VRT (Video Round Table) RoundTable
Carleton Jackson was one of the founding members of VRT. He is the Head of Library Media Services, University of Maryland Libraries, where he manages a library and staff specializing in physical and digital media collections.
What was happening in 1991 that (in your opinion) inspired the creation of VRT?
Actually the question should be what happened leading up to 1989, the beginning of the Video Interest Group. The VIG was created specifically to begin the process of creating VRT. The “Pearl Harbor” for this was the elimination of ALA Video and Special Projects unit (headed by Sally Mason-Robinson). That began a protest and organizational activity that lead a core group of media-oriented librarians to start creating a librarian-oriented and -driven group to meet our needs. It was led by a variety of folks who wanted immediate action. While there were about 20 of us who ran around and got signatures, went to hearings and lobbied folks (especially Gary Handman) the “official” figureheads became Sally Mason-Robinson (independent), Pat Lora (a public librarian) and Jennie Kreamer (a university librarian). VIG was created to be an umbrella interest group for all information that moves and/or makes a sound.
What was your role?
Even before that, many media interested folks started to loosely form with ALA groups that had similar interests and/or structures. For example, Gary Handman and I got together coming out of what was then known as “library instruction.” We came to video because each of our institutions were longtime film and video collectors. And we were relatively “young and groovy” (at least to ourselves). We had started working with others of like minds; now there was group to join in ALA that was media-oriented. ALA Video (which did create some early PR videos) was an internal ALA structure we could hang our skills on. There were groups outside of ALA for librarians (especially the American Film and Video Association) and university technology support (CCUMC) but there was no ALA member organization to join, per se. When ALA Video was cut because of budget constraints and the overwhelming short-sightedness of ALA, it was a call to arms!
The round table structure was identified as best for folks no matter what their institution. Public, school, university, and corporate librarians could find common ground. At that time a round table could only come from a demonstrated interest in a topic not already available, and two years of interest group activity was then the main way to demonstrate. So the Video Interest Group was formed, leading to the creation of the Video Round Table two years later.
What are some of the major changes you've seen over the years in both the VRT and media librarianship?
Note: There was then, and has been since discussion of the word “video” in the name. It was decided that the group was interested in all things media, but that video was “new” enough to hang the evolution of the group on. It was essentially an “emerging technology” though media had existed in other formats for a long time. But video (and other magnetic media) was making it a format “for the people.” It was cheaper to acquire, more readily able to be borrowed, and usable for groups and individuals. And publishing took off both for educational market and the new home market.
What may have created a second wave of media interest, was of course the opening of the digital frontier and evolution to the digital mainstream. Media played a significant role in bringing text along with it. And the role of media-collection trained librarians expanded broadly first to collections and access, and later to media as data, creation of media-rich data, and instigated use.
Where do you see VRT—and the field of media librarianship—going in the future?
I don’t know if the name “video” is part of the future as much as some concept that shows that all data, all media, all material has become “transmedia” in collecting and access. Media librarians are now “everything” librarians, looking to a variety of methods of finding, creating, compiling, curating, using all data that are all about creation and use for all senses: visual (image, moving image, data visualization, presentation) audio (sounds, music, spoken word, raw and compiled data), big data curation for experiential learning, all the while still collecting, conserving, preserving and creating access and derivative uses. We are also now all about the crowd (sourcing) and the cloud.
You may note, either through luck or design, how many “original media” professionals are at the stages of their careers where they are directors, deans and heads of libraries, organizations, and institutions where media is not the specific mission, but where media collecting is very robust. It’s because we all know where we came from. ALA was publically behind for a long time even when the membership was far ahead. It’s the nature often of big groups to not reflect their own leaders for a time. But they catch up eventually.
Do you have any particular memories or stories from the early days of the VRT that you can share?
The most memorable of all activities is the networking and interaction of the members. We had battles with the ALA at first and later got ALA to support our skills and professional desires. But the networking of colleagues from all areas of librarianship and the interaction with those creators and distributors of media was always fantastic! We worked with top companies that dared to do more: the whole array of National Media Market companies and other independents. Some of the best were Films Incorporated, Time Life/Ambrose, Bullfrog Films, Women Make Movies, Films for the Humanities and Sciences (I like the old name still), Annenberg, National Film Board of Canada, First Run/Icarus Films. Really, there are too many to mention. In more recent years we’ve worked with companies that are part of the evolution to digital distribution like Alexander Street Press, Films Media Group, Media Education Foundation, etc. All were willing to work directly with libraries and librarians to move the industry and collections into the new world, sometimes a little late, but often before the wave.
