Thursday, May 28, 2009

Multimedia Online

The issue of how to provide access to audio and video content for our users will appear in our strategic plan as we update it this summer. Since the advent of CDs and then DVDs we have been relatively stable in this area. We buy quite a few DVDs and have a small collection of CDs. The DVDs are still heavily used, the CDs not so much.

We have already subscribed to the Naxos Music Library and Classical Music Library services that stream audio to authorized users. We have options to subscribe to more music services, and of course our students are accessing far more via services like iTunes.

Video is coming up close behind. Obviously on the open web services like YouTube are making video content much more accessible than it used to be and Neilsen is reporting that, while traditional TV still dwarfs video viewed over the Internet, Internet viewing is growing fast.

The question facing libraries is how do we participate in this move to multimedia content over the Internet with the particular issues that face information providers like libraries? These include:

  • We provide content free to authorized end users.
  • Instructors rely on the library to make scheduling of content for classroom use convenient.
  • The content we want to distribute includes far more high-value content (professional films, movies, documentaries, etc. ) than the open web. Content that is usually subject to copyright and access restrictions.
  • We are very concerned about the cost structures (annual subscriptions, purchase, etc.) and how sustainable these are.
  • We are very concerned about preservation over the very long term and the corollary: migration of previously collected content to new formats and platforms.
  • We are concerned about description, discovery, and retrieval of content.
All these makes video content over the web from your library a tough nut to crack. But there are beginning to be services out there that are interesting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Open Access to my dissertation

Yeah, OK, this is just yet another shameless plug for my dissertation. How long is he going to milk this PhD? You may ask.

But honestly, I have a much higher purpose. For the last few years the University of Pittsburgh, my alma mater, has required that dissertations be submitted in digital form. They are then made accessible via the university's ETD site. This is another example of an institutional repository (IR.) In this case a repository for a specific type of document; theses and dissertations. But it could serve up any kind of document or file. Other common IR's store and provide access to student work, organizational documents, scholarly articles, and archival materials. We are currently exploring how to create one here at Rollins around the products of our faculty/student research program. More on that to come.

If you are brave enough to dip into my dissertation, take a look at page iii, the copyright statement. I have agreed to allow access under a Creative Commons attribution share alike license so that, even if you access the document via ProQuest's Digital Dissertations, it is clear that you have more rights to use it that they might ordinarily allow you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wolfram Alpha

This is the latest search engine (is that even the right phrase? Wolfram Alpha themselves call it a "computational knowledge engine") that is sweeping the web this month

It isn't even live yet, but the high digirati have seen demos and are very excited. If you were at the FLA Conference you heard Richard Maddaus mention it.

It sounds as though it could be good for data and number crunching questions, but I always remember one of my ultimate reference questions, "How long was Christ's ministry?" I will enjoy seeingwhat it does with that.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Twitter at Olin

Dorothy has set up a Twitter account for Olin. Take a look and let me know what you think.
By the way, I was adding txt message tweats today from the FLA Conference from my mobile phone, TR was doing the same from his iPhone, and this blog post is also being written on my phone.
Mobile is not only about consuming information, but also creating it.