April 10th, 2003
BY MONTE MAXWELL
Still in high school when Henry Louis Gates visited campus to explain the complexities of politics and diversity in the new century? A night class prevented you from hearing Terence Martin Keane talk about terrorism, war and trauma? Live on the
other side of the globe?
None is a hindrance any longer to watching a Benedum series lecture. WVU Libraries have made nearly 90 Benedum Lecture Series presentations available to the public over the Internet.
The Benedum series was originated two decades ago by the then
Benedum Professors, who had interest in fostering an enhanced intellectual dimension for the University.
C.B. Wilson, associate provost for academic personnel, is pleased a larger audience will now benefit from the lecture series. He has played a central role in the Benedum Lecture Series and the effort to make recordings of the lectures available online.
“The more convenient archival availability of the lectures will mean increased knowledge and understanding of the issues discussed for students, faculty, staff and the general public,” Wilson said. “Although sometimes not as visible in the media as some of the speakers on the spring semester Festival of Ideas series, the speakers of the Benedum series have been highly knowledgeable in their fields and are often world-class experts.”
Regardless of location, anyone with a high-speed Internet connection can access the lectures via two paths.
The following Web site contains a list of the lectures:
Users can also retrieve a lecture through an online search of the
MountainLynx Catalog on the WVU Libraries’ Web site:
http://www.libraries.wvu.edu. This route lets the user find a lecture the same way as finding a book – simply type the speaker’s name in the search field. Clicking on the listing for the
lecture activates the digital file.
First-time users must download a Cisco IPTV plug-in to enable them to view the lectures. No additional softwareis required after that initial download.
While bringing a lecture onto the screen takes only moments, the
process up to this point took months. Last fall, Libraries staff began digitizing videotapes of the lectures. Staff then cataloged each lecture so it could be retrieved using MountainLynx.
This project is part of a national trend of academic libraries to develop digital content and online services from their local collections.
“Library use is changing, not diminishing,” Dean Frances O’Brien
said. “The Internet has changed the way people use the library, but has not made the library obsolete.”
Before placing the Benedum series online, WVU Libraries successfully ventured into the electronic domain with the Electronic Reserve and Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Future applications are already in the planning stages.
“We look forward to digitizing more of our unique library resources, both for broadening access and for preservation. We’re interested not only in print, but audio and video collections, and especially in items from the West Virginia and Regional History Collection and other special collections,” she said.
For more information on the WVU Libraries’ online exhibits: