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AV Streaming Group Recommendations


As some may recall, an AV Streaming Policy Group was formed in Fall of 2014 to coordinate the development of streaming workflows and policies utilizing the existing Cornell services, including eCommons, MediaSpace, and Blackboard. I’d like to extend warm thanks to those involved in the group- Danielle Mericle (Chair, formerly DSPS), Peter Hirtle (formerly DSPS, Copyright), Hannah Marshall (LTS, Metadata), David Ruddy (DSPS), Marsha Taichman (Fine Arts), Mike Tolomeo (Academic Technologies, CIT), Melissa Wallace (DSPS), Jesse Koennecke (LTS) and Wendy Wilcox (Access Services). There was a lot accomplished that I hope to review, along with sharing our final recommendations draft here:

As a bit of an overview, Kaltura is our AV streaming engine and it simply holds AV content and basic metadata, including caption files (if available), and then streams video to desired locations. Think of it as a water hose, it simply delivers water (or video) into your garden, your cup, (or eCommons), etc. It is a robust streaming mechanism that produces a wide variety of codecs (apps for encoding and decoding digital data streams) and compression types, playing appropriate versions according to the strength of the user’s internet connection and chosen interface.

With the updated look and feel of eCommons, we hope to better utilize the platform as a place for content where permanent access is desired. With regard to audiovisual content, we recommend eCommons as a common CUL repository that handles a wide variety of standard file types for download and now, streaming. Along with a publication quality file for download, the addition of a streaming player (Kaltura) is required for AV content to be viewable within the eCommons interface. Currently this embedding is something provided by library staff. This may be addressed in development as the group moves forward. Note: For digitized video content, 10-bit master files are not stored within eCommons, as they are too large for normal download capability.

CUL MediaSpace is a “YouTube”-like interface that provides short- to medium-term access to a range of AV content related to Cornell University Library. It is an out-of-the-box user interface for Kaltura. This is a place for “stand-alone,” ephemeral content and licensed content needing narrower access limitations than Cornell-only. An advantage of the MediaSpace environment is that it does allow access limitations on a granular level, down to a single IP address. One disadvantage is that content is only available to those with a Cornell net ID or guest ID. It is good for restricted-access AV content, content under development, or content with a limited life-span. If long-term access is desired, use eCommons.

CUL Digital Collections Portal is our Hydra-based platform for delivering a wide range of content originating from CUL’s collections. It is library-managed and published, currently with a focus on digital collections. This environment is good for thematically cohesive collections of AV and other content that require or benefit from substantial surrounding explanatory material to provide context, history, etc., and which would benefit from cross-searching other thematic collections within the portal. Search faceting is customized in order to better fit CUL’s growing digital collections. Development of this portal is ongoing and CUL is now an official partner in the Hydra community.

Workflow development occurred during the course of this groups work. CUL’s Course Reserve staff can now embed course AV materials into Blackboard at the request of faculty. This is done by going into a course in Blackboard and adding a link from Kaltura that allows the requested item to stream into the Course Materials section of the Blackboard Class. This helps us limit access to a course and to not avail access to a larger audience. A big thank you to Mike Tolomeo and Wendy Wilcox for working through this with me.

Finally, navigating the access provisions of audiovisual content can be tedious, due to complex (and in some cases, antiquated) copyright law. The library holds many different classes of AV material, from temporarily licensed materials to collections with donor restrictions. Peter Hirtle, Danielle Mericle and Amy Dygert created a matrix (found on the final recommendations page in Confluence) to help with this.

Any feedback is welcome as we move forward. I plan to periodically review and revise these policy recommendations with a small subset of the original group from DSPS, including Gail Steinhart (Scholarly Communication), Melissa Wallace (Web Design), Amy Dygert (Copyright), Karl Fitzke (Audiovisual Specialist) and Dianne Dietrich (Digital Curation).

Tre Berney

(on behalf of the AV Streaming Group)


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