Video Award Proposal


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Video Award Proposal

  1. 1. Berger Proposal March 2006 Video in the Tufts Digital Repository Submitted by: Thom Cox, Tisch Library Beverly Gobiel, Tisch Library Anne Sauer, Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) Robert Chavez, DCA Robert Dockins, DCA Summary Video created at Tufts has become increasingly common as faculty integrate video into their teaching, and as members of the community seek to capture to video visiting speakers, student performances, and other special events that take place at Tufts. While successful efforts to deliver video resources are underway at Tufts, the challenge of enhancing access, managing through standardization, and preserving these resources has yet to be addressed. As Tufts video production continues to increase, a set of materials is being created that has long term value both for teaching and research at Tufts as well as documenting the history of the university. At the same time, there is a vibrant research community beyond Tufts engaged in work on digital video encoding, tools for description and access, metadata standards, and delivery environments. The DCA, in collaboration with Academic Technology, has developed and deployed a Fedora-based institutional repository system (Tufts Digital Repository, or TDR) that is intended to serve the university’s need for managed, secure, long-term storage of digital assets created at Tufts. The Tufts Digital Library, or TDL, is the primary user interface for delivery of public use materials in the repository. These systems already handle XML texts and a variety of binary data formats such as digital images, PDFs, audio, and SMIL objects. There is still a need to understand how we can best expand our implementation of Fedora to accommodate video in an efficient, usable, and sustainable manner. In this project we propose to pursue research in two complementary areas: first, in the archival management and preservation of digital video resources in the Tufts Digital Repository, and second, in the viability of delivery of digital video to the Tufts community via the Tufts Digital Library. While the issues are related, they encompass very different problems. Archival management requires standardized formats, large, high- quality files, and extensive metadata required to facilitate migration and management. Delivery requires complex encoding, offers a plethora of delivery formats, viewers, servers, and application options, all of which are highly changeable and thus pose a considerable challenge to service management. Given the extensive array of work that has been done in these areas elsewhere we anticipate that it will take some effort to thoroughly investigate the options they present in order to determine what makes the
  2. 2. most sense for Tufts. As an outcome of the project we would anticipate having a plan for sustainable management and preservation of these resources and an understanding of what is feasible for their delivery at the university. This project will develop a test set of videos for ingest into the TDR and will explore access and discovery of those resources in the TDL. We propose building a resource on best practices for video creation and management for Tufts faculty and staff, developing a set of guidelines and best practices for metadata creation, and surveying faculty on their past and current use of and future plans for utilizing video in their teaching and research, and establishing a path for moving forward with such projects in the future. We anticipate coming back to the Berger Fund for a second year of work to pilot using a larger set of videos, based on our findings in this project. Possible second year work might include further development of the workflows for ingest, the creation of procedures for creation of TDR/TDL compliant video, and to create training for members of the Tufts community interested in developing these resources. Narrative In 2003, the "Education In Motion" Berger Technology Transfer Grant proposal was selected for funding. The goal of this project was to augment the offerings of the Tisch Library by enhancing the quality and expanding the use of a core internet technology – streaming video – thus establishing a mechanism for the distribution of video content. Since its completion, several successful video projects have been undertaken from a variety of departments within the library including Music, LITS, and the very successful ‘Forever Free’ Exhibit. Having acquired the skills to plan for, produce, edit, and deliver streaming digital videos, we now find ourselves in the inevitable and advantageous position to ask what can we do with them and how can we preserve and maintain them for long-term access and use. In particular, how do we archive the original footage? Does one endeavor to archive a 14 gigabyte file or do you recapture the Mini-DV tape that resided in the camera during recording every time you need to make use of that footage? Meanwhile, the interest in streaming video as an educational enhancement has been growing. Philosophy Department professor Dan Dennett has been recording his course lectures and, with the help of Neal Hirsig, posting them as streaming videos to his Blackboard course site. This was originally the idea of his teaching assistant, and Professor Dennett has found it to be highly effective. The possibilities for enhancement of the educational experience using streaming video technology are abundant especially considering the possibilities offered by synchronized, integrated hyper-linking and voice-over commentary. Using software such as Macromedia Flash Professional 8, a streaming video could function as one window pane in a multimedia user interface controlling other panes where relevant links to web documents and other supplemental materials are spawned in-sync with the video timeline.
