NMC 2006: Stream It! Download It! Podcast It!

It was a big audience for this session, presented by Michael Beahan and James Bartholomew at the Jones Media Center at the Dartmouth College Library. The Jones Media Center has 17 multimedia creation stations, and 2 project rooms. It seems to be a combination of the TLC and MRC at Richmond.

They've had class lecture recordings posted to the network, but IT will be working on implementing this on a campus-wide program. Like our TLC, they loan out equipment for media production. Training is also available, including some training videos.

Dartmouth is redesigning their home page (due July 1), and it will offer many more videos of campus events. Dartmouth has an Internship in Digital Media Technology.
Responsibilities include:

  • One year, full time, paid with benefits
  • Assists students and faculty with multimedia projects
  • Leads workshops
  • Automated process for streaming and podcasting

They wanted a centralized source to simultaneously create:

  • Streaming Video
  • Video Podcast
  • Audio Podcast
  • DVD Video


  • One file for streaming and video podcasting
  • One encoding for audio podcasting
  • Three delivery methods

MPEG-4 Part 12 (mp4) was the format they chose to use as the “container”. Two codecs: MPEG-4 Part 2 has better compression efficiency than MPEG-2. AAC audio was the only choice for podcasts. MPEG-4 Part 10 Video / h.264 / AVC has high playback processing requirements. h264 is smaller on the screen too, so MPEG-4 Part 2 makes more sense. Data rate is the same for either.

Their choices then were MPAG-4 Part 2 Video (Advanced Simple Profile, and the MPEG-2 Part 7 Audio (AAC). They do hint all of the vide and audio. Only a little bit of data is required, and it facilitates streaming.

Why automate? They had 61 encoding requests for the spring 2006 term, and more requests are coming. Encoding media one at a time is not feasible.

They have a server running Linux, with open source tools, with scripts to link tools together (shell & php). Other than the MPEG royalties and the server itself, everything is free.

Video is submitted via SFTP. The video file and the metadata are both needed. They prefer RAW DV format, but will take many formats. The metadata file includes which outputs they want (streaming video, video podcast, etc.). Scripts read the metadata and send the file to be processed to the appropriate programs.

They use PHP scripts to generate XML RSS feeds, and will assist in getting the feed set up in the iTunes Podcast store.

Their JMC Flix program podcast highlights items in the JMC collection. So vodcasts are being used for promotion in addition to lectures. Items to be streamed are moved over automatically but the one manual step is to put an entry into the library catalog. Dartmouth uses Millennium for their catalog, and there is integration between Millennium and Blackboard. They plan to use course reserves via Blackboard to provide access to streaming media this fall.

For DVDs, they use the highest possible data rate up to the 4.7GB capacity on a disc.

THey plan to expand into public lectures, performance podcasts and Library education programs. The system is getting used. There are 118 subscriptions to the JMC promotional vodcast. Students are subscribing to vodcasts and podcasts, in addition to streaming access. They had 893 uses of streaming reserve material in the spring of 2006 (this number is well below what our Music Library has done with streaming audio this past semester with just our Music department, but still encouraging).

Several questions came up regarding copyright and authentication. Dartmouth has a good scheme overall, which will be improved when they integrate with Blackboard this fall. People submitting files sign off that they have copyright on the media, and this information goes into the Library catalog. James did all of this media work and programming on his own.

Accessibility, including captioning, are also on Dartmouth's horizon.

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