Re: [Videolib] Streaming Videos from the Collection

Gary Handman (
Tue, 12 Jun 2007 09:27:52 -0700

Thanks God for a discussion thread NOT about copyright...'s my 2.5 cents (damn, I miss the cents key on the keyboard!): I
did a LOT of talking with CDIGIX last year...went to a little brainstorming
session they hosted in Baltimore. My final take on the company is that,
while the product and service they're offering may suit reserve-type
viewing (i.e. point-of-need digitization and short-term retention), CDIGIX
is largely not geared to supporting the long-term, on-going needs of
standing collections. If all you're doing is responding to the need to
temporarily put up requested titles, the CDIGIX route may work just swell;
if, on the otherhand, you're considering building "standing" digital
collections, I don't think they work very well. Like a number of other 3rd
party solutions, the CDIGIX route is predicated on wrapping content tightly
in a Digital Rights Management shell which requires specifying a particular
time frame (and, I seem to recall, a strictly delineated client
base). It's a model that's better suited for entertainment delivery than
library collection development and management, in my opinion. Although I
think you CAN somehow set the DRM specifications to open-ended, I seem to
recall that it's somewhat of a pain to do so.

Here's what we've finally decided to do here (and it's probably not for
everyone): We've recently purchased a Digital Rapids encoding unit which
will allow us to do in-house digitization to our specifications. After
months and months and months of agonizing about standards, I've finally
bitten the bullet and thrown in my hat in the...gulp...Microsoft
ring: we're gonna digitize for Windows Media and deliver over a Windows
streaming server. Our systems guys are staunchly anti-Mac, which pains me
greatly, but there's not much I can do at the moment. If they weren't, I'd
probably be encoding to QuickTime. We'll probably transcode the stuff we
license into MPG2 or 4, so if we change our minds about delivery standards
in the future, we can easily recrank the stuff.

So, how this will work: we will license appropriate content (Bullfrog,
California Newsreel et al), We've just gotten a small grant to support
four very large survey classes that have asked us to put up video
(fortunately, most of the stuff they've asked for is licenseable). We will
encode to Windows Media and serve out from our server. The materials will
be made available to all UCB-authenticated users, on campus and off. For
stuff available as "ready-made" Windows Media digital files (e.g. Films
Media and PBS), we'll buy these and mount them. For the stuff we've
encoded, the classes will embed links to the files in the course learning
management system. We will also fully catalog the titles and include links
to the video files in our OPAC, as well as in the MRC web site.

In the long run, one of the most challenging decisions for ANYONE getting
into this business of VOD in ANY form will be how to decide what to license.
As I've written earlier on videolib, there is often a fairly wide
disjuncture between what is actually being used or requested and what is
available for digital rights licensing. The bottom line at Berkeley is
that what's used most in classrooms (movies) is currently out of reach as
far as digital delivery. On the other hand, licensing ONLY those items
which are immediately needed to support curriculum has its drawbacks, too,
in terms of long-term collection development needs.

We also intend to begin digitizing stuff for which we believe we have
Section 108 preservation rights. These will be limited to building-level
IP addresses (although, if I were putting my money where my mouth is (cf my
recent diatribes on videolib re 108 rights), I'd make these more broadly
available to UC users both on campus and off. I'm still too chicken to do
this, I think.

I've decided to go the DIY route for a number of reasons: it's clear to me
that remote access to video via remote vendor's server simply isn't
satisfactory in terms of image resolution and size and network
efficiency. I really like Films Media's little front end (which allows the
user to define clip sequences and to create learning objects), but the
image via FM's server just doesn't make it.
We're doing the encoding in-house because, frankly, our Library Systems
Office is clueless and unwilling or incapable of taking this on. Campus
computing and our Educational Technology guys are similarly completely out
of the question in terms of economics, willingness, and corporate
culture. So...we're biting the bullet and trying it ourselves.

We get the hardware in a few weeks. Stay tuned.


At 08:12 AM 6/12/2007, you wrote:
>I've been talking to CDIGIX about licensing some of our videos to stream
>out and authenticate through Blackboard.
>QUESTION: What are your experiences with streaming videos from your
>collection, other vendors, any thoughts or comments on this topic will be
>great appreciated.
>Chuck McCann
>Dept. Head, Digital Media Center
>Florida State Libraries
>"Ask A Media Librarian" AIM account/e-mail:
>850.644.3094 or 850.644.5924
>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.

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley

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

--Guy Debord

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.