December 14, 2010

DVDs not dead yet

Are DVDs going to remain relevant much longer?  According to Benjamin Malczewski at Library Journal , "That depends..."  In an article published last month he outlines some factors that suggest the streaming video revolution has not yet arrived.

In reading/listening to all the media coverage of the inimitable demise of DVDs, check the author of the obit. Marketers often try to dictate and influence the public by sending urgent messages to shift gears, but retail sales, library circulation, and usability statistics have yet to verify the imminence of such a shift, suggesting, to the contrary, that the future of streaming isn’t “now,” just yet. DVD sales have been in decline since 2007, but the market is stabilizing, and retail sales of Blu-ray disc players and HDTVs are rising.

Further attesting to the durability of the disc is that DVDs still have a lot going for them: they’re portable, easy to operate, enjoy broad use, and offer tried-and-true playability. They are also the perfect accumulative showcase for uncut editions, blooper reels, “making of” featurettes, deleted scenes, voiceover commentaries, alternative endings, and other “extras” that viewers have come to expect and that studios count on to resuscitate titles for second-life marketing. With streaming—at least, the nonenhanced, basic streaming experience currently available to the consumer market—dismembered à la cart add-ons simply wouldn’t be the same and certainly not nearly as appealing to historians and catalogers.
...
The likely scenario is that when the shift to digital delivery occurs, it will be gradual. Until then, we will continue to see a compartmentalized marketplace, one in which competing film formats are divvied up according to users’ preferred delivery methods, be it streaming to their TVs or laptops; downloaded to their smartphones or iPads for on-the-go viewing; or at home, slipped into their DVD/Blu-ray disc players or via premium cable subscriptions or video on demand (VOD).

Whatever the format...it all begins and ends with the studios. They make the rules and dictate the pace of the game...In 2009, theatrical releases generated $9.87 billion, DVDs retailed in excess of $8.7 billion, and pay TV accounted for $1.27 billion of sales; additionally, premium pay-TV deals brought more than $100 million per year to each of the major studios. The money tale thus dictates that, following a film’s theatrical release, it goes first to DVD, then to VOD, then to premium cable.

A film’s posttheatrical release window is typically about three months. While some studios have flirted with the notion of same-day theatrical DVD/VOD/streaming releases, there is just too much profit to be made by the studios (which count on this money to put out the latest and greatest technologically advanced movies each year) in keeping releases sequential, with each distribution medium making its piece, and often further paying percentages back to the studio at each rung.
...
Technology is moving fast. Our delicately organized, Jenga–like balanced motion picture economy, however, is not. Where money in hard times is concerned—be you developing studio, title distributor, or front-end consumer—the preference is minimal risk, with a mind toward sustainability. Consistent (and rising) DVD circulation stats reflect this fiscal conservatism, and certain intrinsic factors—namely, a financially confident consumer encouraged by an accessible, durable, and consistently performing premium product—just aren’t in place yet.
We are still very much in a transitional period, trying different formats and delivery methods on for size. Many distributors have only just begun transferring titles to Blu-ray disc, fewer have expanded to streaming. Change will come, but only when the economy and technological environment (namely, an improved standard for broadband) are ready to support it.
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December 13, 2010

CS Lewis is the latest companion

Thanks to continued generous funding from  the TWU Graduate Students' Association, the latest addition to the Cambridge Companions Online  has been added to Alloway Library's catalogue

(TWU login may be rquired to access this ebook.)
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December 01, 2010

Who's on what?

Alloway Library has a long list of software available to users; here's an at-a-glance list.  (Note that only TWU students have access to the iMac workstations. TWU employees and external borrowers can access this software only on  IBM workstations 13,14 & 15)

Software
Workstation
Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro
All
Adobe Dreamweaver CS4
iMac
Adobe Fireworks CS4
iMac
Adobe Flash CS4 Professional
iMac
Adobe Illustrator CS4
iMac
Adobe InDesign CS4
iMac
Adobe Photoshop CS4
All
ArcMap (Geography)
iMac
Blender (Art)
iMac
ChemSketch (Chemistry)
iMac
Data Studio (Physics)
iMac
Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library
IBM
Diet Analysis 9 (HKIN)
All
Excel Modules (Business)
iMac
Excel QM 2 (Business)
iMac
Geosuite 2006
IBM
Google Earth
iMac
Google SketchUp (Art)
iMac
Labscribe (Biology)
iMac
MacGAMUT 6 (Art)
iMac
Maple 13 (Math/Physics)
iMac
MasterPlots Complete
IBM
Microsoft Office Access 2007
All
Microsoft Office Excel 2007
All
Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
All
Microsoft Office Project 2007
iMac
Microsoft Office Publisher 2007
All
Microsoft Office Visio 2007
iMac
Microsoft Office Word 2007
All
NVu (Web page editor)
iMac
Open Office 3.1
iMac
PCensus 6.50
IBM
POV-Ray v3.6 (Art)
iMac
QM for Windows (Business)
iMac
Quicktime
iMac
Simply Accounting Premium 2010 (Business)
iMac
SPSS 16.0
All
Treeplan (Business)
iMac
Write-N-Cite
All

OED online revamped

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dic...Image via WikipediaAlloway Library users  will be pleased to learn that Oxford University Press has completed a major update and relaunch of the Oxford English Dictionary Online today. The site features improved functionality and design, as well as a significant amount of new content, including the acclaimed Historical Thesaurus of the OED. (TWU login may be required)

Further enhancements:
  • displaying search results as a timeline, allowing you to see, for example, what influence major world events have had on the language, or when words from another language were first used in English
  • browsing the top 1000 most quoted sources, to find out which authors have had a significant influence on the way we communicate, and how they have shaped the language
  • informative and entertaining commentaries on the language written by dictionary editors and specialist authors
  • improvements to nearly 400,000 bibliographical citations
  • standardization of over one million references to quoted works, making searching simpler
  • expanded abbreviations, so you have all the information on one page
  • improved tagging of etymologies
  • Instantly search and browse by subject, region, usage, or by language of origin
  • Links at entry level to related resources including the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Dictionaries Online, and other online resources
  • My Oxford English Dictionary feature for creating your own profile and saving entries and searches
  • User-friendly new design
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