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NISO Webinar: A Content Stream Runs Through It: Managing Streaming Media Collections in Libraries

June 12, 2013
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

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  • Agenda
  • Event Slides
  • Event Q&A
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About the Webinar

It is estimated that more than 50 percent of academic libraries offer streaming video services, and many faculty are incorporating streaming video content into their classes. Libraries are making excellent strides in supporting this information need. Collection and acquisition options and strategies, as well as legal issues associated with streaming video, will be highlighted during the webinar.



Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily: Wading into Streaming Video

deg farrelly, Media Librarian, Arizona State University Libraries

The 2012 chair of the National Media Market (http://www.nmm.net/), media librarian deg farrelly, will examine how video collection development differs from the print models librarians already know and the current state of streaming video from leading educational video distributors. The discussion will cover collection and pricing models, hosting options, and options for content identification and selection, as well as issues in library workflow related to streaming video.

Streaming and Digital Collections: legal responsibilities and pitfalls
Terrence McCormack, Associate Director and Head, M. Robert Koren Center for Clinical Education, Charles B. Sears Law Library, University at Buffalo

Law librarian Terry McCormack will review the legal issues related to the streaming distribution of licensed and unlicensed media content via institutional networks and the Web. The discussion will include the types of streaming media license agreements and the related implications concerning fair use, use in perpetuity, and the rules associated with distant education. The speaker will also address how agreements may define and stipulate the life of streaming content, types of digital storage, and methods of access. In addition, the obligations of the institution or library in obtaining copyright releases and permissions for streaming distribution of scholarly proceedings and related content will also be discussed.

Event Q & A:

Q: I was wondering if you could talk more about costs? When I see $300 to purchase a movie on DVD, that seems unreasonable. Have you been able to negotiate lower purchases in examples like that one?

deg farrelly (df) : That $300 seems excessive for an educational DVD stems from 2 different issues:  1) the cost expectation that videos are inexpensive, driven by the low-cost and high demand for mass market entertainment titles, and 2) a lack of understanding on how educational video is produced and distributed.

Educational and documentary video are expensive to produce, tho far cheaper than the earlier days of 16mm film.  They are often a work of love by a sole filmmaker.  With luck that filmmaker may see 1000 copies of their work acquired by libraries.  For example, the Kickstarter campaign for Media Education Foundation’s “White Like Me” is set at $36,000.  Mass entertainment, tho incredibly more expensive to produce, recoups it’s cost through box-office sales, and later through DVD distribution (not to mention product placement, toy tie-ins, etc).  The studios can afford to sell this content for incredibly low prices because they sell so many copies.  In 2012 “The Hunger Games” sold 7,400,000 copies; “The Help” 1,800,000 copies.

All that said, prices are negotiable for both hard copy and streaming files from all the major educational/documentary distributors.  This is one of the reasons I do the bulk of my video collection development during the National Media Market, where I can leverage my purchases to the greatest advantage.

Libraries routinely spend considerably more than $300 on materials in other formats.  Subscriptions to many scholarly journals cost well in excess of thousands of dollars.

And reference books often are priced for hundreds of dollars.  Yet with streaming video educational titles receive thousands of uses.  And our average cost per use for titles in Films on Demand is less than $.25

Questioning the costs of educational videos purely on the initial purchase price speaks directly to the way that media is treated as a “red-haired stepchild” in libraries.

Terry McCormack (TEM): The cost for documentary videos appear to some to be overpriced, however, we (the SUNY Buffalo Law Library) have consistently purchased video titles over the years due to the high use of AV titles in the classroom or as part of special programs or events. Deg effectively expressed the reasons for the “high” cost, however, for us the use of video titles has been so popular in our curriculum we view the ongoing purchase of video titles as well worth it and an essential service. Having said that, our collection manager is always working in conjunction with me to drive down cost per title, in most cases we accomplish this with bulk orders, for example we purchase four titles and acquire the fifth free. We continue to make every effort to negotiate prices downwards and this is a policy that we extend to purchases of streaming media content as well.

Q: How do you feel about ACRL Best Practices for Fair Use as it relates to video?

Q: Does the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video help with streaming video issues, or not?

df: While these questions are directed at Terry, I feel to need to reply. Codes of Best Practices are useful for considering your risk factors in choosing to stream without a license. The various codes that are out there provide guidance, but they do not have the power of law.

In my opinion, you want to be sure that your legal counsel endorses/approves of or backs in whatever steps you are taking.

TEM: Responding to both of the questions above as one, I completely agree with Deg. All guidelines concerning copyright (in general) should be viewed for what they are “guidelines.” Guidelines whether from ACRL, ARL or CONFU are designed only to offer you advice on how to proceed with the use of copyrighted media in the classroom or in an online situation. They do not offer an institution any protection from claims of infringement or violation of copyright. They are only to be applied for weighing the risk of using protected materials in very specific educational environments, with a tailored educational purpose, and in a very measured amount. Most important, the use assumes that a librarian or educator has and will follow fair use criteria before pursuing such a course and do so in good faith.

