Streaming Media FAQ

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What is streamed media?
Streamed media is video or audio that is delivered to a personal computer via an Internet connection.  Streamed media can be accessed 24 hrs a day. There is no limit to the number of times something may be viewed or listened to. Media streamed by NUL is not downloaded to your computer.

What can be streamed?
Any video that can be played from VHS cassette, DVD, DV tape, as well as audio in the form of CD, cassette tape, etc. can be streamed. This service is only available to members of the Northwestern community.

How does the process start?
Streaming requests are submitted through the Course Reserves tool in Canvas and Blackboard. In Canvas, this tool is a module in the main menu; in Blackboard, it can be found in Library Resources. For help getting started, see our help pages or call us at (847) 467-1080. 

If you wish to stream a personal title, bring your media to Digital Collections on the 2nd floor of the east tower of the library. We are open from 8:30am to 5pm, M-F.    

If I make a streaming request, how will I receive the streamed media?
Starting in Fall 2014, all new requests will be delivered in Library Media. In Canvas, this is a module in the main menu; in Blackboard, it is a new link in Library Resources. (See help here.) Some items may also be delivered through Course Reserves, especially older titles imported from a previous course, but more will be transferred to Library Media as we phase out delivery in Course Reserves.
How will I know when my materials are ready?
To receive notifications about when your material are ready, subscribe to email notifications via the Course Reserves tool (see help page).  You may also follow the status of your requests by logging into the Course Reserves tool via your course site. 

How long do requests take?
You should allow 1 week per each video title or 1-25 audio tracks, though deadlines increase with the more titles you submit.  If you plan to submit more than 10 video titles in a quarter, the list should be submitted as soon as possible before the quarter. The beginning of every quarter is always the busiest time since we serve the entire university, Medical and Law Schools included.

What is needed to view streamed media?
At the minimum, an Internet connection with at least 333kbps (DSL, cable, etc.) and a computer with Real Player (free to download) installed are required to access streamed media listed as "On or Off Campus". Videos links that say "On Campus" are typically higher quality and use Video Furnace, which is video streaming software that requires the latest version of Java to be installed on your computer. Due to recent updates from Apple and various browser vendors, Mac OSX users must use the Firefox browser to view "On Campus" videos.

Are there limitations or problems that might arise?
Not all “high speed” connections are equal. The actual feed to your computer may vary depending on how many other subscribers are using the bandwidth from your provider at any given moment . This can cause the video to play erratically, freeze, or disrupt service altogether. Older computers may also struggle to process the feed, resulting in inconsistent play.

If students are experiencing trouble watching streaming video delivered through Course Reserves, they should first visit our Real Media troubleshooting page to make sure that their computer settings are correct before submitting a report here. There are instructions on the troubleshooting page for both Mac and PC users.