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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Streaming Media Resources

this is a guide to audio and video services available from the library and on demand, including both licensed and free resources.

Putting Media On Reserve

Faculty in increasing numbers use multimedia in the form of full-length feature movies, documentaries, news programs, and music as a vital and necessary part of their curriculum.  Unfortunately, class hours have not been increased to meet the demand, so faculty have had to become creative in finding ways to make these media available to their students outside of class. 

Every semester several hundred DVDs, Videos and music compact discs are requested by faculty to be put on reserve in the Du Bois Library as well as the Music Reserve Lab in the Fine Arts Center where students can go at their convenience to watch and listen to multimedia and do their assignments. The library has a media viewing and listening room on the third floor which contains individual stations where students can watch a movie, or listen to music on their own, or in small groups of up to four persons.

In order to comply with copyright law, with the exception of lectures filmed or recorded in the classroom, the Library does not put unauthorized copies of commercially produced films on Reserve. If the Library does not own a copy of a film requested for classroom use, and no copy is easily available in the Four Colleges, the Library will make every effort to obtain a copy.

There are now two media classrooms in the Library that faculty may book for special showings of media.  One classroom can accommodate up to 30 students.  Faculty can show media in any format, including 16 mm film, in the class.  Equipment in the room includes a 36 inch television, an all-region DVD player that will show DVDs in formats other than that used in the United States and an overhead projector for any other presentations such as Powerpoint, or any other media that will play on a laptop.

The smaller room contains a TV/DVD/VCR combination television, an all-region DVD player and a music listening station that plays everything from Long Playing Vinyl records to music CD's.  It can hold up to 10 people in the room.  These rooms can be booked by calling the Circulation/Reserves desk at 545-2622 or sending an email to

Streaming Media Service (New Pilot Project)

What is Streaming Media?

Streaming Media is any content in audio or moving picture form - movies, documentaries, cartoon animations, film clips, newsreels, etc., that is formatted for delivery over the internet to a personal computer.

How does it work?

After receiving any required permissions to stream, the audio, DVD or VHS is converted to a stream of data which is sent over the internet from a server. The data stream is received by a player which decodes it for the viewer at the other end. Students in your class access the player by logging in to your Moodle course, and then clicking on the title of the film they wish to view.

What are the benefits of Streaming Media?

The ability to deliver films and documentaries directly to students’ desktops has several benefits;

1.       As with reading assignments, students can now be assigned to view films prior to class. This frees valuable class time for discussion and analysis.

2.       Students and instructors can access the film anytime and anywhere they can log in using their net ID.

3.       Students don’t need to come to the library to try to gain access to the DVD or VHS.

4.       Instructors don’t need to come to the Library to pick up DVD/VHS. Instead they can project streams in classrooms with a computer connected to a projector by logging in their UMass account.

What are your options at UMass?

First check the Video on Demand databases of subscribed content and free videos to see if what you want to show your students (or use in your research) is available. If so, you can either link to it or embed it into your powerpoint presentation.

If the materials you want to show to your class are not available, contact the Reserves Dept. (  to see if they can digitize what you need to show for your class.


You must have a Moodle course in order to use streaming media in your class.

Contact OIT for help setting up a Moodle course.

If you have trouble embedding or linking to video clips into your Moodle courses, please contact the:
Instructional Media Lab:
A205 LGRC Lowrise
M-F, 10:00 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Using Clips in Class

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries is now offering a streaming media service to on-campus course instructors who utilize the Moodle Learning Management System. The primary purpose of the service is to support classroom instruction by providing required course content through on demand streaming of library-owned media. Videos of class lectures may be more suited to podcasting and are not within the scope of this service.

The scope and features of the service are:

• Streams are ordinarily designed for viewing on a personal computer, but can be used in a classroom setting.

• Our ability to provide any given stream is based on available resources (disk space, staff time) and what other videos are in the queue. Lots of advance notice is appreciated.

• Streaming media needs to be password protected and must be presented through Moodle.

Booking a Film for Class

If instructors want to book a film for a particular date, you should use the online form available here so that the Library can arrange for the film to be available for that date. Otherwise, it might be checked out.