The growing value of video content in the modern academic library

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Polls conducted by mobile phone companies and ISP web usage surveys show that video is the preferred medium for research and information gathering. 60% of people prefer watching video than reading the same written content and 53% of people remember content they have watched in a video, compared to 22% in a written form. The beauty of video content is that it can convey simplified and more detailed information equally effectively across a range of subjects. It is useful as a long-term record of an event, such as a presentation or lecture, or as filmed footage of an experiment which can be used, and re-used, by others. With well-developed platform functionality including replay, download and clip editing, content can be easily used and shared amongst research groups. Video can also be included in lectures, either directly or as part of remote learning courses such as MOOCs. Additionally, video is now being accepted as an integral part of article submissions to research journals.

Publishers have an important part to play to ensure that accessing this content is as straightforward as possible. The increasing desire for more dynamic use of content now requires a greater degree of sophistication in the delivery device to ensure that the user’s experience is as smooth as possible. Platforms need to be able to deliver and play video no matter what the broadband restrictions, the number of users or the viewing device of choice. Just as written content has benefitted from metadata enrichment and the mechanics of indexing and access controls, so too can video. Video should be seen as a seamless part of the research landscape; another tool for sourcing and acquiring content with search functionality that allows the user to better and more easily find exactly what they need. Video needs to reach the same criteria as the perceived conventional formats for discoverability and usability. And it does.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology will shortly launch a fully revitalised video platform that meets the demands of the modern user. With a collection of around 6,500 videos, and more being added all the time, the IET has developed a state-of-the-art video platform ( to replace its existing content repository. Behind a new user-friendly, visually attractive front-end is a bespoke content management and access control system that allows the IET to keep content up to date and readily available.

Functionality on the platform will include an IET Inspec-powered search engine function for faster and more accurate search results, detailed content filtering, Shibboleth and Athens access, responsive and adaptive design for a range of devices, downloadable content, suggestions for related content, webinar and webcast features allowing live polling and live Q&A, comments areas, detailed usage analysis dashboard, and much more.

According to Mark Reynard, Head of 'The searching facility on any video site is only as good as the metadata and enriched data attached to each entity. From the very start of, the IET has added large amounts of essential metadata for every video produced. This puts us in a fantastic position to be able to give very specific search results to keywords whilst also recommending related media and documents. The future for all video sites will be fully-searchable transcriptions of each video, allowing users to easily find anything contained in a video through search.'

Mark Reynard
, Head of

Video has a range of uses for the modern academic whether giving a snapshot viewpoint, presenting a detailed assessment of a subject, or submitting enhanced data and results to a journal article. It can also provide reviews of attended events or access to conference proceedings. Coupled with reporting that enables librarians to demonstrate its usefulness to their users, video, a format we are all familiar with, could well be the next ‘big thing’.

For video to be an invaluable resource, the content and platform it sits on need to be equally matched in terms of quality, usability and discoverability. The new platform, with its engaging user interface, built-in analytics and easy-to-access content ticks all these boxes.

The new platform will be available in March 2015: