From Vault to User's Screen: Using Video-casting and Video-sharing Technologies for Universal Access, Outreach, and Publicity for the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Multimedia Collection
Polina E. Ilieva
June 16, 2009
Case Study Contents
- Web 2.0 Technologies Used
- Description of Podcasts@UCSF
- Implementation of Video-Casting
- Lessons Learned
- Assessment and Future Plans
The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (LTDL),1 one of the biggest digital repositories of tobacco industry materials was, launched in 2002. It grew out of the Tobacco Control Archives that was set up at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Library in 1994. The initial collection had sprung to life when an unsolicited donor sent internal papers from the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation to a UCSF professor.
The LTDL works in close collaboration with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF2 discovering, preserving, and distributing previously secret tobacco industry documents.
The LTDL promotes open access, facilitates research, and provides integrated searching capability of tobacco industry papers and multimedia materials. The library is a work in progress and new items are added every month. As of April 2009, it contains more than ten million documents (50+ million pages), covering advertising, marketing, manufacturing, and research aspects of the tobacco industry.
Included in these documents are 7,600 video and audio recordings that are part of the Multimedia Collection that was added to LTDL in 2006. The collection contains recordings of focus groups, internal corporate meetings, depositions of tobacco industry employees, government hearings, corporate communications, and commercials. The LTDL doesn’t own the copyright to the tobacco industry items it is preserving; it is a permanent digital repository of materials that were opened through litigation and made public under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of 1998.3
All items in LTDL are cataloged and contain extensive metadata, with fields that were specified by the MSA and keywords which were created using the Tobacco Control Audiovisual Materials Thesaurus. All “paper” items (except for privileged documents) are accessible via text search and viewable as PDF documents or TIFF images. Numerous papers are published every year in “Tobacco Control” and other peer-reviewed journals using tobacco documents that are also presented as evidence in ongoing litigation.
While thinking of how to make audiovisual items accessible to the widest possible audience, we made the decision to find a third party for hosting and dissemination of the items. The LTDL did not have to search far, as the Internet Archive located in San Francisco was the perfect venue for our collections. The Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization, was founded “to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format.”4 It was founded in 1996 and provides free access to its collections in diverse formats: text, audio, moving images, software, and archived websites.
We joined the Internet Archive and worked with their team to create a UCSF Tobacco Industry Videos collection,5 and later added a UCSF Tobacco Industry Audio Recordings collection.6 The Internet Archive interface allows us to upload a multimedia item and add metadata and links to the main LTDL site. Visitors to the Internet Archive can view or download video and audio recordings, browse by subject/keyword, and write reviews, participate in forums, and subscribe to RSS feeds.
Our partnership with the Internet Archive proved to be very convenient and fruitful for our institution: as of January 2009, our items on the Internet Archive have been downloaded over two hundred thousand times and more than sixty reviews can be found online now. We are planning to use them for collection development, metadata creation/description and outreach. Cross-referencing between the Internet Archive and LTDL sites introduces diverse visitors from around the globe to our collections.
All items in the Internet Archive are indexed by major search engines, and a search for the term “Virginia Slims” brings back results for Virginia Slims television commercials at the top of the Google page.
Now that our multimedia collections are readily accessible to users, we have to make sure they will discover them among billions of other items available online. Video-casting (in-house Podcasts@UCSF) and video-sharing (YouTube) technologies are readily available Web 2.0 technologies that were utilized to accomplish this task.
Being closely associated with the subject of tobacco control by its title and its nature, these collections can also be used by researchers in fields such as public health, ethics, economics, and history; they also provide wonderful teaching materials for high school and college students. So we began a search for a tool that provides an overview of our audiovisual collection, is easily accessible on a computer and/or mobile device, appeals to a diverse audience, and helps us maintain visibility. Podcasting, or in our case, video-casting, was a medium that was chosen to accomplish our goals.
