Friday, March 23, 2007

Recording lectures

So with the Linda Bree lecture, I've been thinking what a shame it is that we have so many notable speakers coming to campus and that I am not able to make it to all the events. I wonder if we could start an audio archive of talks given at least within the English Department? What do you think of this?

The first problem is copyright. We would have to get permission from the persons speaking to record them and then to allow others to hear the recording. Personally, I don't think I would mind very much if someone recorded me, but I can very much see that someone who is presenting new/tentative scholarship would want to not allow others to have access.

This brings me to the second problem: where do we keep these files? Obviously, we would want to keep them private and not accessible to the outside world (thus, helping us avoid even more copyright issues). So we need them somewhere within the Emory infrastructure. I can host talks on my website, which is linked to Webdrive. But the problem with this is that it is public and that it has a limited space such that I could only host one talk at a time. We don't want to spread our archives of talks throughout different people's websites either.

Another possibility would be to host things within Blackboard, using the faculties Wayne and Shannon taught us during TLC. This would give the site a bit of cachet that could convince people to visit it and then lead to their using the space for the other uses a group of us have envisioned. This is a private place where we can absolutely control access, thus reducing liability qua copyright.

A third place would be to create a course within Reserves Direct in which we place all the recordings. This initially seems to me to be the best idea, as an RD course is (or was, when I last fiddled with them) something that anyone on campus can enroll in, regardless of actual class status. This would mean that those outside the English Department could have access to the talks. Although the pool of access would be larger, it would still be restricted to the Emory community and those who have a network ID.

In any case, I'm interested in this project, and I think it would be a worthwhile addition to Emory's expanding digital "collections." But what do you think?

Finally, in my opinion, the copyright issues are primary and I doubt that we could overcome them without the full support of the faculty/department. Is this something we should pursue?


Blogger Michael Elliott said...

In fact, I don't think the copyright issues are that difficult. Allen Tullos videotapes lectures constantly (for his webjournal, Southern Spaces). I think he merely asks visiting lecturers if they would mind. Most don't. I do think they should know where it is being posted, and how long it will be there. And there should be a statement saying the speaker retains copyright.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

I believe you'd need to get a standard release from the speaker. Brenda Rockswold, a colleague of Wayne and Shannon's, might have a form letter. She works with the cable system and with events taping, etc.

Going forward, I'd say the place to house the lectures would be Emory's iTunes U, which finally looks like it will get through legal!

No definite date but at least it looks like it is moving.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I've been having this conversation in two places at the same time, as I have been emailing with Shannon about this subject as well. She too had suggested that iTunes U would be the best place to host material like this, especially since it will require a password to access it.

I see one major disadvantage with iTunes U, and that is that the tracks are encoded--as far as I understand--with Apple's Fairplay DRM. This means that those of us who don't like to play with Apple that much or that don't use iPods regularly will be unable to access the materials, let alone play them remotely.

I know that a majority of the students at the university use iPods. But I wonder what it does to a university when all of our resources are locked into particular copyright/DRM schemes. We would scoff at the idea that only a certain percentage of our school's population would be allowed to use library materials such as books. But locking ourselves into iTunes U is doing much the same thing. We are paying them to make our materials less accessible. That doesn't make much sense to me.

But what do I know? I'm just a student.

10:26 PM  
Blogger sap said...

I heard a piece on NPR yesterday about how EMI (a British record label) is going to start releasing non-DRM tracks onto iTunes precisely in the hope of moving beyond a Apple (or Itunes)-centered online universe. Steve Jobs was (obviously) part of this deal. The commentators were all suggesting that this will likely be trend others will take up this year. Perhaps there will be way to upload non-DRM files to iTunes U as well. However, if they are merely trying to promote themselves to Universities, they might not allow this. Just something to think about if iTunes U really becomes a reality on our campus.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I was going to post the same thing as Sarah. The fact that iTunes is finally willing to allow non-DRM'd tracks is encouraging. The tracks will still be protected by copyright, but they won't be restricted as far as use is concerned...except that the tracks will be in AAC format, which is not as universally supported as mp3. However, you can transcode the file so it shouldn't make too much of a difference.

It would be interesting to see the language of the deal that Emory signed (which, of course, we won't) to see if we can control whether the files are wrapped in FairPlay DRM or not. Steve Jobs's position is that he doesn't want a DRM-universe. So that would seem to imply that we should be able to do what we want with our files.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

I asked about Emory iTunes and DRM and the answer is "no DRM." :-)

7:27 PM  

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