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Library Updates

New Database Streams Video

“Films on Demand” is a new database with some 6,500 live streaming videos that are accessible through the library’s database list. It is strong in humanities and social sciences, business and economics, science and mathematics, health and medicine, archival films, and WWII-era United News newsreels.

In the “Films on Demand” database, users can create accounts and develop playlists, favorites, and preferences. To sample some titles, try:

  • In Brands We Trust
  • Slaves of the Cyberworld
  • Shakespeare’s As You Like It
  • Sold: Fighting the New Global Slave Trade
  • Universal Newsreels: Beaten Nazis Sign Surrender.

For faculty, “Films On Demand” is a state-of-the-art streaming video platform that makes it easy to incorporate educational programs from Films Media Group (FMG) into content management systems, online lesson plans, and distance learning courseware. Nearly every FMG title available on the Web site can be accessed instantly. This format is ideal for integration into Blackboard courses.

To use Films on Demand in the classroom, it’s helpful to know that most videos in the database are available in up to three formats (Flash, Windows Media, and Quicktime) and up to three bitrates (300Kbps, 700Kbps, and 1.5 Mbps). For classroom projection, using the highest bit rate offers the best resolution. Note: because file compression is necessary to smoothly stream videos over the Internet, the video quality will not be as sharp as when viewing a DVD.

Every title in the database is also available through keyword and title searches in the ALADIN Catalog. About 600 new titles will be added each year. For more information contact Chris Lewis at 202-885-3257 or

Literary Lunchtime Series

You’re invited to Literary Lunchtime in the Library, which, arguably may be the most creative meal experience on campus.

Every third Monday at noon in the Mud Box students in the MFA program in creative writing read aloud from their works in progress—both prose and poetry—for appreciative members of the AU community. The readings are cosponsored by the Department of Literature, CAS, and the University Library.

David Keplinger, director of the creative writing program, recruits the student participants. For their readings, the students receive an honorarium made available by a generous member of the Friends of AU Library.

Questions and responses follow the readings, and audience members have an opportunity to learn about the writing process. Students’ often riveting works in verse, fiction, or creative nonfiction are frequently inspired by their own lives. Jay Melder and Chris Molnar began the series on Sept. 20 with poetry inspired by Melder’s native Louisiana and poetry and prose inspired by Molnar’s interest in science. Future readers and dates are:

  • October 18: Julia Wang and Kim Dawson
  • November 15: Shawn Frazier and Richard Cytowic
  • February 21: John Carroll and Toni McIntyre
  • March 21: Mark Cugini and Diana Metzger
  • April 18: Gina Evers and Philip Dean Walker

Exhibit Celebrates Commemoration in Washington

Hanging on the first-floor walls of the library is a new exhibit of panels from A Century of Design: The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 1910–2010 that originated at the National Building Museum this summer. The panels describe the role of the U. S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and its mandate to help the nation commemorate its history.

Several panels discuss the creation of the National Mall, including the Lincoln, Jefferson, Vietnam, and World War II memorials. Other panels depict related subjects, such as the Mall before 1910 and the L’Enfant Plan for Washington. The exhibit will be on view throughout the fall semester.

Chris Lewis and Diana Vogelsong contributed to this column.