Finding & Using Video

Academic Video Use

Video is an impactful academic resource as moving images often convey more than written text alone.

This page introduces you to the major aspects of finding, creating, and using video. For more information on finding and using video, please contact Emily Cook, Instructional Design Specialist at the University Library.  

For more information on visual literacy, contact Access Services Librarian, Elizabeth Teaff.

For more information about copyright’s impact on media use, contact Elizabeth Teaff.

For help with technical aspects of video creation, contact Senior Academic Technologist, Brandon Bucy.

Finding Video

The following sections outline the process of an effective media search–a process that includes the identification of project need and the location of appropriate resources.

Identifying Your Need

Before you conduct your video search, consider the following:

  • What is the purpose of the video within your project? Will it serve as evidence, primary source, focus of analysis/critique/commentary, or raw data for scientific analysis?
  • What is your intended audience?
  • What is the environment for your project (e.g., academic vs. web page)?
  • What specific criteria should your video meet (e.g., content, file type, file size)?
  • Are there discipline-specific conventions for video use?
  • What video sources will you choose from (e.g., digital, analog, subscription databases, or personal creations)?

Pay attention to the following as you conduct your search:

  • rights and restrictions of use associated with video files
  • textual information associated with in video files (e.g., supporting text, user-generated tags, creator information, repository names, keywords, or other supporting information about the media file)

Adapted from the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

Understanding File Types

There is much more to understanding digital video than just identifying file types. Watch this video to learn more about video codecs, then review the below list of commonly encountered video file formats.

Common File Formats:

  • AVI [Audio Video Interleaved]: “Primary digital video file format used by Microsoft Windows. An .avi file can contain a variety of codecs but usually yields high quality video and typically generates a large file.” —Oral History in the Digital Age
  • MOV: “A primary digital video format developed and utilized by Apple and native to Quicktime systems. MOV files contain multiple streams of audiovisual or text data. A MOV file can contain standard or high definition video encoded using extremely high bitrates and a variety of codecs including H.264. MOV is also interchangeable with the MPEG-4 container format.” —Oral History in the Digital Age
  • MPEG-4: “Traditionally, MPEG-4 compression was utilized for lower quality Internet transmission of video, however, developments such as the H.264/AVC standard have enabled high bitrate and therefore extremely high-quality digital video and is being deployed by consumer and professional cameras as well for eventual access mediums such as Blu-ray Discs, downloadable video, as well as Internet streaming.” —Oral History in the Digital Age

Resources for Finding Video

NameSubject AreaDescriptionPermits DownloadingUse/RightsSubscription Required
Alexander Street Press Criterion Streaming Videomovies/film“Alexander Street Press is a publisher of award-winning online collections and videos for scholarly research, teaching, and learning. Our content is carefully curated by expert editors around specific subjects and disciplines, sourced from producers and archives around the globe.” —Alexander Street PressNOUsers can create clips of films and then generate either a URL or iframe code to embed into their own website IF they register for an Alexander Street Press accountYES (paid for by the University Library)
European Southern ObservatorySpace/Science“ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive astronomical observatory.” —ESO Site includes a wide variety of astronomical videos.YES“Unless specifically noted, the ESO images and videos, along with the texts of press releases, announcements, pictures of the week and captions, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, and may on a non-exclusive basis be reproduced without fee provided the credit is clear and visible.” —ESO
Click here for more details on how to interpret this license.
NO
Internet Archivevaried subject matter“This library contains digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download.” —Internet ArchiveYES“The Internet Archive Terms & Conditions state, “If a Creative Commons or other license has been declared for particular material on the Archive, to the extent you trust the declaration and declarer (which is rarely the Internet Archive), you may use the content according to the terms and conditions of the applicable license.”NO
Vimeovaried subject matter“In 2004, Vimeo was founded by a group of filmmakers who wanted to share their creative work and personal moments from their lives. As time went on, likeminded people discovered Vimeo and helped build a supportive community of individuals with a wide range of passions. Today, millions of people from all around the world enjoy Vimeo, and we’re growing bigger every day.” —VimeoYES on certain videos.
Vimeo’s Advanced Filter allows users to limit search results by downloadable content.
View Vimeo’s Terms & ConditionsNO
YouTubevaried subject matter“Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.” —YouTubeNO. “Downloading other people’s YouTube videos is not allowed.” —YouTubeView YouTubes information onCopyrightNO

Using Video

Once you have found appropriate video sources, you still may need to alter them to fit your project. Remember, as with any other data, avoid altering content in a way that may be misleading or misrepresent the original source.

Also, if you use the intellectual property of others, remember to provide appropriate attribution/citation.

Video Editing Software

Software NameAvailability
Final Cut ProAvailable in certain university computer labs and the Video Editing Suite on Leyburn’s Main Floor.
iMovieAvailable in certain university computer labs and the Video Editing Suite on Leyburn’s Main Floor.
Windows Movie MakerFree download available. Only for use on computers running Windows.

Creating Your Own Video

Just as when evaluating pre-created video content, creating new videos requires a consideration of audience, environment, technical criteria, and disciplinary conventions. There are many resources to help you make these important decisions, including a wide selection of Safari Technical Books.

The University Library provides equipment to help in the creation of media. View the list of availabletechnology for checkout.

Need More Help?

Emily Cook

cooke@wlu.edu