  3. 3. Additional (even user-selectable) audio tracks such as spoken word commentary, or foreign language voice-over, could also be added resulting in a user driven learning environment. Flash is only one option for delivery of this type of experience. Other solutions are afforded through the use of SMIL – the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. SMIL is a markup language similar to HTML and is designed to coordinate the display of a variety of media types on a web page. Flash does offer additional advantages however. Chief among these are flexibility and access. A Flash movie containing video compiles into its own high quality video codec that does not require a Helix (or similar) server to run nor an external RealPlayer application or RealPlayer plug-in. Instead, the video plays in the Flash Player plug-in that has been integrated into all major browsers for years and has an estimated 98% market penetration. Archives have taken the approach that separating content from delivery is a major component of digital preservation. This approach is based on an assumption that delivery systems in a digital world are highly changeable and thus efforts are better spent on preserving the original sources. How can we harmonize the needs for access surrogates with the needs of digital preservation? Research in the digital libraries and digital preservation fields is ongoing in the area of digital video. Projects such as the Open Video Project ( as described in the December 2002 issue of D-Lib Magazine ( and the Informedia Project ( are pushing the envelope of the use of automated harvesting and generation of metadata access points for video. Many of these projects are focused on developing repositories or digital libraries specifically for video. At Tufts, we have envisioned a repository that can accommodate a wide variety of content types, including video. How can Tufts leverage the research done by these groups in integrating video into our Fedora implementation? Different types of video are suited for use in different ways. A recording of a lecture or presentation has a spoken word component that could benefit from the synchronization of a transcription with the video. Musical performances or athletic events have different characteristics. TUTV creates unique entertainment programming for the Tufts community. Each of these types of video objects could behave differently and provide differing levels of access and discovery. Given the universe of video that we know exists at Tufts, what makes the most sense for each type in terms of management in the TDR and/or delivery through the TDL? Digital video is notoriously expensive in terms of download times and user access time. To discover a kernel of information in a 10 minute video will often require a user to view the entire video. Video files are large, yielding significant download times, and streaming has major overhead requirements on the system/server side. Enabling users to discover with a high degree of accuracy that the information they seek can indeed be found in a particular video file will facilitate a more positive user experience, but requires significant investment in metadata and discovery tools. How can tools such as those in development at the Informedia Project be implemented at Tufts? How can we provide a
  4. 4. realistic, scalable model for providing access to video resources in the Tufts Digital Library? The work of the project is envisioned to span two years, beginning June 1, 2006. Work in the first year of the project would focus on the following: • Research into the current state of the field of digital video repository management, metadata, access tools and surrogates, and delivery options. • Focus group discussions with faculty and other parties at Tufts involved with digital video creation and use to develop a set of robust use cases that will be used to guide future development efforts. • Focus group discussions with those currently tasked with delivery of video resources at Tufts to understand the resources available and current lay of the land. Participants would likely include Web Communications, TUTV, and the Tufts Distributed Applications Group. • Selection of a small but representative sample set of videos for testing. These videos would be used to test a variety of options for management, encoding, discovery, delivery, and metadata. • Development of basic content models necessary to support the management of archival datastreams in the TDR • Usability testing using the sample videos and the focus group participants to examine the measure the best end-user experience. I. Research: Access, Discovery, Metadata, Delivery Timeline: June 1, 2006 through September 1, 2006; plus time for review of final report May 2007. This work will be undertaken by Tisch staff, in conjunction with the DCA. In this phase of the project, research will be conducted on the existing universe of digital video repository projects. Tasks include: • Information gathering on digital repository and digital library projects focusing on video • Gather technical specifications, documentation, and best practices guidelines for metadata creation • Gather information on appropriate preservation copies and deliverable surrogates • Presentation of findings to project team • Survey faculty to find out what video projects are currently underway, have been completed in the past, or are being considered for the future. • Follow up questions of project team, including contacting other projects outside Tufts to seek additional information as appropriate • Attend and assist in facilitation of focus group discussions • Based on focus group discussions, generate initial draft of use cases • Make initial selection of testing sample of videos
