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Video Streaming Service

VHS videos and DVDs available as electronic reserves and some videos for which the library has some streaming rights are to be made accessible through a web page. 

In Fall of 2008, this system was moved into production. (links to videos in the system that may be viewed by individuals affiliated with IU Bloomington)


A technical overview was presented in the spring of 2009 and the powerpoint slides are published here:

What we call the "Video Streaming Service" is really a suite of applications and utilities that facilitate the digitization, metadata entry, and online delivery of videos.

Digital Video Procurement

Video of most any format may be put into the system. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Digital video files from a vendor
  2. Video ripped from DVDs (lacking copy protection and for which we have permission or own the copyright)
  3. Video captured from VHS using DScaler, Adobe Premiere, etc.

Video Drop box and processing application

Captured videos are then transferred to our servers using a convenient drag and drop application. This application not only transfers the data file to a location where it will be picked up for automatic processing, but creates and binds it to an initial metadata record.

The automatic processing is managed by a custom application that performs quality control checks, manages interaction with the metadata application, copies the video to our HPSS massive storage system, creates streaming transcodes and deploys them to a flash streaming server.

Metadata entry and Video Playback application

A Java Struts web application to manage the metadata record created when the video is dropped into our system. Administrative and descriptive metadata can be entered or automatically populated by a catalog lookup. Access to the completed videos is handled using a flash player that is available at no cost for educational use.

Metadata Entry Application Data Model


Authenticated and unauthenticated uses may (under the right conditions) view videos in the system. Only authenticated users with either the "cataloger" or "administrator" role may access any of the video management interface (including the page listing all videos). Currently there is no difference between the privileges associated with an administrator and cataloger, though in future versions there may be features (such as user management) that may only be performed by administrative users.

Items and Videos

There are two types of objects represented in the system. Objects that represent a video file and objects that represent a logical group of video files. In code, and design documents we'll refer to these as "videoFiles" and "videoItems" respectively, or just "files" and "items". Most of the descriptive metadata is only entered for the item objects which will have a one to one correspondence with IUCAT catalog entries. File objects will only have enough metadata to identify them and keep track of their digitization state.


A context is a group of videos (items and files) typically under the same management, and necessarily to be delivered under the same branding. Video items and files may only be associated with a single context and video files may only be part of a video item if they all belong to the same context. By convention, a user may only be a "cataloger" for a single context, though administrative users may have administrative rights over any number of contexts.

Metadata Fields

At upload time, no metadata is required, though an automatic id is generated and the video file's name is used as the default title. Once the title control number is entered, there should be a mechanism to populate other fields from values stored in the catalog.

  1. id (automatically generated and assigned at upload time)
  2. title
  3. type (e-reserves, licensed, open access)
  4. title control number
  5. distributor
  6. running time
  7. language
  8. brief annotation
  9. date of video (publication date)
  10. course information (for e-reserves videos)
    1. department
    2. course number
    3. course name
    4. section
    5. instructor
    6. e-reserves id (used for authorization)
    7. semester (must be "fall" "spring" or "summer")
  11. campus restrictions (for licensed videos)

Once metadata is entered, there is a mechanism to send notification to an individual of the availability of the video. The purl to view the video will be listed. Those items with a "title control number" will also be queued, or immediately passed along to have their PURL added to the IUCAT record.

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