January 06, 2007

Video Sharing LabSpace Resources

In part prompted, albeit informally, by a couple of people associated with OpenLearn, I've popped one of the L120 French Ouverture MP4 video resources onto a couple of video sharing sites (YouTube and motionbox).

There has been a quite a bit of talk here lately about the ways we could and might make use of such sites, but I'm a firm believer that it's only when you "just do it" that you appreciate what differentiates 'just posting the content' from posting it effectively. And having 'just done it', you are then really in a position to see how useful/interesting it is...

Take my French: Ouverture upload to YouTube, for example. What should the title of the clip be, or the description?


A suggested form of words to act as a footer to the description would be really handy, as well as suggested way of incorporating a relevent link back to OpenLearn/Labspace.

There are also issues regarding sensible tagging, and the appropriate video category. Tags can, of course, be fluid, but to reconcile resources related to a unit mashup across different tag-supporting applications, a recommended course/unit tag would be useful. I used L120 but maybe I should have used L120_1 , or even something like openlearn:L120_1 ?

The original XML mark up of the resource is as follows:

<MediaContent src="L120_1_002v" id="MP4001_002" type="videoboth" target="new window" supportDoc="Trans L120_1_002">
  <Description>Click to view video 04:26 - 07:20</Description> 

and there's no reference at all to the resource in the metadata file that comes with the LabSpace XML bundle for the unit.

The transcript referred to in the supportDoc attribute actually resolves to PDF document that contains transcripts for several audio and video resources associated with the course. Again there is no metadata information described in that document that can help (except maybe the title of the package?). That said, there doesn't seem to be anywhere in the resource details page on YouTube where a link to - or upload of - a transcript is supported. Similalry, there's no way of associating the Creative Commons license details with the upload (services like flickr are way ahead in this respect...)

Just as an aside here, the use of an effectively closed document format like PDF for the transcript material means that it is non-trivial (for me at least) to extract the transcript content and associate it with the timeline of the video, or indeed make use of the transcript material in any other way.

To my mind, the transcript is not a resource in the same sense that the video material is. It is textual material that should be included within the XML source document for the unit.

(Admittedly, it may be that in the rush to get the content published on OpenLearn, supplementary materials like transcript PDFs were deemed to be resources, as such, and the long term plan may be to convert them over to XML when time allows; or maybe the thinking is that the community will do it? ;-) Whilst I'm all in favour of 'just good enough' (or even 'almost good enough'!) publishing, there has to be a mechanism in place that supports quick and easy revisions of content, something I don't see any at the moment in LabSpace, at least outside of the project team. Revisions that do take place seem, as the moment, to change the LabSpace resource ID, which also means that links break...)

Okay - back to it. As well as generally informative metadata, like title and description, there is also the opportunity to post a minimal amount of origination metadata:


The "location recorded' slot may be overloaded here with an OpenLearn assignation, perhaps? I'm not sure what should happen with the timestamp?

Although technical metadata (length, filesize, screen size etc.) is not exposed, it probably could be. Whether or not it should be described in a the LabSpace metadata file for the unit, I don't know. Certainly providing the dimensions of the video clip, for example, would be handy.

The final set of YouTube attributes that can be edited relate largely to usage. I used the defaults for my upload:


Other video upload sites are likely to offer a slightly different range of options for all metadata fields (I wonder if any allow you like link to a transcript, if it already exists?).

Even so, this simple exercise raises several questions regarding the level of metadata it might be useful to provide about multimadia resources if OpenLearn and LabSpace users are to be encouraged to share and reuse/remix them easily and effectively?

As to the value of making video content available on YouTube? I'm not sure. If nothing else, it is easy to share/embed in other space, like this blog post for example:

Which means I can pop the resource onto my Myspace page (it's the video clip in the Television box...) easily enough (though why anyone would want to, in this particular case, I don't know!)

In the next post, I'll give a quick demo of how video editing sites like motionbox can provide a more compelling (re)use-case of uploaded, easily shareable video content.

Over the next week, I'll also post some immediate thoughts on uploading LabSpace course image content to services like flickr, and LabSpace audio content to audio remix services like JAMGLUE.

Unless I get stopped before then, of course, because it's an using/redistributing the material in a way that it is not licensed for...

But first - I have to go and do some marking ;-(

Posted by ajh59 at January 6, 2007 03:42 PM