Why digital Video Libraries?

In the early years of the internet simple pieces of information were exchanged. Text, audio and finally also visual material followed. Different components contributed to the triumph of moving image within the last couple of years: The internet connects not only stationary computers but also people (via smartphone) as well as smart speakers and home appliances, such as TVs. Rapidly growing storage capacities for decreasing costs allow medial diversity and therewith the increased use of video for knowledge transfer and exchange. Cheap mobile contracts with large data packages make it possible to watch videos wherever. The applications for video are manifold and we are not even close to exhausting them, yet – the resulting data volume is incredible large. How to stay on top of things?

The feeling of entering a library

The next level of digitalization will, thus, not be about technical opportunities but about how to use them. Do you know anyone who – for nostalgic reasons – searches for information purely analogue, even when under time pressure; or anyone who would like to borrow a library book with a catalog card? Probably not. Still, we wistfully think back to the feeling of entering a huge library and quickly finding exactly what we were looking for. Digital communication is a representation of our natural communication. That is the why we would like to have this feeling back, also for digital data bases. So, what comes after the simple digitalization of analogue content, as for example online-lectures, e-books, etc.? The next step requires an entity above the content, which sorts, catalogues and rates each medium: Quasi, a digital librarian. VRIKS fulfills this function for videos.

A conceptual innovation

VRIKS is particularly a conceptual innovation. It concerns a synthesis between existing technical opportunities and research findings – merged to correspond to natural user behavior observed in social media, especially user-generated content and gamification-elements. VRIKS uses the time-proven functional principle of how to store knowledge from the library system and applies it to the new mass-medium of video. The storage function is enriched by incorporating video-based knowledge exchange, as practiced daily on open video platforms – just in a formalized and simplified manner. This approach is comparable to that of “Desire Paths” from architecture. Beaten paths, as observable natural behavior of a large group of people, are used as the basis for planning paved paths. Technically, all individual aspects of hosting, playing and recording videos have co-existed for a long time. Yet, in this form and context they have not been combined before. The result is a participatory video library.

Video as a part of mainstream society

echnically, this idea has already been feasible for more than 10 years. However, the more recent developments in terms of computational power, data transmission speed, storage capacities and video standards were necessary to make video a part of mainstream society. Lev Lafayette provides an overview of the previous technical developments and shows time-series of related technical developments. These factors allow fast conversion in different formats (e. g. browser versus mobile devices), good quality transmission in a timely manner as well as cheap collection and simple integration of videos. The final additional factor is a corresponding culture of using video. This has evolved on YouTube, in the gaming-scene and at the latest with the youth-medium Snapchat.

VRIKS makes this culture available and usable for formal eLearning, research purposes and corporate knowledge management. On the shoulders of giants – from antique libraries to social media and cloud computing – we build the basis for using video and audio-material effectively as a repository of knowledge and the basis for knowledge exchange.

Picture by Chris Lawton via Unsplash