Reiterating and reinforcing Deg’s comment about university council, it is judicious to consult with an attorney that is a specialist in copyright law. In addition, if your University has a copyright compliance officer it is also wise to consult with them on such issues as well. As stated during the program, I am not a copyright expert nor do I hold myself out as one, copyright is a very complex area of law that many attorneys find to be challenging, it is always in your and your institution’s best interest to consult an expert.

Q:  Do you use an ERM to keep track of licensed on titles so you know when they expire and can evaluate ahead of time to renew?

df: Yes, we do use an ERM for all our electronic resources, including our licensed titles.  Tho most of what we have we have purchased in perpetuity, so that is not a big issue.

Films on Demand is, however, a subscription, shared with Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.  Films Media Group (the company that provides Films on Demand) loses distribution rights to titles every year.  We have arranged with FMG to notify us, twice a year, of the titles for which they are losing distribution rights, while they still have distribution rights.  We review the use data on those titles and determine which of the titles to buy outright while we still can.  Of course, we lose some titles every year.  But those that we lose generally are not of significant value to our collections.

Q: Regarding discovery of content by students through catalogue, social media (pinterest), library website, or serials search services -- do you have any data on how effective each avenue has been for ASU? which gets most traffic?

df: I do not.

We have worked to have catalog records for as much of our streaming content as possible.  The catalog provides more robust searching and limitation capability than the search engines of the streaming video content providers.  But new content is added regularly, and the catalog updated less frequently.

Journals, are indexed in depth by a variety of tools, but some users prefer to go directly to the publisher site, or journal site, or use archives such as Project Muse or JSTOR to search for  journal articles.  Worse, some choose to use Google or our discovery interface.

What is important is that you provide multiple approaches to get to the content…. Including being sure that other librarians know the collections exist, and the access to those collections are easy to find and use.

I found, in general, that it took little promotion to introduce our streaming content, and then knowledge of and increased use of the materials spread by word of mouth.

All that said, my Streaming Video libguide http://libguides.asu.edu/streamingvideo and is always in the list of most used libguides at ASU, at position #6 right now.

Q: What of fair use streaming of video for course reserves? See ARL's Code of Best Practices (2012) in which the authors state: "It is fair use to make appropriately tailored course-related content available to enrolled students via digital networks."

df: Fair Use is always a matter of all 4 of the Fair Use factors.  Many people seem to latch onto the “educational” use (nature of use) argument, while ignoring factors of nature of the work, portion used, and effect on the market.

In my opinion (I am neither a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV), using * limited * portions of a work will usually pass a fair use test.   But streaming requires deliberately making a copy of the work, and 100% copy is rarely defensible in fair use.

The TEACH Act includes other provisions, most notably, dis-allowing digital copying if a digital copy for education is already available in the marketplace.  Given that most of the educational/documentary distributors provide streaming copies or rights, that is a hard provision of the law to overlook.

TEM: I believe this question is referring to page 14 of the guidelines, and after reading it appears to be written with a predisposition towards print resources whether they be excerpts of traditional print or electronic. As Deg points out the problem with video is that a duplicate or duplicates of a video title have to be made, in whole or part, before streaming. In most (or all cases), I would not duplicate without obtaining the permission of the distributor or producer. The only exception is a title that is out of production and a copy is extremely difficult to obtain. Through distributors such as Swank or the traditional documentary companies, we now have the ability to license video materials “safely” for electronic reserve or course management systems. Remember also that distributors especially ones such as Swank are providing libraries with the wherewithal to offer short segments or clips of films for student review.

In short, and with leverage that is now available to us, it's not worth the risk!

Q: How do you track or manage a film as it goes through all the steps of selection, licensing, hosting, and access?

df: That all falls to our bibliographic services unit.  We use an acquisitions module and an ERM in our integrated library system.  But things do slip thru the cracks.

But in general, we treat our media as we treat other information formats in the collection.  We pay for it through a central acquisitions budget, orders placed by people who specialize in placing orders, cataloging by people who handle media cataloging,  etc.

Workflow remains one of the understudied components of streaming video, so it remains to be seen if there are process improvements to be implemented.

TEM: The streaming media requests, acquisitions, cataloging and circulation is managed through our integrated library system involving our university libraries’ central technical services as well as the two media librarians on campus.


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Registration closes on June 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm Eastern.

Registration Costs

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    • $125.00 (US and Canada)
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Additional Information

  • Registration closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on June 12, 2013. Cancellations made by June 5, 2013 will receive a refund, less a $20 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the webinar via e-mail the Monday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by Tuesday at 10AM (EST) please contact the NISO office or email Juliana Wood, Educational Programs Manager at jwood@niso.org for immediate assistance.

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  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact the NISO office to provide alternate contact information.

  • Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free webinar connection as part of their membership. You do not need to register for the event for this free connection. Your webinar contact will receive the login instructions the Monday before the event. You may have as many people as you like from the member's library view the webinar from that one connection. If you need additional connections beyond the free one, then you will need to enter a paid registration (at the member rate) for each additional connection required.

  • Webinar presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to the site following the live webinar.

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