The W&L University Library is taking tentative steps in providing our students and faculty with online streaming access to films important to study and research at W&L.
One of these steps involves tapping into the Criterion Collection of critically-acclaimed “classic” films, newly available to educational institutions as a streaming resource from Alexander Street Press. This online database does not include every title Criterion offers in its full collection (many of which are available in the University Library in DVD form), but likely constitutes an experiment to see what happens when they try this approach in the college and university market.
Here are listings in the library catalog which contain links to streaming video access to the Criterion films specifically requested by W&L faculty:
In each case, any W&L faculty or students should be able to view the film from either on-campus or off-campus locations, with multiple users able to use the same video simultaneously. (At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. ) We also are looking into other newly-available streaming options from other providers.
So, what’s the downside? In a word: expense. Purchasing access to a streaming film usually costs considerably more than acquiring a DVD and, in such as cases as the above Criterion Collection, we may be able only to lease a given film for a year or for an academic term. And there may be other restrictions, as well, such as agreeing to not list a streaming film in the library catalog. (Strange, but true.)
The market for streaming video for colleges and universities is just beginning to develop, so we are likely to learn a lot in the coming months. We look forward to discussing these issues with faculty and students and to seeing what’s possible. If you have comments or questions, a starting place might be to contact Senior Reference Librarian Dick Grefe.