Caught my Eye by Katina: Making Streaming Media Sustainable for Academic Libraries

by | Jul 21, 2021 | 0 comments

Danielle Cooper, Manager, Collaborations and Research

Making Streaming Media Sustainable for Academic Libraries introduces a new project being undertaken by Ithaka S+R this fall in collaboration with a cohort of libraries. It is by Danielle Cooper, Manager, Collaborations and Research.

“There has been an explosion of interest in streaming media marketed for educational purposes in recent years, and the shift to remote instruction during the pandemic has further accelerated that interest. This growing significance is also reflected in its overall share of library collections budgets: recent Ithaka S+R research found that streaming media currently represents about five percent of those budgets and that academic library directors across a diverse array of institutions project that this will rise to eight percent over the next five years. However, pricing models make it difficult to fully meet patron demands, and the collections remain relatively limited in their content. And, as Kanopy’s recent acquisition by the public library powerhouse OverDrive may suggest, the vendor landscape is shifting rapidly in ways that make it challenging for academic libraries to advocate for their unique needs.

In order to more fully realize streaming media’s academic potential, it is essential for libraries to come together, assess the broader streaming landscape, and create new strategies for licensing and managing streaming use. This intervention will be most effective if libraries can connect on this issue across institutional silos. To this end, Ithaka S+R is launching a new project this fall in collaboration with a cohort of libraries to share evidence about and strategies around streaming media licensing terms. The project will also examine patron practices and needs when working with streaming content.

How will the project work?

The project will pair the most comprehensive US-wide environmental scan-to-date on the landscape of streaming media licensing and library approaches to assessing and managing its use with a targeted assessment of streaming media. We are partnering with a cohort of academic libraries to conduct a deep dive into the streaming context at their institutions and to identify new opportunities for collective strategic interventions in this space. In parallel, Ithaka S+R will also conduct a US-wide survey and a series of targeted follow-up interviews with collections associate university librarians, to evaluate the competitive landscape of streaming media licensing more broadly. 

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