Finding Rights Cleared Video Resources for Use in Course Materials

Way back when, the Library piloted a video search engine – DiVA – that would search over some of the video material that had been produced specifically for OU courses (Course Content Image Search) and possibly over some of the content the OU had co-produced with the BBC.

Recently, of course, the OU has got into co-producing flagship programmes for BBC1 and BBC2, as well as the lesser channels, but as far as I know, there is no easy way for us to search over this material (the best way used to be the now deprecated BBC Catalogue search).

As the BBC programme catalogue adds entries, this will become increasingly valuable for resource discovery, and it will also be interesting to see how Box of Broadcasts plays out, too.

For using video in courses, there are three main issues: 1) discovery of the clip; 2) rights clearance; 3) actually getting the video embedded in the VLE.

In an ideal world, I’d quite like to be able to go to an institutional version of Youtube, enter the search terms and get a video clip. This is already possible in the Youtube universe, of course…. For example, I want to use a clip from a James May programme that the OU co-produced, so the easiest way I could think of saying “this is the clip I want” was to search for james may motion capture on Youtube and grab the top result:

Overall time to go from thinking “I’d like this clip” to getting an embed code for it (albeit a copyright infringing one)? Less than a minute.

I have just started the process of trying to get an official version of the clip (start time: 14.00 Weds April 15th, 2009…) so it’ll be interesting to see whether I can get this clip in the VLE in time for when it’s actually needed at the start of June. Indeed, I’m not even sure I sent the email to the right person, so maybe I’ve only false started on actually finding out how to get this clip?!

When it comes to referring students to complete programmes, I’m not sure what the best approach is?

My ad hoc approach would be to try to find out whether a programme was likely to be broadcast on the BBC somewhere during the presentation of the course, and if it was, telling students to find it on iPlayer.

I’d possibly also look for links to what I needed from a BBC Programmes catalogue listing, the BBC World Service documentaries archive, the BBC Four interviews archive (deprecated), the BBC Learning Zone class clips website, or the BBC Archive and so on. (If they were no good, I’d end up on Redux….).

…and that’s just the BBC of course: the other UK terrestrial channels (or at least, ITV and Channel 4) now happily stream catch-up services on the web, as well as making some of their content (at least in Channel 4’s case) to services such as Joost (e.g. Channel 4 shows on Joost).

I’m not sure whether it’d also be useful to start compiling lists of links to BBC programme pages for OU co-pro programmes, because there’s nothing that obviously fulfills that role on (The closest I have at the moment is the OU/BBC iPlayer catch-up mashups here and here).

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

4 thoughts on “Finding Rights Cleared Video Resources for Use in Course Materials”

  1. There’s a new project just getting started in the library, codenamed AVA, that aims to make video assets more available.

    I’m not sure who’s running it, but I hope they’re listening to your comments here as part of their requirements gathering!

  2. Kind of in response to Tony, kind of raising general awareness…

    The Open University Library receives copies of many of the co-productions (in whole or part…it’s complicated), as well as all course programmes, and catalogues these on the general library catalogue which is open to everybody. OU staff can also contact Steve Morris in the Open Broadcast Unit for assistance with a search of Cardbox, which is a separate database containing more extensive information on rushes (raw footage) as well as full programmes, copies of which are held by the Open Broadcast Unit.

    It’s then a matter of finding a clip online to preview, or paying the Library (or OBU) a visit for viewing. Although I’m sure the Access to Video Assets project will go some way to rectifying that. Contact (Sue Allcock and Angela Wilkinson).

    If you’ve found something that you’d like to re-use, the recommended next step is to contact your Media Project Manager and they will be able to assist with the Rights and practical issues associated with the re-use.

    If you need any assistance with searching for footage, please email the University Archive & Course Materials Team via

  3. Should have said contact (Sue Allcock and Angela Wilkinson) for more info on the AVA project, not for anything to do with viewing at present!

  4. I’m not sure if you contacted the right person to ask for the resource either but…

    The standard OU way is that you should pass your request on to your faculty Course Manager who will then liaise with LTS to source the material from the BBC directly and also arrange rights clearance.

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