And the folks who have been members of VRT and served the membership, and/or just got together for meetings, galas, programs and a whole lot of socializing are just really great, and often unique characters. To paraphrase Mr. McLuhan, the media librarians are the messengers and the messages!
*Many thanks to Carleton Jackson for allowing us to interview him, and to Rachel King for conducting the interview and compiling the responses, above.
Dear VRT members,
In accordance with a decision made at our Executive Board meeting on June 27, I submitted the following response to the U.S. Copyright Office's Notice of Inquiry regarding potential revisions relating to the library and archives exceptions in the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 108 this morning (Wednesday, July 6):
Dear United States Copyright Office,
At our June 27 meeting, the Executive Board of the American Library Association’s Video Round Table (an organization which is designed to serve the needs of both media librarians and those individuals who are involved with media matters in any way in their libraries) unanimously voted to respond to your Notice of Inquiry by regretfully declining this opportunity to provide feedback on potential revisions to 17 USC 108. The primary reason we are unable to fully participate in this process is that one month is not enough time for widely-dispersed, national organization like ours to solicit feedback from our entire membership. We did, however, wish to inform you that we fully endorse the “Statement of the Library Copyright Alliance on the Copyright Office’s Notice of Inquiry Concerning Section 108 of the Copyright Act” which is available online here:
We would particularly like to echo the LCA’s concerns about the lack of transparency related to this inquiry and note that we share their expectation that the Copyright Office will “publish a list of the interested parties it meets in the course of this inquiry as well as a detailed summary of what each of these parties advised.”
The VRT Executive Board
We are urging all of our individual members to also utilize the meeting request form COMMENT BOX to express your support of library community copyright representatives (LCA), and concern with the lack of transparency with the Notice of Inquiry process and drafts changes to 17 USC 108. You may also wish to include other strategic and succinct concerns around 17 USC 108. For more information, please see the message Nell Chenault and Howard Besser sent to the VRT-L listserv on July 5.
VRT Vice Chair/Chair Elect
139475 Further Down the Alphabet—Embracing B Movies! (co-sponsored with PLA). Can you recite the titles of every Oscar-winner, while finding yourself at a loss in the face of patron requests for movies about mutant vegetables? Never fear! This program will help you handle these requests with confidence. Come explore the world of B, C, and D movies to find films your patrons will love. Saturday, 6/25, 10:30-11:30am, OCCC W206A
139491 Section 108 VHS Preservation: A Collaborative Database for Due Diligence on VHS Videotapes in Academic Libraries (co-sponsored with PARS/ALCTS). Section 108 of U.S. Copyright law permits preservation of VHS videotapes but requires that a reasonable effort be made to discover the distribution status of each title. If that sounds daunting, don’t despair. This presentation will introduce you to a new database designed to help. It ispossible to preserve the VHS in your collection while staying on the right side of copyright law. Come learn how. Saturday, 6/25, 3-4pm, OCCC W101B
139484 Academic Library Streaming Video Revisited: Key Findings from the Follow-up Survey. The latest research available from this ongoing study reveals remarkable changes that will help inform academic librarians and administrators in planning and developing streaming video collections and services in a rapidly changing environment. This talk will tell you everything you want (and need) to know about recent trends in library streaming video collections. Saturday, 6/25, 4:30-5:30pm, OCCC W101B
139505 Creating Effective Instructional Video: From Collaboration and Design to Assessment. The demand for distance learning is growing exponentially, which means that the need for engaging online library instruction has never been greater. Come hear three experts offer their advice on creating—and assessing—top-notch video tutorials. Sunday, 6/26, 1-2:30pm, OCCC W103B
139533 Publishing Opportunities in Media Librarianship: A Panel Discussion. Do you want to publish but feel as if you could use some inspiration and advice? This panel of accomplished authors and editors will be offering their tips for both experienced and novice writers. Bring your questions!Sunday, 6/26, 3-4pm, OCCC W206C
Gary Handman was the first elected Chair of the Video Roundtable. Before his retirement, he was head of the Media Resources Center at the University of California/Berkeley's Moffit Library for three decades.