According to a Wikipedia description, “a podcast is a series of audio or video digital-media files which is distributed over the Internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers.”7 Conveniently enough, in 2007, the UCSF Library created “Podcasts@UCSF”8 to help faculty and staff to deliver lectures and other important content to the UCSF community. Public podcasts are open to all site visitors.
The main difference between streaming media and podcasts is that the latter are downloaded onto the user’s computer. Usually, listeners subscribe to the podcasts that are delivered to them when new installments become available. Many of them use iTunes or other podcast aggregators. The technology was named after the iPod; however, its ownership is not a prerequisite to accomplish this and podcasts can be accessed via the Internet, but iTunes, QuickTime, or other media players have to be installed on a computer.9
“Podcasts@UCSF is a publication platform for … podcasts,”10 and faculty and staff have to submit requests to UCSF Library’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) to create a directory that will accept the owner’s content, such as audio recordings, video and PDF documents. This directory can hold numerous episodes which can be uploaded and updated at anytime. According to CIT’s technical specs, acceptable files have to be less than 100 MB and in the following formats: .mp3, .mov, .mp4, .m4a, .m4v, .m4b, or .pdf.11
The project archivist first created a script for the podcast, listing the most-requested and historically significant films, such as, for example, footage of tobacco executives’ testimony in front of a Congressional committee where they unanimously proclaimed that tobacco is not addictive.12 Then, she watched the corresponding DVDs and wrote down the exact timing for the clips. These DVDs were in VOB format. As such, we used iMovie software in the CIT lab to edit and put clips together. Later on, we recorded a voice-over in a studio, using an external microphone for best-quality audio, that was imported to the iMovie. The resulting podcast, “Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Multimedia Collection,”13 is forty minutes long and includes an introduction about LTDL Multimedia Collection history, thirteen audio and video clips, and at the end contains links to the collection on the LTDL and the Internet Archive, as well as contact information.
Launched less than ten years ago, iPods became an intrinsic part of the fast-paced life of modern society. White iPod earplugs and tiny screens are emblematic of multitasking and the advent of multimedia in news sharing and distribution. The relatively short attention span of iPod users, in part due to limited battery life, made us edit our podcast. We came to the conclusion that we would attract more visitors by dividing the main podcast into three shorter segments of about ten minutes each. So now users can select either to enjoy the podcast in its entirety or watch separate installments.
We are using the “Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Multimedia Collection” podcast as an introduction to the collection—a showcase—so visitors will be attracted by the wealth of materials and go to the LTDL to proceed with their research projects.
We posted links to this podcast on the main LTDL page and the LTDL Multimedia Collection page, and profiled it on the LTDL blog.14
Our podcasts became a successful promotional tool for the Multimedia Collection, and they provide an introduction to tobacco control audiovisual recordings. They are used by the archivist instead of PowerPoint slideshows while presenting the LTDL multimedia collection to new fellows at the Center for Tobacco Research at UCSF. Unfortunately, Podcasts@UCSF doesn’t collect usage statistics, and this creates difficulties in analyzing the effectiveness of this Web 2.0 tool. So, to assess the usability of our video-casts, we are planning to create a survey that will be sent to CTCRE listserv members as well as posted on the GlobalLink website.15
In order to keep users interested in our collection, and due to its ever-expanding nature, we will be creating and uploading video-casts about new acquisitions. We will also join iTune U, a site that allows museums, libraries, and broadcasting stations to make their educational content freely available to listeners. This partnership will widen our audience through a mainstream venue.
Description of YouTube
Being an audiovisual collection, we always followed the success of YouTube.16 In January of 2009 more than one hundred million people watched 6.3 billion videos on YouTube.com,17 and we decided that this venue would allow us to expand our audience and promote our collections around the world. According to Wikipedia, “YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips.”18 Created in 2005, YouTube is now a subsidiary of Google. Anyone can view videos on YouTube.com, or they can be sent through e-mail, embedded in blogs and websites, and can be accessed through computers, TVs, or mobile devices.
