A short presentation on the benefits of hosting videos on Vimeo and creating widgets for your website.
At OCOM, I’ve been working on the new library website and trying to think of ways to bolster our online services and connect with those students who don’t ever step foot in the library. We decided to try out video streaming, and we tested a lot of different formats, including hosting the videos ourselves and looking at different streaming sites. There are a slew of video streaming sites out there that will host your videos (and I think I tried out all of them) but we ultimately chose Vimeo for a few reasons:
- You don’t have to use your own server space to host the vids, which is awesome because that means your library site won’t be bogged down by using a lot of bandwidth for streaming. Instead, you can just redirect traffic to your Vimeo account.
- It allows the use of HD videos so the quality is going to be really nice and clear. If your video is higher quality and doesn’t take a lot of time to buffer, students might just seek out the DVD if streaming isn’t cutting it.
- And it is free (which is always nice), but if you do fork over the dough for a Pro account, you can actually control who is able to view the videos, which gives you a ton of control over the videos you are uploading.
Vimeo allows you to display your items a few different ways. The prettiest way is by creating a channel. You can select which videos show up in the channel, and the way in which they are presented. I prefer a YouTube-kind of format, but you can also create a gallery or blog-type setup as well. I’ve created a single channel that encompasses pretty much all our videos, but we also have different channels for specific categories.
Channels are slick and can also be used to promote your institution, but if you want to have greater control over who has access to your videos, albums are the way to go. The cool thing about creating albums is that if you have a Pro account, you can organize your videos into collections and categories that can be password protected. What this means is that if you don’t want to make some videos available for public viewing, (such as if the video author only wanted students to have access to the video), you can lock them so they are only accessible by those with the correct password. We are currently using this for work-study video tutorials – the world really doesn’t need to know about the inner workings of our checkout system.
Vimeo makes it really easy to create custom widgets for your videos so you can display them on your website. You can make a widget that displays screencaps for the videos in a specific channel or album, or even just show your latest videos. I experimented a lot with the Vimeo widgets, but I just couldn’t get it to look the way I wanted to. I didn’t want them to link to specific videos, but to the entire channel. So rather than using the Vimeo-endorsed widgets, I used HTML to custom-make thumbnails that would link directly to specific channels so people can view videos by category, but also a general channel that would house all of our videos. This helped to bring some organization to the video collection and redirects traffic to our Vimeo account so our website doesn’t get bogged down with streaming.
Some institutions will block streaming sites like YouTube, so its important to know those limitations beforehand. TeacherTube was not my first choice, but if YouTube is blocked, then you might need to broaden your search.