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Growing Demand for Streaming Media Sparks New Initiatives at the University of Maryland Libraries

UMD Libraries partner with Ithaka S+R on research project, launch new media repository

To meet the growing demand for streaming media in education and research, colleagues at the University of Maryland Libraries have implemented a number of new initiatives to enhance their understanding about the educational need for streaming media and improve related infrastructure and services.

This year, the UMD Libraries will partner with Ithaka S+R, a non-profit research and consulting group, to explore cross-institutional evidence about streaming media licensing terms, learn about faculty members’ perspectives, and collaboratively develop negotiating and collection strategies. In parallel to this work, Ithaka S+R will conduct a US-wide survey and a series of targeted follow-up interviews with collections leaders, to evaluate the competitive landscape of streaming media licensing more broadly. As Danielle Cooper, Manager of Collaborations and Research at Ithaka S+R, asserts: “In order to more fully realize streaming media’s academic potential, it is essential for libraries to come together, assess the broader streaming landscape, and create new strategies for licensing and managing streaming use. This intervention will be most effective if libraries can connect on this issue across institutional silos.” Members of the research cohort, in addition to the UMD Libraries, include Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, among others.

By participating in this research project, the UMD Libraries will gain valuable insight into how the University community uses streaming media in research and teaching. Faculty have long used both documentaries and feature films in the classroom. More recently, the UMD Libraries have seen a surge in demand for streaming media in the social sciences and STEM disciplines. These include requests for media about research methodologies, laboratory safety and protocols, experiment design, and clinical practice. The move to distance learning brought about by the pandemic only increased the demand for streaming media to support the University’s curriculum and research enterprise.

The UMD Libraries' streaming media infrastructure also took a major step forward in June 2021 with the introduction of a new repository called Avalon Media System. In addition to improving the user experience for researchers, educators, and students, Avalon improves behind-the-scenes workflows for creating, describing, and managing the Libraries' audiovisual content. Within two months of implementation, three new streaming media collections have been made available to the global community: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange video recordings of performances, rehearsals, workshops, and interviews; University of Maryland Athletics' basketball films from the 1950s-1970s; and Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting Company) audio tapes that provide a comprehensive look at worldwide events delivered over the radio from 1957-1982. By selecting the open-source Avalon repository for streaming media collections, the Libraries maintain ownership of both the content entrusted to them and the systems required to host it. They also contribute to the sustainability of shared open infrastructure, thereby supporting all libraries and archives in their efforts to make audiovisual collections more accessible.

In support of UMD’s courses, the Libraries’ User Services & Resource Sharing team offers timely services that enable streaming of the Libraries’ media resources for pedagogical purposes. Faculty members can learn more about how to add streaming content to their ELMS course portals, including relevant copyright guidelines, by visiting the Libraries' website or contacting a subject specialist librarian

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