There are two types of materials that are uploaded by archives to YouTube: original footage from archival collections and videos created by archives in the course of their activities. While deciding if they can upload the videos, archivists must follow YouTube’s terms of service19 and copyright tips20 to make sure that they hold the copyright to items they are uploading. “Fair use” doctrine can also be applied specifically to compilations of video clips.
In order to effectively apply all YouTube advantages, users have to register, providing their e-mail address and creating a password. Our user name relates to our collection—”ltdlmultimedia.”21 Each account holder has to provide information that is tailored for individual users, not institutions, such as birthday, gender, location—this data can be omitted by institutions. The archivist already had a personal YouTube account but opted to register a new one for the archives that will showcase archival collections and will not include her personal favorite videos.
YouTube uses television terminology, and the account is actually a “channel” that will contain all submitted movies. On the channel profile form, the title is the name of the archives/collection in our case—Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Multimedia Collection. We also posted an overview of our multimedia holdings and website links. Channel tags are helpful for discovering content. As always, we wanted visitors to “display comments on [our channel]” and let “everyone […] automatically comment.” This is especially helpful when you are planning to use these user reviews for creation of metadata and updates, such as Library of Congress in its Flickr project.22
Another reference archivist-friendly feature of YouTube is a list of favorites that is created by the channel owner and displayed on the channel page. We added links to collections of other tobacco control institutions and a presentation of a book on tobacco industry history. This is a perfect place to highlight videos from other archives with similar collections or presentations on similar topics.
YouTube accepts videos that are up to one gigabyte in size and ten minutes in length. We used iMovie to create compilations of clips and to add titles. Once our video was uploaded, we were prompted to add metadata that includes: title, description, tags, and a category for both the video and thumbnail that will be displayed on the front page. For the compilation of clips from the Smokeless Tobacco collection, we included a detailed overview of the collection as well as direct links to videos used in this compilation on the Internet Archive and Multimedia Collection on LTDL. This cross-referencing proved to be very effective in attracting new visitors to LTDL site.
We came up with a descriptive title reflecting the essence of our movie (generic names, like “tour of archives” or “new archival collection” will not help users find videos, while “treasures from UCSF archival vault” will facilitate search and capture their attention). “Archive Madness,”23 produced by the University of Denver attracted almost thirty-five hundred visitors in a year, while other similar films with undistinguished titles had less than two hundred viewers for the same period.
There are no limitations on the amount of metadata that the owner can provide for each video and archives may decide what type of metadata and how much they would like to submit. We used the Tobacco Control Audio Visual Materials Thesaurus to create a list of nine standardized tags. While selecting tags, we kept in mind such YouTube features as “related videos.” This list is displayed next to the video and “contains many videos which might be related to the video by subject matter.”24 Owners can’t execute control over them; according to a description on the YouTube help page, “These are automatically selected based on certain factors.”25 If archives find the content of some of these videos offensive, they can report them by flagging as “inappropriate.”
YouTube also includes features that will help share and distribute videos to social bookmarking and networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Digg, Orkut, etc.
We added our first film, a compilation of the tobacco companies’ videos highlighting their strategies in third world countries in the 1980s and 1990s,26 in February 2009, and a second one, containing commercials and corporate communications produced by the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company,27 two weeks later. These smokeless tobacco clips became very popular among site users and they have been viewed more than thirteen hundred times in just seven weeks. The first film was accessed 232 times in eight weeks. We think that one of the reasons for such disproportion is that the tobacco industry is actively promoting “smokeless tobacco” in response to upcoming regulations of regular tobacco and it is gaining popularity among newly converted customers who want to know more about the product they are using.
Due to workflow constraints, we first uploaded two videos to our channel on YouTube, and only two months later we added a link on our website to this channel. During the course of these two months, forty-three people came to visit the LTDL from YouTube. They looked at an average of nine pages and spent about eleven minutes on the LTDL site, which is significantly longer compared to the average user visit. Even if these numbers are not very high, analyzing the Google Analytics report,28 we came to the conclusion that these were “quality” visits.
