Vol 32 | No 1 | Fall 13
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Libraries Test Video Streaming Service

ImageIn an effort to provide our faculty and students with easy access to their course materials anytime, anywhere, the UCI Libraries have been testing video streaming services to see if it is a viable method to deliver video content required for certain courses.

Traditionally students have had to view films for classes in the Libraries’ Multimedia Resources Center (MRC). The Libraries have purchased a DVD for a minimal cost or placed the faculty member’s DVD on Reserve. During 2012-13, the Libraries offered a number of feature films via video streaming using a product called Digital Campus from Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. This allowed students to watch the videos remotely on Macs and PCs.

Not surprisingly, students highly preferred the streaming service over coming in to watch the film on reserve. However, availability of requested films was an issue as we received ten requests for streaming media from faculty, but only five were available through Swank’s Digital Campus. In addition, there is a substantial cost difference in providing the streaming service as compared to supplying a copy of the same feature film on reserve at the MRC. For example, the DVD copy of a feature film provided for a sociology class cost the Libraries $25, whereas the cost to stream the same title was $300 per quarter.

The Libraries are assessing the costs along with other products that may be available. Video streaming, while convenient for instructors and students, poses a challenge because it requires a substantial monetary investment to mainstream due to the high licensing cost associated with streaming institutionally licensed videos.

For further information, please contact MRC Manager Jose D. Perez (x47370 or jose.d.perez@uci.edu).