Planning to Digitize? Some Questions to Ask

7 Apr

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While digitized media have almost seamlessly woven themselves into the living and learning habits of their students, many faculty members confess to feeling lost when it comes to incorporating audio and video clips into their lectures and syllabi.

You are not alone: most producers, cinematographers and editors ask the same questions every day.  There’s an astonishing variety of delivery formats – whether for broadcast, the lecture hall, the Web or smart phone.  The blessing of contemporary media is that it’s digital; the curse is also that it’s digital.  And worse, it could be extinct tomorrow.

Here at the Film Archive, we grapple with these issues every day.  What we’ve learned is that professors can help themselves by asking a few simple questions:

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What rights do I have to the material I wish to digitize?

Is the media something I created myself or have I been granted that permission by the rightful owners?

Does the university have rights to the material (as in the case of a Film Archive)? Is my presentation considered fair use? This guide on Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Code can help answer some questions about reproductions.

What is my intended audience?

Is the content for my own research?

Will it be seen by students, colleagues or mass audience?

What is the means of presentation?

Will the content be projected on a screen or formatted for streaming, podcast or download?

Will I need a DVD or just a file for my computer?

What kind of computer do I use?

What kind of operating system or platform does it run on?

Knowing the answers to these questions can help your audiovisual specialist or technician help you.

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