Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2012

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Stream it! Providing a video reserves service at UT Austin
Laura Schwartz, Georgia Harper

Building: AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
Room: Room 102
Date: 2012-05-24 01:45 PM – 02:15 PM
Last modified: 2012-04-25


Introduction/background. For over a decade the UT Libraries has provided the Butler School of Music faculty and students with a well-regarded, heavily-used streaming audio reserves service. During these same 10 years, The Fine Arts Library has tried to create an analogous video service, but it has proved to be much more challenging. We have finally identified the hurdles and how we are going to jump them. These hurdles include copyright, setting up an infrastructure, and identifying equipment and staffing.
Need. Faculty affiliated with the College of Fine Arts are heavy video users. In 2009 the Audio Visual Library was integrated into the Fine Arts Library and the faculty booking service came along with it. This service processes over 2300 requests per year for 289 faculty. Some videos are shown to over 1000 students per semester. It makes little sense to have so many faculty members all competing for the same video to show in their classroom when it’s possible to make these videos available to anyone at any time. Furthermore, with services like Netflix Streaming, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes Video, patrons expect libraries to provide a similar service. And finally, faculty come from institutions where streaming video is available, places like Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee. They are very disappointed when we can’t offer similar services.
Current Status. In 2009, the UT Libraries beta tested streaming video reserves. Faculty involved in the test wanted us to continue to offer these services and we do so, but only for a very select number of faculty.
• Copyright/Fair Use. We must establish a reasonable fair use standard that faculty, staff and students understand and accept, so we can provide services in a way that meets our faculty’s needs while also respecting the interests of copyright owners. We expect that if we must decline a request, the reasons should be clear and alternative access should be easily and cheaply available to students through commercial services such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.
• Infrastructure. At this point in time, vendors are offering streaming files and services for which we do not have the proper infrastructure to support. The Libraries is, however, setting up a workflow and infrastructure that will allow us to acquire, catalog and serve streaming video files. Next, we will tackle the infrastructure for a streaming video reserves service.
• Funding for equipment and staff. Fortunately the UT Libraries has a workflow in place to digitize video. When the limited service we offer now is opened to more faculty, our equipment and staffing capacity will have to be evaluated.
Way forward/conclusion. The pressure is mounting. Other faculty wish to be included in the service we offer only a few right now. Ten years is long enough to “be in development.” I hope to say this year that this is a service we provide to all faculty at UT Austin.

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