The other day, I received a video clip from a friend in my email. It was on photography: how it has affected people throughout the years and how it is still influencing viewers every day. It seemed interesting, and I wanted to watch the complete film. The documentary was by PBS, and since I knew that our library has a streaming video collection from PBS, I checked to see if we own that particular title.
I went to the library homepage at tourolib.org. I looked under Find and clicked on Streaming Videos from the drop-down menu.
Here, you’ll see all of our online video databases. Since I was on campus at the time, I had no problem accessing the collection. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to check out the streaming videos from home or from Starbucks (this goes also for e-books and databases), you have to have your library username and password. Here is a quick off-campus access tutorial that provides you with easy directions on just that.
Once on the PBS page, you have several options to search its database: by title, discipline, people, or even series. The documentary in question was called, American Photography: A Century of Images, so I simply typed the title in the search box. Not one, but three results showed up. I noticed that the documentary consists in fact of three episodes, each providing in-depth detail on how photography has historically had a profound effect on the American life; not only on how we buy and how we dress, but on how we interpret the news and see the world around us, etc. This sounded like visual literacy to me, which is right up my alley as an Information Literacy Librarian.
Since I know that many of you would typically go directly to PBS instead of contacting a library, I tried that route too, and discovered that those particular episodes are not aired anymore. Moreover, I found out that the price for all three episodes is over $100. Ouch!
Obviously, we have many more documentaries, interviews and therapy sessions in this collection. The PBS collection seems to be particularly strong in Social Sciences, Science and History. You can watch these videos for your own pleasure, but more importantly you can learn from them, or get inspired to write your school paper on one of the many topics they cover. Additionally, you can use either ready-made clips (see tab on top of PBS database page, saying CLIPS) or make your own clip from a film and show it as part of your class presentation. In this way you not only get your point across in visuals, you probably make it more convincing. And you will impress your professors and classmates with your tech savvy.
As a final note, since we have quite a few video databases, such as Kanopy (see our previous write-up) and Films on Demand to mention just a couple, you can also search the library’s complete streaming video collection at once by searching in the catalog and limiting your search to E-Videos.
So what is your topic of interest?