and that the agreement allows for a certain degree of flexibility. It is also essential that the
agreement includes a get-out clause for the libraries if the provider consistently fails to
meet expected targets, as this may well be a cheaper option than seeking recompense in
A Video Repository Accessing an existing collection
A large regional library conducts a survey of the habits, preferences and requirements
of its users.While the results show that most of its facilities are satisfactory, the survey
identifies an under-utilisation of the library's significant collection of videotapes.This
collection spans several decades, and includes educational, entertainment, and miscellaneous
materials from professional companies, amateur hobbyists, and regional documentary
The head librarian conducts a further study into why the collection is not achieving
its potential and the results, garnered mainly from questionnaires and interviews, include
the following points:
- Library users feel that the steps required to watch a video (searching the catalogue,
collecting the tape from the video desk, finding the programme/clip required,
rewinding the tape afterwards) make using the collection very arduous.
- Users often do not find exactly what they are looking for especially in the case of
- Whilst textual metadata is helpful in identifying videos, many users of the amateur
collections have little knowledge of information beyond the title/keyword and
instead recognise programmes visually.
- The video room is small and often extremely busy. As the library has several hundred
computer workstations, most already with video cards installed, users would prefer to
be able to view the videos from these PCs.
The library has an additional problem in that it owns over 100 Betamax tapes and,
with the production of Betamax players having been phased out, the librarians are
worried about future access to the contents of these tapes, as their own Betamax player is
unlikely to last more than a few more years.
The head librarian decides that an ideal solution would be to digitise some of the
video collection. She would like all of the `shorts' to be available for viewing over the
library network (although this is not practical for longer programmes) and feels that it
is very important to improve the success of catalogue searches so that users can find
relevant tapes more easily.
Capturing and compression of the digital videos requires both specialist technical
knowledge and considerable processing power, both of which are expensive in terms
of hardware and personnel.The hardware and expertise required for this project is pro-
hibitively expensive for the library. However, while researching methods of achieving
digital access, one of the staff discovers an Application Service Provider who specialises
in presenting moving images over networks.The ASP is a well-established company
whose clients include small film and television companies, advertisers, commercial video
leasers, and one film archive.
The head librarian contacts the ASP and discovers that they can digitise moving image
material from film,VHS, and Betamax as well as capturing digital video (DV) formats.
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