can easily be replaced by any inexpensive streaming video service.  I believe our IT department feels they can replace us, and they release monthly statistics showing some very impressive usage of UnitedStreaming at some schools.  However, when pressed for more information, we find that many students are registered to use US and some schools regularly set up the computers in libraries so that kids can view videos during lunch.  I feel this is great for the kids; it's better than YouTube and it's a good option for those kids that do not have computers at home.
 
But this is not classroom, face to face instruction.  The stats cannot compare - apples and oranges.   Our library was built over the years from the ground-up by curriculum specialists, and now the growth of the library is based on teacher suggestions and requests.  Our library is a true teachers' resource. 
 
Not all IT departments are monolithic and make bad decisions.  But if your IT department makes a lot of assumptions and doesn't ask a lot of questions, more than likely they also have the money to be dangerous.  :)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Adrienne Howard
Portland Public Schools
Multimedia Library - BESC/L2-30
503.916.3228
http://www-av.pps.k12.or.us   

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."

--Guy Debord




Scanned MGW2

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."

--Guy Debord

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VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.