Re: A/V within academic institution organization

Gary Handman (
Mon, 25 Oct 1999 11:53:46 -0700 (PDT)

There are basically two ways to look at film and video within an

from the standpoint of access/delivery technology and from the standpoint
of content. Historically, the relatively few academic libraries that
have committed to film/video seem to have stuck these operations a) in
with course reserves or b) in learning/computing centers or c) in
undergraduate libraries. The rationale for taking these approaches to
both physical location and staffing are obvious--and often woefully
misguided. It's my feeling that the much ballyhooed hype about digital
"media convergence" has only made matters worse.

The simple fact of the matter is that few academic libraries have come to
terms with media from a content angle--that is, to treat film/video as
unique and inestimably important forms of content requiring specialized
staff expertise (in terms of selection, cataloging, and access) and
specialized facilities. Instead, the strategy seems to have been to lump
all media requiring a player and plug in one room, in one category. =20

Effective administration of a medium (ANY medium) requires a knowledge of
the history of medium, it's particular quirks and strengths, it's unique
"grammar" and the ways in which it can be most effectively used in
research and teaching, a familiarity with the market that produces and
distributes it...etc etc. (each new medium also seens to require it's
own advocates and visionaries within the library to fight for a piece of
the budget pie, to demonstrate the utility of the medium as a teaching
and learning resource).=20

You just ain't gonna get all (any?) of this if you stick film, video,
CD-ROM tutorials, web authoring software, word processing machines, DVD
players and VCRs in the same administrative niche... Delivering VCRs to
the classroom has nothing to do with selecting and publicizing the
content that's played on those machines... advice...go for separate...go for professional
expertise...remember, the medium ain't always the message (the message is
the message).

Gary Handman

At 09:34 AM 10/25/1999 -0700, you wrote:=20




<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>We are in the process of
reviewing the role, staffing, and place within the organizational
structure of our Audiovisual Services unit. At the moment, A/V is part
of the Library's Access Services area, which includes Circulation and
Interlibrary Loan. The A/V staff includes 3 full-time employees (a
supervisor of 5 student workers, and 2 technicians) . In addition to
providing A/V software (videos, laserdiscs, etc.) for classroom teaching,
the A/V unit purchases, maintains and delivers equipment to classrooms.=20
The equipment function is what we're reviewing. Over the last few years,
the demands for increasingly sophisticated projection and multimedia
equipment has grown tremendously. In addition, the College's growth to 4
campuses, 10 extension sites and multiple buildings on the main campus,
has made maintenance and delivery of needed items more and more
difficult. Recently, questions have arisen over support for computer
projection equipment in computer labs/classrooms, support which was
traditionally provided by computer services. There has also been talk of
moving toward the creation of more multimedia-ready classrooms. We know
our present organizational structure isn't meeting the needs of our
faculty and students, so we are beginning to explore other organizational
options. My personal background is in Circulation, ILL, & Acquisitions,
with knowledge of A/V functions gleaned over the last few years. I know
some academic institutions house A/V within the library, while others
have separate A/V or media centers. I would appreciate hearing from
other academic institutions about the place of A/V within the
college/university. Answers to the following questions would be most
helpful to me, but I am open to any advise you would like to provide on
what has worked (or not) at your institution.=20


<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>Thank you very


<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>1. What services does your
audiovisual unit provide?</smaller></fontfamily>=20

<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>2. How are needs for
instructional media equipment met?</smaller></fontfamily>=20

<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>3. Where does the A/V unit fit
within the organizational structure of your

<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>4. What level of staffing does
the unit have?</smaller></fontfamily>=20

<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>5. Who provides the leadership
and planning for the unit? What previous experience did this person
bring to the position?



<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>Heather Blenkinsopp =20
(914) 674-7580 (voice)</smaller></fontfamily>=20

<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>Head, Access Services =20
(914) 674-7581 (fax)

Mercy College Libraries =20</smaller></fontfamily>=20


<fontfamily><param>Tahoma</param><smaller>Dobbs Ferry, NY


Gary Handman


Media Resources Center

Moffitt Library

UC Berkeley 94720-6000

"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)