Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I don't know why but we in educational technology regularly seem to over constrain ourselves in terms of desiderata for services, when something that functions simply and seems to fill a need would seem to nicely. Consider audio reserves. In the old days students students went to the Music Library to sit in a cublicle and listentto recordings that were on some fixed medium. Then some time in the late 90s, someone got a brainstorm and said, wouldn't it be much more convenient for students to stream this content behind some form of authentication to handle both the copyright and the licensing issues, on the one hand, while enhancing student access on the other.

And voila, we have audio eReserves. Now we're seeing students with portable devices that can store audio that is downloaded, and hence further mobility can be given to student, but straight download doesn't pass muster in terms of copyright - the students can redistributed the content very easily. DRM (Digital Rights Management) software applied to this content "can" effectively limite the redistribution. Does this work in practice as well as in theory? I don't know. I'm especially interested in the related support issues if a campus goes this route. If anyone is trying the approach for audio eReserves, please let me know.

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