Streaming Film Assessment

This year, the libraries are doing an assessment of our film collections in order to better understand how changes in the film industry and technology, particularly streaming options, are impacting the libraries’ materials budget.

We’re investigating everything we can think of:

  • Purchase requests
  • Statistics from our licensed streaming packages
  • Statistics for video placed on reserve and checkouts
  • How many “ripping” requests we receive (to make DVDs available for streaming) and how much time this requires
  • Film related workflows from request to delivery
  • What supports and services for providing film might be duplicated or supported by our campus partners, academic technologists in ITS and the Language Resource Center.

So far, we’ve:

  • Gathered statistics on:
    • Our streaming packages
    • Films placed on Reserve
    • Netflix use
  • Spoken to colleagues in the Language Resource Center to learn about all the ways they support the use of film in the curriculum
  • Devoted a student Library Advisory Board (LabX) meeting to get feedback from students about their film use in order to learn:
    • How often they use the collections for study breaks and entertainment
      • whether they consider checking out DVDs
      • what the libraries might do to make watching DVDs more convenient
    • How they view films required for class:
      • what happens if their schedule prevents them from viewing a film outside of class at a time the professor arranges?
      • how they watch a required film that may be available only through a platform the libraries are unable to support, like Amazon Prime or Hulu?

Our next step will be to send a short survey to about twenty professors who are known to use a lot of film in their courses in order to learn:

  • About how many films they may require in a film-heavy course
  • Whether their need for film is growing
    • Are standard courses taught from year to year impacted?
    • Does film play a larger role in newer courses?
    • Does the proliferation of available content suggest growing need?
  • What drives their preference for format?
    • Availability?
    • Accommodation (captioning, multi-language subtitles)?
    • Copyright?
    • Big screen vs laptop?
    • Picture and sound quality?
    • Convenience of delivery?
  • Are provisions made for students to view film outside of class time?
  • What if a film they want to include is available only on a platform the library cannot support (such as Amazon Prime or Hulu?) What accommodations do they make for students?
  • How might the libraries best support their need for film?
    • How might we improve the request process?
    • Should we investigate the feasibility of providing students with Amazon Prime, Hulu or other streaming platform accounts?
    • What other ideas and opportunities could there be?

We hope our assessment will inform:

  • Whether the evidence we gather supports advocating for more dollars in the budget, or guides difficult choices in order to balance the budget and curricular need
  • How we might improve our workflows from purchase request to film delivery
  • Hidden opportunities that may improve our collections and services in the future

If you have ideas of other avenues to explore, please let anyone on the AUX Committee know! (Assessment and User Experience)

Alison Masterpasqua, Amy McColl, Peggy Seiden, Barb Weir, Mary Huissen, Pam Harris, Pat O’Donnell – with much support for this project from Jessica Brangiel and Nabil Kashyap