  5. 5. • Working with the project team, assist in developing final report and recommendations II. Encoding tools, content models, disseminations, and delivery tools Timeline: September 2006-May 2007 This work will be undertaken by the DCA-AT development team and will fall into two areas. The first portion of the work will be to inform the technical aspects of the research undertaken in section I. above. Based on the conclusions drawn from the research phase we anticipate building some of the basic content models and disseminators to facilitate the management of archival video in the repository and some aspects of discovery in the TDL interface The budget includes $1,500 for software which we anticipate purchasing in order to enable working with digital video. Packages we would purchase would likely include Adobe Premier (ca. $700) for capture, clip creation and other tools, and a product such as ProCoder 2.0 ($500) for batch encoding and transcoding into a variety of digital video file formats. Research work will include: • Research technical implications of video encoding and delivery options • Determination, in consultation with DCA staff, of appropriate preservation copies and deliverable surrogates • Research metadata capture and delivery options • Develop workflow for capture and encoding of archival video format • Develop workflow for creation of metadata Based on the synthesis of the research work, the next phase of work would include developing content models and disseminators for sample video objects in the TDR. Content models and disseminators provide the basic means of describing classes of digital objects in the TDR and how users and applications can interact with digital objects that belong to a particular class. Briefly, content models define all the pieces of information that make up a digital object; they define the type and kind of metadata that accompanies and object, they define files and formats that make up the digital object, and they define the behaviors to which a digital object subscribes. Disseminators are the mechanisms that provide access to the behaviors of digital objects in the repository. For example, the content model of a digital video object in the TDR might define a preview behavior (say, a 1 minute video clip plus text metadata that describes the full video). An accompanying disseminator, perhaps called getPreview, could be created to allow a faculty member or student to retrieve the preview for incorporation into a class lecture; the same disseminator could also be used by applications (i.e. a multimedia viewer in the TDL) for immediate viewing. All the research performed in section I of this grant will help us understand how to build scalable and flexible content models and disseminators for TDR digital video objects that will serve the needs of the Tufts community.
  6. 6. III. Test content preparation, ingest, and testing Timeline: October 2006 through May 2007 Selection of videos for testing. Candidates include: • Forever Free Exhibit events (lectures, dramatic presentations) • TUTV programming (programs developed for broadcast over student run television station) • Friends of the Library Authors Talks • CMS Senior projects (documentary videos) • Athletic events (from TUTV) • Faculty lectures Content preparation activities will depend on the types of access tools and surrogates the project team decides to test. At minimum, preparation will include capture to disk, creation of downloadable and/or streaming derivatives, and metadata creation. Additional tasks could include transcription of spoken word videos, creation of indexes, development of storyboards, and other potential access vehicles. VI. Reports and documentation Timeline: March-May 2007 With the apparent interest in utilization of video across the Tufts faculty, a major outcome of this project will be the development and dissemination of best practices for the conceptualization and management of video projects as well as technical documentation on the preparation of video for delivery in an online environment. The project team will develop a report on their findings with regard to the management, preservation and delivery of digital video resources at Tufts. DCA will create a series of documents detailing best practices for the capture of digital video, encoding for web delivery, and standards and guidelines for the creation of metadata and access surrogates. This documentation will also include recommendations of software tools suited to this work. From the range of types and states of videos digitized for this project, DCA will create a cost/benefit matrix for preparing variable content for online delivery. This documentation will be made available on the DCA website as well as through the Tisch website. Sustainability Sustainability is at the core of this project. While many have developed exciting and dramatic tools for access and delivery of digital video, the purpose of this project is to determine a manageable, sustainable way to maintain these resources within our broad- based repository environment. By focusing first on preservation of the archival video we will be placing sustainability first. An emphasis on guidelines and best practices and training through workshops and documentation, this project will provide a strong
