Video Database FAQs

What are the system requirements?

This product is optimized to operate with the following browsers and plugins:

Windows: Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher, Firefox 3.0 or higher, and Google Chrome 1.0 or higher.

Mac OS X: Safari 1.0 or higher, Firefox 3.0 or higher, and Google Chrome 1.0 or higher.

Note: Adobe does not offer the plugin required to view .PDF files in a web browser for Firefox. Adobe Reader plugin is only available for Safari.

However, users will be able to download .PDF files to their computer using Firefox.

For best performance, Adobe Reader 8 is recommended in order to view PDFs.

Audio and video resources are accessible with Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.


What is the quality of the streaming video content?

Alexander Street offers video and audio streaming at three different bitrates.

For video:

  • Low: is streamed at 400 kilobits per second
  • Standard: video is streamed at 800 kilobits per second
  • High: video is streamed at 2500 kilobits per second

For audio:

  • Low: is streamed at 64 kilobits per second
  • Standard: is streamed at 128 kilobits per second
  • High: video is streamed at 320 kilobits per second

Alexander Street now use JWPlayer which automatically determines the most appropriate streaming rate for a user based on their bandwidth. Users can no longer select the bitrate of their streaming as this is done automatically by the player.

Calculation is based upon the number of frames dropped per second - the player always tries to play the highest quality file at all times. Should the stream drop more than 25% of the frames needed to be streamed per second, the player determines that the available bandwidth for that user is not sufficient to support the current bit rate and automatically drops the user down to the next level of quality.

If no frames are dropped for a certain time, the player will try to move the user up to the next level of quality to check if they are able to sustain the higher rate. If they can't, the player will drop them down again.

Encoding and quality

Media playback requires your computer to 'stream' the media files. This is where a file is sent from our servers to your computer bit-by-bit. The file is temporary, meaning that you are not downloading a copy to keep. In order to achieve this, we encode 3 versions of each video at separate bit-rates. The 'bit-rate' is the amount of data we send to your computer each second. The higher the bitrate, the higher the quality, and the greater the bandwidth that is required.


Can I use Boolean operators?

Boolean searches using OR and NOT will not return appropriate results. The default operator is AND, and all searches will return as though they were ANDed. Wildcarding by adding an asterisk to your search term is also currently unavailable.
 

How do I view content with the video player?

Our video player is designed to provide an optimal viewing experience while also allowing for further searching, browsing and editing within the content itself. You can find a video tutorial about the video player here

Full-screen mode

The square in the upper-right hand corner of the video will launch the full-screen video player. In this view, you can play/pause, rewind/fast-forward via the timeline and change the volume. You may at any time escape full-screen mode by hitting escape or clicking the box in the upper-right.

Standard-screen mode

In the standard view, we have a full-featured toolbar that sits below the video allowing you to manipulate the video in a number of ways.

You can play/pause, rewind/fast-forward, jump back 30 seconds and change the volume via the buttons in the bottom left. You may also rewind/fast-forward via the timeline. When doing so, your current location in the video will be timestamped with a green flag, while the location you would like to move to in the video will be indicated with a red flag. The current timestamp and full length of the film are indicated in bottom right, just next to the timeline.

Drop-down Windows

Immediately to the right of the video window are a set of drop-down windows providing further information. These windows include details (abstract and bibliographic details), Tracks (from the original video source), Clips (User and ASP generated short clips), Transcripts, Thumbnails, and Apps. Not all windows may be available for all titles.

Clicking on any one of the windows will open it to reveal its contents.

Immediately below the video window is a text box, allowing full searching of the details and transcript associated with this video.

Details

This section reveals an abstract and as much bibliographic information as is available about this title. Select terms within the details are highlighted. Clicking these will take you to the browse page associated with this term.

Transcripts

The transcript is synchronized with the video and will highlight text spoken as the video plays. It will also by default scroll along with the video. To turn off this feature, simply click the box [IN THE UPPER RIGHT...CAN'T SEE ANY TRANSCRIPTS YET]. At any time, you may also click a section within the transcript to skip forward or back within the corresponding video.

Tracks/Clips

Tracks indicates any video tracks or chapters available on the original source material. Many titles will only have a single track. The title and length of the track are indicated, as are three blue buttons to the left. These, in order, allow you to play the video track, embed the video track in your website (opens a separate window revealing a link that can be copied and pasted), and include the track in an existing playlist.

Clips, on the other hand, are editorially meaningful clips from the video content, created by subject matter experts, both at Alexander Street Press and in the scholarly community. These are typically short selections of material that are ideal for use in a classroom setting, either in presentations or in assigned work. The three blue buttons serve the same purpose as with tracks.

To create a detailed clip, select the scissors icon in the bottom right of the toolbar. Give your clip a useful title. Indicate the start and stop times for the clip. Add some annotation or notes to give the clip some context. Indicate how widely you want this clip to be shared - just you, your class/group, your institution, or everyone. Then hit save.

To create a bookmark, select the bookmark icon in the bottom right of the toolbar. This will open the clip editing options described above, but with the start time set to the current video position and the title "Bookmark" followed by the video title.

Thumbnails

Thumbnails serve as a visual table of contents for the video. Clicking on any image will jump forward or back to that point in the video.