Title:Streaming Audio and Video: New Challenges and Opportunities for Museums
Authors:Jim Spadaccini
Publication:MW2001: Museums and the Web 2001

Streaming audio and video present new challenges and opportunities for museums. Streaming media is easier to author and deliver to Internet audiences than ever before; digital video editing is commonplace now that the tools -- computers, digital video cameras, and hard drives -- are so affordable; the cost of serving video files across the Internet has also significantly decreased. The initial growth of the World Wide Web was driven by the ease of authoring Web pages, the affordability of the medium, and the potential to reach large audiences. The same conditions are now in place for streaming audio and video, and we’re just beginning to see the widespread use of the technology. The challenges and opportunities presented to museums today are similar to those that existed when the World Wide Web first became popular. Many questions raised are the same: Can this technology be used to expand the museum experience? Are there ways to take advantage of the "two-way" nature of the Internet? A few museums have already experimented with streaming media and some lessons have been learned. However, presentation methods and the technology itself continue to evolve. This paper shares experiences with streaming media (focusing on streaming video), and discusses some possible new directions for effective use of the medium within online museum environments.