So far we have had just two “quality” reviews, both confirming that viewers spent time carefully watching these movies, and we did post a clarifying response to one of them.
Recently, YouTube added the metrics tool “Insight” that can be accessed from “My account” page, it provides data about number of views, demographics, popularity, and discovery (how users found these videos: through YouTube, “related videos” search, external links, search engines, etc.). Analyzing these statistics we were able to find out that our smokeless tobacco compilation was viewed by a predominantly male audience (86 percent), almost half of our audience is between thirty-five and fifty-five years of age and live mostly in the United States (these videos are most popular in Connecticut), or Canada. Almost 70 percent of visitors discovered these videos through a YouTube search (the most common search terms: “skoal commercial,” “dipping tobacco,” “smokeless tobacco commercial,” or “smokeless tobacco”), 13 percent of traffic was directed through “related videos,” and most likely 8 percent of users got this URL through instant messaging or e-mail.
Initial time involvement for the account creation and channel setup is relatively short; however, video selection and editing can take much longer, due to length constraints. A collection that becomes very popular with visitors may require more commitment on the part of the archivist to respond to reviews and answer questions. It may also generate more requests for copies.
You may have what you think of as a “niche collection” that will interest only researchers in a specific field, as in our case, of tobacco control studies, but exposure to a wider audience through YouTube or other video sharing services will attract new users that wouldn’t have had an opportunity to discover this collection otherwise.
Issues that arose after we published videos on YouTube included offensive reviews posted by viewers that, in some cases, we have to delete, and inappropriately related videos showing individual smokers, for example.
One of the important components of work with podcasts and online video is their preservation for future generations in case of technical problems on the part of the service provider. We store rough and edited versions of podcasts and video compilations on DVDs as well as save them on hard drives.
At a time of unprecedented changes in the nature of materials cared for and managed by archivists, we have to learn not only from our colleagues in the profession but also from our counterparts in the information technology field.
The “Long Tail Theory,” presented by Chris Anderson in the book by the same name and continually developed on his blog,29 can be applied to archives as well. It is remarkable that a collection, seemingly without an appeal to a wide audience, that was cataloged and tagged for use by tobacco control researchers and activists, when uploaded to the Internet, has the potential to be discovered by a linguistics and social science professor working on software that will facilitate focus group analysis, by a scientist researching textual data mining, and by documentary filmmakers. Presenting at the “Smithsonian 2.0″ conference,30 Chris Anderson said that
If you’re given infinite choice and the tools to help you find stuff, then we will start to diversify our choice, and define our communities of interest. It often turns out that the stuff we love the most is the stuff that’s not the blockbuster. The stuff that we all like collectively—the Super Bowl—are things we don’t feel as passionately about. Less popular things are actually more meaningful to us as individuals.31
He believes that these new developments will change the nature of curatorship in the twenty-first century.32
This is how Chris Andersen describes components for the thriving Long Tail business:
Make everything available,
Help me find it.33
These imperatives can be used for building a successful user-oriented model in archives. The majority of archival collections (unless they are restricted for whatever reason) are available for access in person if not online. How can we help the public find them? Make a captivating short clip about it, do not use talking heads and monotone voices, and learn from the most popular movie trailers and book promotions. All archives have curators who are extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their treasures—now is the time to share them through small or bigger screens.
We are planning to add more compilations of videos from our archives to YouTube and spend more time combing through thousand of films currently online to add more tobacco-control related items to the list of our favorites, creating a community-based collection on this topic. Now that we have more than one thousand videos available on the Internet, how can we facilitate their discoverability? Users will find our videos through Google Web search, and they are located at the top of the search results list; however they are not yet indexed by “Google videos” and other video search engines like, blinkx,34 truveo,35 mefeedia,36 and EveryZing.37 We are following closely the development of technologies that will index audio and make it searchable. Right now, only metadata provided by tobacco companies and enhanced by the project archivist is searchable, in contrast with LTDL “paper documents,” where every word is indexed and open to researchers. Time and budgetary constraints limit the amount of working hours that can be spend creating metadata for each video, and subsequently, the amount of detailed description and tags/keywords associated with it.
