On the The thoughts of a Code Gorilla blog a post on Videos from Repository Fringe 2008 provides a link to a number of videos of talks given at the Repository Fringe held recently in Edinburgh. The blog is written by a software developed who has beenidentified as “a free thinker” by JISC“.

The post states that the videos “will be made available via a Streaming Server at some point, however this is a microsoft-specific platform, so non-windows/non-Internet Explorer users struggle to access the data“. In order to maximise the access to the videos Code Gorilla has “uploaded them to google video“.

As I mentioned in post on the Open Standards and the JISC IErecently at one stage there was a fairly hard line view that open standards must be adopted in order to provide device independence – in the case of multimedia, W3C’s SMIL standard wold seem to be particularly relevant for synching audio, video and other resources such as presentation files. However as we see in this example, the vision that we had several years ago has failed to have any significant impact, as instead it is the popular services such as Google Video and YouTube which are being used to deliver such resources, as well as providing additional functionality, such as user comments and the ability to embedded the resources in other generic medication online pharmacy pages, as illustrated below.

It is also interesting to note that this also provides a good example of a pragmatic approach to the accessibility of such resources. At one stage, when the SENDA legislation was being deployed, there was a feeling in some circles that institutions would need to remove videos from their services unless they could provide full captioning. We now, however, widely accept the view that we need to take ‘reasonable measures’ to provide accessible alternatives – and that removing resources does not improve their accessibility.

So my congratulations to the ‘free thinker’ who has so clearly demonstrated that the naive views that we used to have can, in circumstances such as this, be ignored in order to maximise benefits to the user and provide cost-effective solutions.

It is appropriate to embed this video of Dorothea Salo’s keynote talk at the Repository Fringe 2008, with her comments that “idealism isn’t enough” and “programmers are moving towards flexibility”.

And finally I should add that at the end of this video clip (45 minutes in) Dorothea mentions the impacts that both Paul Walk and Andy Powell are having in questioning some of the assumptions which have been made in the past regarding the technical approaches taken to institutional repositories.

We do need more ‘free thinkers’, I feel.