Tuesday, June 5, 2012

ILA ACRL 2012 - Session 4 - Ready to Stream? Investigating Offering Online Video Content for Courses

In the final time-slot of the afternoon, Amy Paulus, from the University of Iowa, presented Ready to Stream? Investigating Offering Online Video Content for Courses.

The U of I had the (rare and wonderful) instance where there was a surplus of collection funds available for use and decided to partner with their Film Studies department to form a partnership for a pilot video streaming program.  Paulus clearly articulated some of the considerations to keep in mind when beginning a program like this:
  • Manpower (both within the library and with someone with expertise in using the necessary technology)
  • Vendor with the content available and/or server space for ripped content
  • Someone with the expertise to review and negotiate license agreements 
  • The equipment and ability to rip DVDs
  • Linking URLs
  • Communication with instructors (before during the planning & after, as they are using the videos)
  • Cataloging (for long-term or perpetual access items)
  • Technology (being sure the content is password protected, and computers are equipped with the proper software to work with the materials)
  • Funds (licenses aren't cheap, neither is storage or staff time)
Paulus summarized some of expense totals, noting the cost of digitizing and storing a title or purchasing digital access, along with licensing averaged to $148.76 (some of which weren't perpetual access, but may have to be renewed in the future); they were able to provide streaming access to 75 films.  This pilot project impacted fewer than 100 students.  She noted that this project took significant staff time, but the feedback from the professors was positive and they would like to see the service continue. Distance education classes particularly loved it (I'm sure for the convenience of being able to stream materials rather than track them down locally).  In the future Paulus noted that instructors may request online content/streaming and the library will do their best to make it available if it is provided through a vendor, but because ripping and converting content was so time consuming, they would not offer that aspect of the service in the future.  

One alternative to finding vendors or in-house ripping/licensing negotiation, etc. is Films on Demand--perhaps not the fanciest resource for connoisseurs of film (as this pilot population is), this database holds films on a wide variety of topics and allows for streaming, showing of just a segment of a film, and creating playlists on certain topics.  For an institution the size of GV and with our budget, Films on Demand is a much more reasonable resource and adequately fills the current needs of the learning community we serve.  

ILA ACRL 2012 - Session 3 - Green Academic Libraries

Green Academic Libraries: Sustainability in Iowa and Beyond was delivered by Mara M J Egherman, of Central College.

Enthusiasm was evident throughout the presentation as Egherman spoke about the responsibility to promote green practices within libraries (beyond the obvious considerations like building design and construction materials). One example that I hadn't previously considered but makes complete sense is the placement of bookshelves around exterior walls.  This creates additional insulation, but does bring a few questions to mind:
     1) How would arranging books in this manner impact the user experience?
     2) How would fluctuation in temperature impact the books' durability? (We talk about climate control, especially during the summer months when humidity tends to creep in and curl our journal covers, but would using books in this way compromise our efforts to preserve materials?)

Egherman brought up big questions like:
     How have smart phones, student laptops & tablets, and other devices impacted the power needs of libraries, and how can we be more proactive about how we handle those needs?
     Should students be able to use the library as an e-recycling point for their electronics?
     How do libraries and universities dispose of their discarded electronics?
     Is cloud power greener than on-site storage?
     Which resource is greener, print or e-book (keeping in mind user habits)?
     Moving forward, what can individual libraries & larger library systems do to reverse their carbon footprint?

We all know of the daily can-dos.  Things like using recycled paper products, carpooling, choosing reusable materials over disposable, double-sided printing, and choosing eco-friendly fonts (like Century Gothic, which uses less ink), but what else can we do?

Others brought up an important point noting that manpower must also be sustainable, and there are certain limits to which it can be stretched.  This needs to be considered when looking at implementing a green initiative.  Do the green benefits outweigh the costs to the institution, the population you serve, and to the staff.

One of the most helpful parts of this presentation, beyond just getting a dialogue started, was the great selection of resources Egherman shared.  Below are a few: