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Online Videos to Your Desktop
by Jeff Clark and Reba Leiding

Would you like to find and view an educational video for your class on your personal computer?  That possibility is now a reality with the launching of the Online Video Pilot Project.  Members of the JMU community can now access approximately one hundred videos from the Libraries’ collection of Films for the Humanities and Sciences (FHS).  Anticipated uses for the online videos include classroom viewing, coursework assignments, and independent research.

Videos for the pilot were selected on the basis of high circulation rates, and include such disciplines as art, health, business, social issues, science, psychology, the environment, political science, and literature.  The educational videos typically range in length from about 30 to 60 minutes in length.  The longest is probably Kenneth Brannagh’s production of Twelfth Night, which runs 165 minutes.  But you can find plenty of interesting programs on non-theatrical subjects, too. The Benetton Story profiles a major and sometimes controversial marketing success. Illusion of News targets changing values in journalism and presidential election politics. Bill Moyers weighs in on Assessing Our Planet’s Health. The Art of the Celtic Manuscripts and Five Pillars of Islam deal with religious expression in artistic and living practice. And The Brain gives a succinct (20 min.) view of its functional nature. In all, JMU Libraries has licensed over 1,000 additional titles from FHS which will eventually be included in the online video project.

The online video pilot collection can be accessed through the Madison Digital Image Database (MDID) at http://did.cit.jmu.edu/.  Log in with your JMU eID and password, then click on Browse or Search and choose “Online Video Collection” from the collection menu.
All project titles are also listed in LEO, the library catalog.  To find the entire list of titles in Leo, you can do a Word search for the phrase “online video.”  Direct links to the individual titles can be pasted into Blackboard, web pages, e-mail, etc.  Look for the url in the Direct Link field within the Leo record to cut-and-paste.

QuickTime is the required media player for JMU’s online video collection. Two streaming options are provided for each title: a 500k option for fast, on-campus connections, and a 300k option for off-campus broadband connections, such as cable and dsl. (Note: Modem connections will not work.) Streaming means that the video files are transmitted and viewed in a continuous fashion with no delay while a file downloads. A download option is also provided for local playback with any MPEG-4 compatible player, but it is available to faculty only. This option is expected to be especially useful for group viewing in classrooms. Video quality of the streaming and download options is comparable to VHS video or better.

If you have any questions or comments about the Online Video Pilot Project please contact Jeff Clark, Director of Media Resources. We will be very interested in feedback on your experience with our online videos. It will help us improve the service as we continue adding new program titles during 2005!

Check the Online Video Pilot Project’s webpage for a list of all the titles included in the pilot project.

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