What was happening in 1991 that led to the founding of the Video Round Table?
VHS was invented in the late 1970s. Public libraries started collecting as early as the early 1980s. Although immediately popular as a home entertainment medium, video had a considerably rockier entry into libraries. There was a huge amount of questioning about the role of the medium in library collections. It was thought of as too popular, as competing with book budgets. At that time, also, the video industry—particularly the education and independent video vendors—was trying to figure out what dealing with the library market was all about.
VRT predates 1991. It was initially called the “Video Interest Group” and it was started around 1988, or 1989 by Pat Lora and Sally Mason-Robinson. A group of maybe ten people got together as an interest group to discuss pressing issues having to do with video collections and services in libraries. There were also a lot of vendors hovering around the group initially; many more vendors were involved then than now. This was the first time they had an entry into talking to libraries. After a couple of annual cycles the interest group formally petitioned ALA and was formally accepted as an official round table.
One of VRT’s important early connections was with ALA’s Video and Special Projects unit headed by Sally. Unfortunately, VSP was was shut down by ALA in 1991. (Handman wrote an article about the demise of this group in the November 1991 issue of American Libraries titled, “The Short Life and Ignominious Death of ALA Video and Special Projects.”)
What was your role?
I was first elected chair after we became a round table. We were trying to figure out our relationship with vendors and to encourage vendor-librarian interaction. We were also trying to figure out how to develop strategies and tools to encourage and support the building of quality video collections in libraries of all types.
I had access to Berkeley’s servers and was able to start the Videolib listserv not long after that, no later than 1995. The list provided unparalleled opportunities for video librarians and video vendors to interact and discuss issues of common concern. I feel that creation of the list was the single most important thing that I accomplished as VRT chair.
Where do you see the Video Round Table and video librarianship headed?
Early on, media was often viewed as a wayward stepchild in libraries. Over the past thirty years, a good part of our time as media librarians has been spent rationalizing our existence. Even in an age of ubiquitous, online media, things have not changed all that much. Media centers continue to be one of the first things to go in fiscal hard times, and the existence of media librarians is questioned. The internet and streamed video give the illusion that since media is universally available, mediators and collection builders are superfluous. In academic libraries and elsewhere, there’s a perception among administrators that standing collections are not necessary, or that they’re financially irresponsible or unsupportable.
Personally, I will go to my grave disapproving PDA models. In an academic setting, we have had a mission of guiding collections that are anticipatory of both present and future scholarly and teaching need. Faculty and researchers would, frankly, be screwed without us. Now we’re seeing completely transitory collections built on short-term assessment of need and want.
I’m deeply concerned about where media collections are going. We’ve increasingly turned to drive-by budgeting supporting “just in time” collections, and that, I think, is really sad. It’s a sort of creepy, widely held perception of academic library administrators that the only stuff worth collecting is the stuff that’s identified as expedient and currently useful. Creepy and short-sighted. On the other hand, if you’re not going to have a professional on board who knows the “literature,” who is familiar with programs and needs, who can serve as pro-active advocate and partner in the teaching, learning, and research enterprise, you might as well go on auto-pilot and call it quits. I’ve got to say that I’m sort of glad I retired from the business when I did. It was a wonderful 35-year run, but I’m not particularly sanguine about the future role and direction of video in academic library collections.
The good news, of course, is that the video content universe has continued to explode. When I started in the media center in the early to mid 1980s there was almost nothing to buy. Three-quarters of the collection was ¾” tapes. We had the BBC Shakespeare and PBS. We had a handful of film-to-tape survivors from the days of old, rickety educational film. And that’s about it. Now there’s a hell of a lot more that you can lay your hands on—an astounding amount more, really. Important international feature films and independently produced films once impossible to obtain in video are now readily available in various formats. Archival and historically important films are increasingly becoming available on the internet. And then there’s YouTube’s Pandora’s box…
Can you share with us any stories from the early days?
Very early on, the VRT was like The Wild Bunch. We were very close friends and we would hang out with each other socially during ALA conferences. A half dozen or so of us would go out and do things at ALA. Galas were pretty wacky. I remember one year in the mid-1990s ALA was in San Francisco. I planned the gala to take place on a cruise ship out in the Bay. That was fun, but, unfortunately, I hadn’t planned for getting participants back to their hotels after the event. We had 150 people from out of town wandering the San Francisco docks.
