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University Faculty Describe Their Use of Moving Images in Teaching and Learning and Their Perceptions of the Library’s Role in That Use


University Faculty Describe Their Use of Moving Images in Teaching and Learning and Their Perceptions of the Library’s Role in That Use.

Abstract

The moving image plays a significant role in teaching and learning; faculty in a variety of disciplines consider it a crucial component of their coursework. Yet little has been written about how faculty identify, obtain, and use these resources and what role the library plays. This study, which engaged teaching faculty in a dialogue with library faculty, revealed a gap between faculty’s film and video information retrieval needs and provision of access by the library. Ultimately, the findings of this study can inform and transform library practices to make more moving images available for use in coursework and research.

As I have been evaluating all of our electronic resources, I have noticed that our streaming videos are among the most efficient resources available, in terms of low cost-per-use.  I am interested in extending the use of videos in courses, particularly in fields which are not the usual suspects.  For instance, I forwarded an announcement  from Alexander Street about their Engineering Collection, which includes case studies of major engineering failures (space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, Fukishima), as well as some successes (Apollo 13), to our engineering liaison for consideration.  Even though we are facing some potentially severe budget cuts, we have some room for selecting resources that can have an impact on our students.

This article also addresses obstacles to their use, including difficulties finding them.  Many faculty interviewed and surveyed did not realize that their library provided videos in the first place (how many times have we heard this before?).  As expected, the library catalog was not the first (or even second) place the faculty used to find videos.  First choice was, of course, YouTube.  UNT, like most universities, has a YouTube Channel (as does the UNT Libraries), but these are mostly promotional or instructional specific to library resources.  Perhaps we should include one on finding videos…or, perhaps the streaming video publishers should provide short clips of all the videos they offer that could be uploaded to YouTube, with links to the videos through the proxy server.

On the Rutgers Library home page, they have a tab for “Audio/Video”; on ours, you can search the Media Library, but it’s a little more difficult to get to.  And I’m not sure people understand that online video would be found by searching the “Media Library”. I’m a big believer in faceted searching in the catalog – they have this feature in so many other sites (e.g. Amazon, etc.).  Again, in our catalog, you can limit to items in the Media Library, but this option is buried in a drop-down selection list.

Issues specific to using the catalog to find videos were not all that different than those revealed for finding books: finding known items was easy; finding items by keyword or topic, not so much.  One respondent suggested that there be connections between 3rd-party sources (e.g. Amazon) and the library.

There was a general frustration with subject searching; faculty wanted “better search terms,” title suggestions based on search terms, system ranking of “most useful search terms,” autocorrection of
search terms, and “Amazon-type fuzzy logic.” Some said that specific search terms yield extremely broad and unrelated titles, or nothing at all. Finally, many respondents would simply like more subject access, such as links to fuller descriptions (such as on the film’s homepage) or indexing on the scene level, rather than the traditional summary describing the film as a whole.

Going  back to the “wasn’t aware” issue, it is disturbing that the authors suggested that the cause of this lack of awareness could be attributed to 1) a period of time when cuts were being made to firm order funds, and 2) when the media resources were cataloged separately from the catalog.  The library had resolved these issues, but the idea that the library just didn’t have videos had persisted among at least some of the faculty.  This information could have easily been passed faculty-to-faculty, with few challenging that assumption.  This is the sort of misconceptions with which libraries all over have to deal.  

Finally, there is the issue of interlibrary loan, with one faculty member making this statement: “I realize that this type of media is more easily damaged but [DVDs] are also sent to millions of homes each year by companies like Amazon and Netflix without too much of a problem.”  Hmmmm…But then, Netflix’s business model builds in the cost of replacement of damaged, lost and stolen DVDs; libraries have little room for that.

Typically, assessment of media has been been rather tradition – strictly the number of uses.  Some services provide more data, such as length of time viewed, average viewing sessions, etc.  Additional measures could include periodic surveys of faculty and/or students on use of library- & non-library-provided videos in classes and research.

While this article was just a case study, it should re-start the conversation about including media in the collections, as well as in the curriculum, especially for a student population that has literally grown up with video in their pockets. 

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2014 by in Academic Libraries, Collections, LIS Research.
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