Using Video & Streaming Video at Western

Scholarly Materials Information

Media Collection

Using Video & Streaming Video at Western

Information on finding and using video and streaming video at the Western Libraries

The Western Libraries supports the use of media in Western courses and for course-related assignments. Each option for using video and streaming video at Western listed below includes a description of resources available through the Libraries and a brief explanation of relevant copyright principles. This explanation should not be interpreted as legal advice. Instructors should decide which option is most appropriate based on their pedagogical needs. 

Non-Streaming Options

The Western Libraries offers these options for using physical media in Western courses:

Requesting Physical Media

  • Requests: Faculty, staff, and students may request DVD items for purchase; these requests will be evaluated based on cost, availability through Summit, and curricular relevance. Preference will be for items that are available with closed captioning; non-captioned requests will be queried before purchase.
  • Help: Contact the Media Librarian; or, for help navigating the request process, contact Library Acquisitions.

Classroom Screening

  • Borrowing & Holds: DVDs and other media formats can be checked out by instructors for viewing in face-to-face classroom teaching. Once an item has been identified via OneSearch, it can be brought to the Haggard Circulation Desk for checkout or requested via Hold for pickup (location: Western Library) or delivery via Document Delivery. Note that items requested via Hold may not be ready for 24 hours.
  • Advance Bookings: Faculty and staff can also reserve media items more than 24 hours in advance by finding them in OneSearch, clicking Request Options, and selecting Booking. Booked items can be picked up at the Haggard Circulation Desk; or, faculty can select Document Delivery as the Pickup Location to have the item delivered to their departmental mailbox.
  • Copyright: Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act of 1976 permits instructors at nonprofit educational institutions to show entire films in the course of face-to-face classroom teaching provided that the video was lawfully made and acquired.
  • Help: For technical help showing DVDs and other media formats in your classroom, contact Classroom Services or ATUS. For help locating or reserving a media item, contact the Haggard Circulation Desk.  

Course Reserves

  • Physical Reserves: Instructors may place a physical media item (either a personal or Western Libraries copy) on course reserves by using the Course Reserves Request Form. More information about course reserves is available on the Libraries website.
  • Locations for Viewing: Individual students may watch course reserves videos and other media in the Reserves area. Non-course reserves media may also be viewed in the reserves area.
  • Copyright: DVDs and other media in the Libraries collection may be loaned out and viewed under the First Sale Doctrine
  • Help: Contact the Reserves Specialist for help placing physical media items on course reserves. 


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Streaming Media Options

The Western Libraries supports the curricular streaming needs of the university. However, the high cost of streaming videos, combined with budget constraints, necessitates limits on what the Libraries is able to provide. Criteria for acquiring streaming video are listed in the Request that the Library Acquire Streaming Rights section below; however, these guidelines may be adjusted from quarter to quarter based on funding. We ask that you carefully consider non-streaming and other streaming options--several of which are outlined below--prior to requesting that the Libraries acquire the rights to stream titles. The models discussed below could be used in tandem with each other.

Link to Streaming Content from the Western Libraries

  • Finding Streaming Content: The Western Libraries provides access to a large number of licensed streaming videos. As instructors are planning their syllabi, we recommend checking OneSearch first--or contacting the Media Librarian--to see if there are films already available that will work with the curriculum.
  • Course Reserves: Instructors may include streaming media in course reserves by using the Course Reserves Request Form. More information about course reserves is available on the Libraries website.
  • Copyright: The Libraries has license agreements with various streaming providers to make these films available to Western faculty, staff, and students. 
  • Help: For help locating appropriate streaming content, contact your subject librarian or the Media Librarian. Contact the Reserves Specialist for help placing streaming media items on course reserves.

Request that the Library Acquire Streaming Rights

  • Purchase Criteria: The Western Libraries supports curricular-based streaming video as best as we can given budget constraints, restrictive vendor licensing terms, high costs (typical streaming rights for one year range from $150-$600 per film), and the need for equitable distribution of streaming across the university. Because funding is limited, requests will be evaluated based on their relevance to specific coursework. The Libraries will accept requests from faculty, staff, and students until the streaming media budget for each quarter has been expended.
  • Duplication: Streaming titles already owned on DVD will not be purchased as streaming except on a case-by-case basis for online courses or courses held elsewhere than Western’s main campus.
  • Commercially Available Film: The Libraries will not purchase streaming rights for films which are readily available at a reasonable cost to students through commercial pay-per-view services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. Consult an online video aggregator such as to see which titles are available on major commercial streaming providers.
  • Time Constraints: With the exception of a few streaming providers (such as Kanopy), setting up streaming agreements with vendors can be time-consuming. Requestors should plan ahead, since it can take several weeks to license these materials. 
  • Renewals: Upon expiration of a license--usually after one year--the Libraries will not proactively initiate a renewal. If a streaming title continues to be needed for a course beyond one year, the instructor should submit a new purchase request, to be evaluated based on the purchase criteria outlined above.
  • Help: For help requesting streaming content, contact the Media Librarian or your subject librarian. For assistance navigating the purchase request process, contact Library Acquisitions.

Host Streaming Video Yourself

  • Hosting Video in Canvas: Canvas allows instructors to host media files up to a certain size for their courses.
  • Copyright: If you have a video file you’d like to use in a course, consider doing a Fair Use evaluation to determine whether you can host the media yourself. See the Western Libraries copyright FAQ for more information about this process and the criteria involved.
  • Help: For questions about copyright, contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian. For questions about working with Canvas, contact the ATUS Canvas support team.

Request that Physical Media be Digitized

  • Converting Media: The Libraries does not currently have the infrastructure to convert physical media to digital formats.
  • Accessibility Accommodations: If you need a media item to be converted for accessibility reasons, please notify the Libraries and/or contact disAbility Resources for Students (DRS). The Libraries will work with DRS and Video Services to ensure that physical media collections are accessible to all users.
  • Extended Ed: For extended ed courses, contact the Media Librarian for discuss alternatives to digitization.
  • Help: For questions about digitizing physical media, contact the Media Librarian or the Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Ask Students to Subscribe to a Commercial Streaming Service

  • Student Subscriptions: If you intend to use feature films in your class, consider asking your students to pay for content from a streaming provider such as FilmStruck, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.
  • Copyright: Each provider will have a different license agreement. We encourage you to read the terms of each license.
  • Help: Consult an online video aggregator such as to see which titles are available on major commercial streaming providers.


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Who Can Help Me?

Guideline Review

These guidelines were developed summer 2018 based on Georgetown University Library's Guide to Using Films in Courses (2017) and the University of Washington’s guide, Using Video & Streaming Video in Courses (2018). The guidelines will be reviewed at least on a yearly basis.


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