  7. 7. foundation for future development of video projects at Tufts. All content created for this and future projects will be preserved and maintained in the Tufts Digital Repository. The survey of faculty utilizing digital video will provide a roadmap to ensure these valuable resources are preserved and made available for future use. Budget I. Research: 240 hours @ $15/hour = $3,600 II. Technical research and development: TDL Graduate Student Assistantship (Computer Science) $16,500 III. Test content preparation: 240 hours @ $15/hour = $3,600 IV. Focus Group expenses: a. Catering (lunch for 12, twice) $500 V. Project Team stipends a. Thom Cox, Tisch Libary $1,000 b. Beverly Gobiel, Tisch Library $1,000 c. Robert Chavez, DCA $1,000 d. Robert Dockins, DCA $1,000 VI. Software $1,500 Total Budget Requested: $30,200 Fit with Berger Criteria: Successfully explore new technology: This project will explore the management and preservation as well as exploring the delivery of video in a digital repository environment. Increase productivity: This project will develop training for members of the Tufts community who create video resources and provide documentation detailing best practices for the capture of digital video, and will encourage planning for preservation from the point of creation. Contribute value outside the Tufts community, especially within the Boston Library Consortium: For the library community, this project will synthesize a variety of research on how to manage, preserve, provide access to video in a managed repository environment and explore implementation in a real-world setting. Project participants would offer a workshop to interested members of the BLC and write papers for professional journals in librarianship and archives management.
  8. 8. Add value to the secondary education environment: This project will provide long term management and preservation of educational videos and access to members of the Tufts community and beyond. Tufts lectures can be made preserved and potentially made available to alumni and friends, reflecting the university’s commitment to life-long education. Transfer technology to other staff, faculty and students: Tisch staff participating in the project will learn about the means and possibilities for expanding the video experience into a multimedia-rich learning environment by way of synchronized transcripts, integrated hyper-linking, voice-over commentary, and/or other supplemental materials. They will also learn how professional video developers are meeting the challenge of archiving raw video capture footage. Improve service to Arts & Sciences and Engineering: This project will provide a plan for sustainable management of digital video resources at the university. Create interdepartmental approaches: This project will involve staff from Tisch, DCA, and AT. In addition, participants will work with TUTV, students, and faculty from a variety of departments. Build teams of library staff and faculty: Participating Tisch staff will survey the faculty on their use of video, assist in the development and implementation of the faculty focus groups, and help create the faculty workshops on best practices and guidelines for capturing video. Enhance the teaching role of the library: By capturing video of Tisch lectures and events and making them available on the web, Tisch will be extending its educational role beyond the confines of the university to a broader audience of alumni and friends. Project Personnel Thom Cox, Web Developer, Tisch Library Thom will aid in the research of the means and possibilities for expanding the video experience into a multimedia-rich learning environment by way of synchronized transcripts, integrated hyper-linking, voice-over commentary, and/or other supplemental materials. Upon conclusion of research, Thom will lead the development of representative sample applications of this technology. In addition, Thom will research how professional video developers are meeting the challenge of archiving raw video capture footage. Beverly Gobiel, Electronic Resources Assistant Bev’s initial contribution will be to assist in the researching of other digital library projects focusing on video, and to create a documentation of findings to serve as a future resource. She will help to develop and implement a faculty survey to uncover previously
  9. 9. completed, currently underway, or future considerations for video projects, and will additionally compile and organize survey responses. Further into the project, Bev will assist with the selection of sample videos, help perform usability testing, and aid in the development of workflow. Robert Chavez, Technology Manager Rob will coordinate the integration of this project with overall work planning for the TDR and TDL. As the coordinator of the DCA/AT developers group, he will manage the fit of all technical developments within the project into the overall work plan for the TDR and TDL. Robert Dockins, Digital Resources Archivist Robert will bring his understanding of digital preservation and the Fedora architecture to the project. He will share in supervision of the CS graduate assistant with Rob Chavez. Anne Sauer, Director, DCA, and University Archivist Anne will facilitate the project work overall and oversee the Simmons student researcher. One of her primary roles in the project will be to represent the archival perspective.