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Accessing & Using Videos: Start Here

Finding and using online videos for research projects and personal interest

About this Guide

This guide provides basic information on videos available at the College of the Redwoods library in online databases, or as physical DVDs that can be checked out or viewed in the library, as well as free Internet videos or streaming media, with some guidance on how to cite your video sources.

About Library Videos, Online & on DVD

Can I use Library videos and media in academic research?

Of course! However, just like any other type or format of resource, a video should be evaluated before it is used in academic research. Most of the library’s resources HAVE ALREADY BEEN CHECKED AND EVALUATED BY LIBRARIANS before adding to the college’s resource collections. Librarians review sources carefully before purchasing to ensure the sources are reliable, relatively bias-free, accurate, timely, and relevant to courses, programs, and popular topics of research. So, a lot of the most difficult work has already been done for you.

What are the benefits or disadvantages to using Library media?

The greatest benefit is that they have already been selected and evaluated for quality, as noted above. Many of the library’s videos are online in streaming format, so the same benefits exist for convenience and speed. Most library online videos have already been licensed for educational use under copyright law, and are hosted in secure servers, so there is never any risk of infection from malware. You still need to monitor your bandwidth if viewing on your cell phone.

All library online media will include closed captions and/or transcripts. Transcripts can be printed or downloaded, or you can copy and paste selected text. So library media is fully accessible to everyone, and it's much easier to provide an exact quotation.

Citations can be generated from the online media database. Permalinks can be shared with group study partners, or your instructor, or your instructor can post a link on Canvas for the whole class to view.

Library databases are paid for by the college, so they are not open to anyone who is not a student, staff, or faculty member. You will need to login before viewing or accessing any information in any of the library’s databases, including the video databases.

DVD’s offer additional benefits. A DVD can last for many years- with care, up to a hundred years or more. They can be scratched or damaged, but often they can be repaired. A DVD can be viewed many times by many people for no extra charge after initial purchase.

Related Library Guides

Listed below are some library guides, like this one, that provide helpful advice and information for your research projects. 

About Internet Video & Streaming Media

Can I use Internet media in academic research?

Of course! However, just like any other type or format of resource, a video should be evaluated before it is used in academic research. Is the source reliable? Is it opinion, is it biased, is it factual evidence? Is it the result of research and experimentation by an educational institution, government, or nonprofit organization? Is the author an expert in the field they are discussing? Check some of the library’s tools that are available to help you evaluate sources, or ask a librarian.

What are the benefits or disadvantages to using Internet media?

Streaming video has changed how people watch videos online by making it no longer necessary to wait for a whole video file to download before starting playback. The fact that the videos are playing ‘live’ or immediately, and are not being copied or downloaded to any local storage device, reduces the risk of copyright infringement, or infection from malware.

Some internet media may be captioned, but many are not, and/or do not provide transcripts. So in that case, if you want an exact quote from the video, you'll need to write or type it yourself.

However, streaming video requires access to broadband, and will stop working if the internet connection is lost. Slower connections may require the viewer to pause playback periodically while waiting for the slower stream to ‘catch up’ with the faster playback. Streaming media is also ephemeral- you can’t keep it or store it, and the sites and links may change, get lost, or disappear. Companies hosting or owning the media may change policy or go out of business. You may also still find some online media that requires a download. This is risky, since many may contain malware that could infect or damage your computer. Also, become familiar with your cell phone contract and the bandwidth usage charges. If you like to watch media on your phone, you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised by the bill!

Citation Styles

Always ask your instructor what citation style should be used for research projects. See below for links to helpful resources.