There are several companies working on this task. One of them is Google Elections Video Search Gadget,38 which can be used for videos from YouTube’s Politicians channels, performing speech-to-text transcriptions and indexing them.39
EveryZing also uses speech-to-text recognition for search engine optimization and categorization. Recently, it introduced a new product, MediaCloud, “that leverages cloud computing to deliver a comprehensive solution for generating and managing all types of rich metadata.”40 In this technology the text is accessible on the same page, and a search for a particular phrase or word will bring you to related segments in the video/audio recording. This tool is not yet fully accurate (more like 65 percent), and mostly serves big media companies, but these tools have a great potential for archives as well.
Steven Baker, CRO of EveryZing, recently wrote an article about business opportunities for video news archives. He thinks that their hidden potential that partially lies in historical value can offset the cost of digitization and preservation for audiovisual materials.41 However, this approach raises such ethical questions as free public access to items in public domain, targeted advertising, orphaned works, and funding for archives, to name a few.
Recently, Kevin Kelly from “Wired” magazine mentioned in his New York Times article that we are becoming surrounded by screens, and “a new distribution-and-display technology is nudging the book aside and catapulting images, and especially moving images, to the center of the culture.”42
Archives and digital repositories have to be where the users are, and promote and display their collection in easily accessible ways in order to attract diverse patrons and increase their usage.43 There are several emerging technologies in the realm of audiovisual archiving that can find their way from the commercial field to academic and nonprofit archives.
Apple Inc. Education. “Mobile learning and iTunes U: Think outside the classroom.” Apple, Inc. http://www.apple.com/education/mobile-learning/ (accessed April 2, 2009).
Cameron, Ann. “There’s no place like home? YouTube and the National Library of Scotland.” Presentation at the Cataloguing and Indexing Group Scotland (CIGS) seminar “‘Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’: metadata issues and Web 2.0 services,” National Library of Scotland (NLS), February 21, 2008. http://www.slideshare.net/scottishlibraries/youtube-and-the-national-library-of-scotland(accessed April 2, 2009).
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3. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was a result of litigation initiated by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). Under the MSA that was signed by forty-six states and seven tobacco companies, certain marketing and advertising tactics were prohibited, including the use of cartoon characters, sports sponsorship, and sampling targeting kids and youth. These tobacco companies became sponsors of the anti-smoking campaign and were required to provide public access to documents opened via the MSA. Open access to these materials and new ones produced in similar lawsuits dealing with tobacco-related health concerns is maintained via websites that were set up by tobacco companies. Currently, these websites must remain accessible for viewers until June 30, 2010. For additional information, see Office of the Attorney General of California, “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement,” State of California, http://ag.ca.gov/tobacco/msa.php (accessed April 2, 2009); Office of the Attorney General of California, “Frequently Asked Questions: Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement,” State of California, http://ag.ca.gov/tobacco/faq.php (accessed April 2, 2009); and UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, “Tobacco Litigation Documents,” University of California, http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/litigation (accessed April 2, 2009).
6. The Internet Archive, “UCSF Tobacco Industry Audio Recordings,” Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org/details/tobaccoarchives_audio (accessed April 2, 2009).
9. For more information, read UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, “Podcasts@UCSF Frequently Asked Questions,” University of California, https://cit.ucsf.edu/podcast/info/faq.php (accessed April 2, 2009).
10. UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, “Host Your Own Podcast,” University of California, https://cit.ucsf.edu/podcast/info/requestpodcast.php (accessed April 2, 2009).
12. Philip Morris, “Waxman Hearings: Ugliness Revised,” 1994 (description available at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ztb77c00). To view this video on the Internet Archive, see Internet Archive, “Waxman Hearings: Ugliness Revisited,” Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org/details/tobacco_ztb77c00 (accessed April 2, 2009).
