Library offers films, streaming video, and viewing facilities

Spencer Jones '13 viewing a movie in the family room in McCabe Library.

by Pam Harris and Terry Heinrichs

From the Harry Potter movies to Human Planet to Orchestra 2001 in Russia, the TriCollege libraries have thousands of DVDs and VHS films that library patrons may borrow. The Swarthmore College Library owns almost 12,000 of those videos.

About 6,000 feature films and almost 3,000 documentaries are kept in McCabe Library. Cornell Science Library has a collection of 519 videos on a range of science topics. Underhill Music Library holds 1,305 videos; 157 of these are unique dance videos created at Swarthmore.

Beginning in 1985, these dance videos contain student and faculty performances and visiting artists’ lectures, workshops, and performances. (To see a list on Tripod, use “Swarthmore Dance Department” as a keyword search and limit this to videos/DVDs.)

Sunka Simon, associate professor of German, Film and Media Studies, writes that “McCabe library and the LRC have been immensely supportive to faculty and students in FMST and GMST in purchasing German films and media products for teaching and research. For novices in national and world cinemas, for fans of Hollywood cinema and cinephiles of experimental films, the LRC and the library hold a plethora of treasures. Go and discover them on your own or through our classes and screenings!”

McCabe, Cornell, and Underhill Libraries have video viewing equipment and spaces. On level three of McCabe, there are individual viewing stations, a family room, screening room, work/study room, and video classroom. McCabe also has a few portable DVD players that may be borrowed. Cornell has equipment in its downstairs Sigma Xi room. Underhill has DVD and VCR players.

Streaming videos

With the most recent addition of Filmakers Library Online, the college community is now able to stream over 6,000 videos in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The collection includes Dance in Video, Ethnographic Video Online, Filmakers Library Online, Opera in Video (all from Alexander Street Press), and Films on Demand (Films Media Group).

Use the Videos & DVDs search in Tripod for specific titles; some but not all items from the following resources will be listed individually in Tripod. However, the best way to find videos in these resources is to go to them directly and search.

Dance in Video streams 600 videos of ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, and improvisational dance, as well as forerunners of the forms and the pioneers of modern concert dance. Included are classic performances, experimental works from upand- coming dance troupes, documentaries by and about leading choreographers, and videos on dance training.

Ethnographic Video Online provides the largest, most comprehensive resource for the study of human culture and behavior, with more than 600 films covering every region of the world. Featuring the work of many of the most influential documentary filmmakers of the 20th century, such as John Marshall’s legendary The Hunters, one can find a host of topics, from language and culture, to magic and body language, and everything in between.

Filmakers Library Online is the most recent streaming video acquisition in the library. It provides award-winning documentaries on race and gender studies, human rights, globalization and global studies, multiculturalism, international relations, criminal justice, the environment, bioethics, health, political science and current events, psychology, arts, literature, and more. It presents points of view and historical and current experiences from diverse cultures and traditions world-wide. This release now provides close to 1,000 titles.

Films on Demand streams over 4,000 videos in the humanities and social sciences from the Films Media Group, long recognized as the finest provider of educational film. With such producers as PBS, Frontline, and the BBC, and topics that cover a multitude of disciplines, including education, psychology, biology, and political science, this is the place to go for quality video.

Opera in Video streams over 250 important opera performances, captured on video through staged productions, interviews, and documentaries. The collection, which will number about 250 on completion, presents an overview of the most commonly studied operas in music history. Performances cover the full range of operatic composition, from the Baroque to the 20th century.

Netflix on the big screen

Watch movies on the big screen in McCabe Library’s family room, on Level III, with Netflix (bring your own popcorn). Before heading upstairs, be sure to borrow the two remote controls from the Circulation Desk – one for the TV and one for the Roku Box. Hundreds of free movies and TV episodes are immediately available, or stop by the Research & Information Desk, on Level I of McCabe, to add more movies to the instant queue.

Film screenings and public performance rights: What you need to know

Thinking about having a film festival or inviting the public to a film screening? Showing a film to a group may require obtaining public performance rights (PPR). It is up to you to determine what you need to do to comply with copyright law.

The library often purchases titles that include PPR. Do a title search in Tripod for the movie you are showing to see if we have PPR; the information is included in the notes at the bottom of the screen. If we do not have PPR, follow the steps outlined on the library’s guide to public performance rights, or contact a librarian.

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