One year we had Michael Moore as our special guest at a gala. It was either just after or just before Bowling for Columbine. This was before Michael Moore was MICHAEL MOORE. In talking to him, he offered to guest lecture a documentary film class I was teaching at the time at UC Berkeley. He wrote his personal cell phone number on pie plate, which I kept above my desk until it faded. (The lecture never quite worked out). Another year in D.C. we had John Waters speak. Five hundred people came to the gala. It was full tilt. The auditorium was jammed with hysterically laughing people.
Digital Video Collections Guide
Below is a curated bibliography, mirrored from the University of Minnesota Digital Video Collections Guide, consisting of quality licensed and open digital video collections that has been inspired largely with support from Arizona State University (deg farrely) and some resources culled from various institutions in the LibGuides Community. This resource is being shared on ALA Connect as an Online Doc with the hope that a community of media interested professionals will contribute further links/descriptions of quality licensed or open digital video collections, and repurposed as they see fit to meet the needs of their constituents. Attribution is greatly appreciated, but please repurpose regardless.
Considerations for adding a resource:
Please add links only to legal digital video collections and those that you feel represent high quality content that would be of value to various constituencies. This guide is currently academic focused, but as the Video Round Table represents diverse media needs, video for k-12, public libraries, special libraries, museums, etc.. are certainly appropriate. Please do not include links to other video bibliographies unless the character of said resource is unique (e.g., Berkeley's MRC Guide). When adding a link to a digital video collections, please submit the URL specifically to the video search page and/or sub-collection of video clips, not the primary homepage of the collections' sponsor (unless they are the same). Accordingly, multiple links to sub-collections (e.g., LOC digital video collections) are acceptable. Finally, the licensed resources below are for the licensed collections at the University of Minnesota. If your institution subscribes to these collections, you will need to update the links for your own configurations.
To Contribute New Resources: first, login (top right hand corner. Non-ALA Members register here free). Then, feel free to add exemplar digital video collections, create new subject areas, clean up descriptions, revise links, and of course, repurpose for your audience! The goal of this guide is to promote digital video collections of content, not necessarily single titles. Please do not include links to websites in the promotion of a single title.
I will try to maintain this site on an annual basis to insure the links are up to date and these collections are still active. To assist with this process, the links below are referred through the UMN Libdata system, but feel free to add links directly to digital collections. If you have any questions/comments please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me directly Scott Spicer (email@example.com).
Update: I created a couple of prototype Google Custom Search Engines to search a) licensed and selected freely available streaming video collections and b) select freely available streaming resources inspired from the list below. See Connect posting for more details: http://connect.ala.org/node/237479
Many Licensed and Popular Educational Media Streaming Sites
Open Streaming Video Resources
Media Outreach and Learning Spaces Librarian
Past Chair, Video Round Table
University of Minnesota Libraries
| Licensed Streaming Video Collections
These are amazing collections of streaming video titles the UMN Libraries have licensed. These collections are restricted to University affiliates (requiring .x500 for off campus access).
Digital Media Discussion Group (Convention Center 159)
Saturday, January 9 1:00-2:30 pm
The Digital Media Discussion Group serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas about initiatives and projects concerning digital media in libraries. Examples of issues discussed in the past meetings include digital licensing concerns; new market technologies (such as high definition DVD formats); video gaming and collections; and multimedia production in libraries. Discussion moderated by Ben Franz.
Northeastern University Libraries Digital Media Commons tour
Saturday, January 9 3:15-4:30 pm
Come visit the cultural and educational hub of Boston and join Video Round Table for a tour of Northeastern University Libraries' Digital Media Commons (DMC). The DMC is a dedicated media lab and digital creativity center space for students, faculty and staff. Managed by the Library and Information Technology Services (ITS), this collaborative learning facility offers flexible media-rich work areas, professional-grade creation technology, audio and video recording studios, a 3D printing studio, high-power computer workstations, printers, and scanners. The tour is now closed.
VRT Midwinter Dinner
Saturday, January 9th 6:00pm
Please consider joining the Video Round Table for our Midwinter dinner get-together. VRT members, non-members, and their guests are welcome to attend!
RSVPs for the dinner are now closed. Please contact Brian Boling (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need to cancel.