13. Podcasts@UCSF, “Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Multimedia Collection,” University of California, https://cit.ucsf.edu/podcast/description.php?id=29 (accessed April 2, 2009).
14. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, LTDL News & Announcements, entry posted January 28, 2008, http://blog.legacy.library.ucsf.edu/2008/01/multimedia-collection-podcast.html (accessed April 2, 2009).
17. comScore, “YouTube Surpasses 100 Million U.S. Viewers for the First Time,” comScore, http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=2741 (accessed April 2, 2009). According to the press release, Google sites had “6.4 billion videos viewed, with YouTube.com accounting for more than 99 percent of all videos viewed at the property.”
22. Library of Congress, “For the Common Good: The Library of Congress Flickr Pilot Project,” Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/flickr_report_final.pdf (accessed June 12, 2009).
24. YouTube, “YouTube Glossary: Related Videos,” YouTube, LLC, http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=95612 (accessed April 2, 2009).
25. YouTube, “Inappropriate Content: Controlling ‘Related Videos,’” YouTube, LLC, http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=92651 (accessed April 2, 2009).
26. YouTube, “Tobacco Companies around the World in Their Own Words,” YouTube, LLC, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmRcw1U4C5E&feature=channel_page (accessed April 2, 2009).
27. YouTube, “Smokeless Tobacco Videos,” YouTube, LLC, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDvRB7o2Nuo&feature=channel_page (accessed April 2, 2009).
30. Visit the conference website to read more about the conference and follow blog updates at Smithsonian Institution, “Smithsonian 2.0,” Smithsonian Institution, http://www.smithsonian20.si.edu/ (accessed May 10, 2009).
31. Joel Garreau, “Smithsonian Click-n-Drags Itself Forward: Cyber Thinkers, Curators Discuss Digital Challenges,” The Washington Post, January 26, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/25/AR2009012502179.html?referrer=emailarticle (accessed April 2, 2009).
32. A webcast of Chris Anderson’s keynote presentation is available at Smithsonian Institution, “Webcast of Keynote Presentations: Chris Anderson, Editor-In-Chief, Wired Magazine,” Smithsonian Institution, http://www.smithsonian20.si.edu/schedule_webcast2.html (accessed April 2, 2009).
33. Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More (New York: Hyperion, 2006), 217.
37. Russ Juskalian, “Video search engines help users sort through clips,” USA TODAY, July 30, 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/2008-07-29-video-search_N.htm (accessed April 2, 2009).
38. Download the gadget at iGoogle, “Elections Video Search,” Google, http://www.google.com/ig/directory?root=/ig&dpos=top&url=www.google.com/ig/modules/elections_video_search.xml (accessed April 2, 2009).
39. Arnaud Sahuguet and Ari Bezman, “‘In their own words’: political videos meet Google speech-to-text technology,” The Official Google Blog, posted on July 14, 2008, http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-their-own-words-political-videos.html (accessed April 2, 2009).
41. Stephen Baker, “Business Opportunities for Video News Archives,” Search Engine Land, posted on November 13, 2008, http://searchengineland.com/business-opportunities-for-the-news-archive-15368 (accessed April 2, 2009).
42. Kevin Kelly, “Becoming Screen Literate,” The New York Times, November 21, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/magazine/23wwln-future-t.html?pagewanted=all (accessed April 2, 2009).
43. Just as I was finishing a rough draft of this paper, the Library of Congress premiered its YouTube channel at YouTube, “Library of Congress,” YouTube, LLC, http://www.youtube.com/user/LibraryOfCongress. Read more on the Library of Congress Blog: Matt Raymond, “YouTube, and Now We Do Too,” Library of Congress Blog, posted on April 7, 2009, http://www.loc.gov/blog/?p=467 (accessed May 10, 2009); Grant Gross, “Library of Congress embraces YouTube, iTunes,” NetWorkWorld.com, posted on March 27, 2009, http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/032709-library-of-congress-embraces-youtube.html (accessed May 10, 2009).