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.

1 comment:

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