Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Price We Pay: DVD's and Streaming Video & Perhaps the Answer to Why There are not More Computers in the Library

I've been sitting down with the head of Collection Development and some of the other librarian assistants to learn about budgeting and ordering and the financial aspects of developing the collection.  I've done some ordering and processed arrivals, and am learning a lot of things start to finish.

Today I sat down with Karen, the librarian technician, and learned about the fun of ordering DVD's.  Karen is awesome, by the way.  She knows so much about the collection, how things work, where things are, and is a great teacher. (She even gave me a cool binder with detailed directions for copy cataloging. If I knew where to buy shiny stickers that said things like "Super!" and "Great Job!" I would buy them and stick them to its cover. But I don't.)  She does all of the DVD ordering and then another librarian works to get the proper copyrights together. At many universities the university lawyer will do this, and the fact that a librarian does this here saves us a lot of time. But, the process can still take weeks because there is a lot of contract negotiation that must subsequently take place in order to buy the rights to show the video to a classroom, make a copy for the library, or stream it from the library website.

Anyway, Karen had to order a DVD that is a mandatory 28 minute flick shown to all nursing students (mandated by OSHA, not the program). Buying an educational video is not like getting a movie on Amazon. Videos are often only offered by one or two vendors, and they charge a lot more than $20. This DVD's price tag is $164 from one specific vendor.  Quite steep. But, that's just the cost of the video, that doesn't come with any rights.  Those must be bought and negotiated separately from the publisher. The viewing rights for this particular video are $400.  ($400 and it's 28 minutes!!!) But, wait, it gets better; the rights expire after 3 years.  So for one 28 minute video that all nursing students must watch, the library will pay roughly $564, and only be able to show for the next 3 years. (!!)  Now think about the thousands of videos that your college library has or had, and imagine all of what that may have cost!

Not every video is this expensive, and there are a number of videos that cost even more, but my point is, there can often be a lot of time and money that goes into the purchase of one short educational video.  So, pay attention nursing students!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I didn't realize all that's involved in getting a video!