Area 51 Notes: 28 July 2011

Present:  Mike Roy, Mary Backus, Shel Sax, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie and Doreen Bernier

Topics discussed:

Video streaming: Mike indicated that there is a fair amount of interest by College Advancement to use video to reach alumni via the web.  After a lengthy discussion on this topic, the ADs decided to form a group to investigate how we can create workflow and processes for cross-campus use. Several questions need to be addressed like:

  • What’s the right format for video streaming and for archival purposes?   
  • How quickly could we move to a new standard (perhaps mp4)?
  • How might adopting a new standard impact our workflows?

Project directory move to “Roadmap”:   The timeline for changing over the current project directory to “Roadmap” was discussed.  It was decided that Chris Norris will provide training to workgroup leaders at the September Managers meeting so they can start to incorporate current project milestones into the new program.

Goals: The August Manager’s meeting will be devoted to workgroup goals.  We discussed how to link workgroups/teams goals to the larger institutional mission and incorporating them into the LIS strategic planning site/.

Google/MSlive:  The process for evaluating cloud service offerings discussed.  Draft documentation containing background information, scope and timeline are being prepared for presentation to President’s Staff. 

3 thoughts on “Area 51 Notes: 28 July 2011

  1. Petar Mitrevski

    Re: video streaming

    The MPEG formats are the most popular ones today and can be used on the vast majority of computers, mobile devices and standalone video players [1]. In addition, to-date, the MPEG group has had the most success in standardizing audio/video formats [2]. Thus, any of the MPEG formats would be best suited for digital archiving. Of the MPEG formats, MPEG-4 was specifically designed to be streamed and to be extremely flexible: it provides excellent quality even at low bitrates (such as on mobile networks) [3].

    So, in my mind, MPEG-4 is the format we should use for both streaming and digital archiving. If we’d like to archive physical copies, then archiving to DV tape would also be a good option, as the DV format is nearly universal.

    As for streaming, we would be best served by a streaming server that can support both flash and MPEG4 (such as MiddMedia). Converting from an MPEG4 video to a flash video is relatively quick as it requires changing just the container and does not require actual conversion.

    Those are my thoughts…



  2. Ian McBride

    I completely agree, Petar. I want to point out that MiddMedia is particularly well suited for this thanks to a lot of the work that Matt and Adam have done. When you upload a video to MiddMedia it gets converted to H.264 encoded MPEG-4 which is supported in Internet Explorer 9 and Safari 5, as well as WebM which is supported in Firefox 5, Chrome, and Opera. For legacy browsers (IE 7, IE 8, and Firefox 3) the MiddMedia Flash Media Server does the Flash video conversion on-the-fly. You also get a direct download link to save the file to your machine and watch it in a desktop media player.

    Every user gets 500 MB of storage automatically in MiddMedia and the quota can be increased on request. The system also has support for groups, if you want to let multiple people manage a video collection. As Matt recently wrote, you can now choose to store the video in it’s original quality, 360p, 480p, 720p, or 1080p. The system also supports storing audio files.


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