Expectations and Realities of Streaming Video
Libraries want to support curricular needs for video content, but meeting needs can be difficult when faculty are inflexible regarding title, format type, and timeline. How many of us have gotten the email saying I need a specific film to show in my class on a date that is suspiciously close to today? Many librarians actively try to educate faculty about the importance of asking early for class required content. That message doesn’t always get through. It can also be hard to break the expectations library patrons have regarding streaming video for personal use. So many people are consuming streaming video via a variety of platforms and that content is easily available on interfaces that keep working to make staying on their platform easier and more desirable. The content can be nearly instantaneous, when renting (leased) or purchasing (perpetual) new content. However, purchasing and delivery models for some of these platforms may not be as manageable for libraries as it is for an individual purchasing content for their own personal use. For example, they may not allow for IP authentication with site wide license, or they may require payment for “individual only access” at the point of need. How can the library provide access to streaming video content that meets the needs of the academic community while competing against the large variations in options available to individual users? More importantly, should we? Should we instead be working to manage expectations and educate patrons on costs, processes, and restrictions the library faces in availability and access as opposed to what individuals encounter? What have we been doing recently to cultivate conversations on this topic? What resources are we providing for streaming video in general? How are we tackling changes in access regarding streaming video collections? What alternative solutions are being offered and how feasible are those solutions for both faculty and the library? When is it more feasible to promote a DVD as an alternative? What role do librarians have in educating the campus community regarding copyright and fair use for both streaming video and DVD? Coming from both a large and a medium/small university, we will look at what methods and communication our libraries have been implementing to answer these questions. Presented at the ACRL 2021 conference, held virtually April 13-16, 2021.