Executive Board and Membership Meeting (Convention Center 150)
Monday, January 11 8:30 am-12:30 pm
Please join the Video Round Table's (VRT) Executive Officers and Board in this open business meeting and learn how you can become involved! VRT members and nonmembers are welcome.
Full registrants can now watch and listen to all 2015 ALA Annual Conference sessions which ALA had permission to record on the conference website. Direct links to VRT-sponsored sessions can be found below:
Increasingly, scholars are producing works in non-traditional genres and mediums, published using alternative platforms. This presentation will describe some of the trends and unique affordances of multimodal scholarship across the digital arts, sciences and humanities domains, with an emphasis on the video format. Examples discussed include innovative multimodal digital art scholarship, a recent study on science journal digital video abstracts, and multimodal digital humanities publications. We will also discuss the potential implications of these emerging areas of scholarship on librarians and library services, illustrated by two case studies of multimodal digital humanities projects in libraries.
San Francisco Public Library's Board of Advising Youth (BAY) and librarian panel will talk about their involvement with Bay Area Youth Media Network and the new SFPL Learning Lab (a.k.a. The Mix at SFPL), and their partners the Bay Area Video Coalition and Adobe Youth Voices; The California Academy of Sciences, BAVC and KQED.
The Audiovisual and Multimedia Section (AVMS) of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has been active in the Coordinating Council on Audiovisual Archive Associations (CCAAA) since well before1999, when the UNESCO-organized NGO Round Table on Audiovisual Records became CCAAA. IFLA AVMS had been a founding member of the NGO Round Table on Audiovisual Records (now CCAAA) in 1981. This long standing and important relationship has spanned over 50 years with the various organizational incarnations. This program will explore longstanding partnerships, programming, leadership activities of the AVMS, an international partner of the ALA VRT.
There are many reasons for digitizing collections, but technical and workflow issues as well as copyright restrictions on access and use of audio collections make conversion from analog formats especially complex. The success of any audio digitization venture will rely on asking the right questions before you start. Speakers will explore the challenges of planning and implementing audio digitization projects for preservation and access. Extensive examples from the California Audiovisual Preservation Project will be presented.
After years of obtaining films with PPR (Public Performance Rights) many libraries have acquired quite a collection. How do we communicate to faculty, students and student organizations that we have these films that offer another lens to investigate subjects and topics? At Ohio University Libraries, we're learning to raise awareness of our PPR holdings by demonstrating the importance of PPR based on faculty requests, co-sponsoring film series, and using social media. Our panel of academic librarians and media distributors will share their experiences and lessons learned, and open up the discussion for Q&A.
This showcase will feature five 15- minute provocative talks and panels about timely aspects of media streaming impacting librarians today today. These include: Curating and Management of Your Institution's Videos; Using Big Data Effectively to Analyze Online Video Consumption; Streaming Video Acquisitions: Making the Right Choices for Your Library; Purchasing, Licensing models, and delivery of streaming videos for libraries; and Online Video-Patron Acquisition and ROI.
Recording & Slides of When Text Isn't Enough: An Exploration into the World of Multimodal Scholarship in the Digital Arts, Sciences and Humanitiesby Scott Spicer on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 09:28 am
The recording and slides from our 2015 ALA Annual presentation (co-sponsored by VRT and ACRL DH Interest Group), is now available through the following channels:
"When Text Isn't Enough: An Exploration into the World of Multimodal Scholarship in the Digital Arts, Sciences and Humanities"
June 27th, 2015
Speaker: Deborah Boudewyns
Speaker: Denise Hattwig, Curator, Digital Collections & Services, UW Bothell Library, University of Washington Libraries
Speaker: Justin Schell, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, Digital Arts Sciences + Humanities, University of Minnesota Libraries
Speaker: Scott Spicer, Media Outreach and Learning Spaces Librarian, University of Minnesota Libraries - Twin Cities
Recording and slide deck access:
Video Recording: https://youtu.be/JqbkdyGZZGc
- See YouTube description to skip to video chapters
PowerPoint slide deck: http://z.umn.edu/multimodalpresentation
- Available as attachment on this ALA Connect site
- Available on the 2015 ALA conference site (for attendees)
Please Note: The Community Voices section recording/slides has been removed per presenter request.
When Text Isn't Enough: An Exploration into the World of Multimodal Scholarship in the Digital Arts, Sciences and Humanities - See more at: http://connect.ala.org/node/239606#sthash.q81jDL7d.dpuf