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Arts Online

As colleges and universities gear up for distance learning or a limited return to campus, streaming media is emerging as a key tool. The on-demand availability and unlimited simultaneous use offered by some platforms make streaming a valuable resource for both independent study and structured lessons, on and off campus. Additionally, with museums, concert halls, and other cultural institutions closed, or open with reduced in-person access, these platforms also help libraries provide an alternate way for students to experience art and music.


Infobase is one of the largest providers of streaming services to libraries. Its Films on Demand service provides more than 42,000 streaming videos to academic libraries on a variety of subjects.

Each video is divided into searchable segments, and users can create and bookmark their own segments. Downloadable and searchable transcripts accompany each video, with keyword tags on video pages making related material easy to discover. Users can add videos or segments to their favorites, playlists, or classes, and a citation-export tool generates citations in common formats. Instructors can also upload content to the platform for their students and add YouTube videos to class lists for a unified resource playlist. Videos on the platform include public performance rights and can be used freely in the classroom and on campus for registered users.

Infobase launched a Films on Demand app for iOS and Android in March, making it easier to reach students wherever they are. With the app, users can watch videos, view playlists and assignments, and resume previously viewed videos and segments on mobile devices.

New content is added frequently, with recent subject collections including fashion, computer science, and entertainment. Each is available alone or as part of the Films on Demand Master Academic Collection. The fashion studies streaming video collection includes more than 1,300 titles with a focus on fashion history, designers, and elements of style. It includes video of runway shows as well as documentaries on designers.

Pricing is based on full-time equivalent (FTE) student population, with the fashion studies collection starting at $960. For more information, visit

DIS, a collaborative art group known for DIS Magazine, launched, a streaming platform for original series and documentaries, in 2018. Unlike streaming services that aggregate content, DIS produces videos it hosts in partnership with contemporary artists, architects, professors, and other contributors. Most videos are less than 30 minutes long and can be streamed on desktop browsers, mobile devices, and AppleTV. series blend education, entertainment, and art to spark conversation about social justice and political topics, including media theory, technology ethics, post-capitalism, and sustainability. Videos are categorized into four main collections—capital, identity, nations, and nature—with trending content highlighted.

For educators, DIS provides downloadable toolkits and syllabi to support courses and compiles resources and related media on its platform. DIS also hosts talks, lectures, and workshops for fees ranging from $500 to $2,000.

Dozens of new videos are added annually and are available for unlimited, simultaneous streaming. While individual accounts are available, institutional subscription access is IP-address based with proxy support for offsite users. There is no extra fee for using content and resources in classes, either in person or online. recently added full, item-level MARC records for easy integration into library systems. An upcoming website redesign will also add closed captioning to videos.

Pricing for academic institutions is based on FTE student population, starting at $780 annually. Other libraries interested in the service can contact for pricing. Visit for more information.

Arias over the Internet

Julie Schaeffer

Julie SchaefferUser: Julie Schaeffer, electronic resources librarian, Berklee College of Music/Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston
Details: is a streaming video platform with recorded and live performances and master classes from institutions around the world.

How do you use is a classical music live performance streaming database that is available to all students, faculty, and staff at Berklee via our website to supplement Berklee’s programs in music, dance, and theater. With the pandemic shutting down in-person classes, streaming video services have become more important for everyone, particularly the performing arts students and faculty. Our students are performers, and videos bring you into the orchestra pit and onto the stage to experience performances up close.

How does serve your library’s needs? We’ve had for eight years, and it has helped supplement local performances with national and international performances that might otherwise be out of reach for most of our users. The immediacy of streaming databases serves our users well when they need to study a particular piece of music or observe a professional’s technique to further their studies. Now during the pandemic when we are all stuck at home, allows us to visit the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center or the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. There are also documentaries, which faculty are using for their classes.

What are the main benefits? is one of several streaming databases we offer our users, and it includes many internationally renowned artists. You can watch a ballet in Paris and see the facial expressions of the dancers and study the choreography, the details of their costumes, and the layout of the set. As live productions shut down around the world, demand increases for the opportunity to experience performances at home. There are also master classes for students who want more informal learning over the summer.

What would you like to see improved or added to the service? Our summer semester is online, so we are looking to add library resources to our learning management system (LMS). I would love to see make their videos embeddable. The LMS is used for both online and in-person classes, and we are always looking for new ways to bring library resources directly to users. Improved integration will continue to be useful for us.

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