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More Video Wanted — If They Can Get It

Professors and students are hungrier than ever to use video in the classroom and in their research, but they still have trouble getting the materials they need. So says a just-released white paper “Video Use and Higher Education: Options for the Future.”

The paper pulls together the findings of the Video and Higher Education Project, an anecdotal study on video use in higher education paid for by the Copyright Clearance Center and conducted by Intelligent Television with the help of New York University. The project interviewed 45 faculty members in more than 18 disciplines at 20 institutions, with particular emphasis on NYU.

Carol Mandel, dean of the NYU Libraries, said that the study confirmed what we already knew: how important video has become in teaching and research. She was intrigued, though, “to see the extent of news and documentary media that are being used, and that they’re being used across disciplines.”

Five years ago, Ms. Mandel said, technology was the biggest barrier to the educational use of video. Technological hurdles still exist, the white paper points out; many university video collections are heavy on older formats and are not easily “networkable” or streamed.

But the biggest problem now is probably licensing. YouTube posts 13 hours of video every minute, the paper says, but is not exactly one-stop shopping for higher-ed audiovisual content. “Video is so locked up because of the concerns of the video-content production industry that it’s just really hard to get at material,” Ms. Mandel said. “We need a much better fair-use and licensing environment for video.”

Sensing a business oppotunity, the Copyright Clearance Center wants to work with NYU and other institutions to develop AV-licensing arrangements, as it has done with print material. “It’s important to get some solutions in place as quickly as possible to facilitate the exchange of information on campus,” Tracey Armstrong, chief executive of the copyright center, said.

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