Multimedia access & exchange (phase 1)

Long Title: The management of academic multimedia content for long term access and inter-institutional exchange (Educast phase 1)
ETH Zürich
Université de Genève
Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale
Universität Bern
SWITCH - Teleinformatikdienste für Lehre und Forschung
Domain: ELS
Status: finished
Start Date: 01.10.2009
End Date: 31.03.2010
Project Leader: O. A. Schulte
Deputy Project Leader: P.-Y. Burgi

Free exchange of audiovisual content across institutions and technological barriers is only possible, if institutions tackle the related problems like lack of standards, heterogeneous academic environment and missing long-term preservation strategies. Standards, formats, and metadata will be defined to foster the availability, interoperability and commutability - an important step also on behalf of the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement.

(see also phase 2 "Educast")


The project has analyzed various issues around:

  • the production,
  • the management, and
  • the distribution

of academic video in Switzerland, producing reports on the status quo and consider the options for further developments in the related domains.
Also, the project helped to build a community around academic video.

The project group intends to implement the suggested infrastructure and to realize the vision of a Swiss Educast portal in a follow-up project.

Project Description

Recording lectures and distributing audiovisual content in a variety of formats has become an everyday business for some institutions of higher education in Switzerland:

  1. as result of projects at individual institutions to provide an automated infrastructure to support producing, managing, and distributing audiovisual material and to offer the related service of recording lectures (S.M.A.C., REPLAY, opencast and others);
  2. as federated service (SWITCHcast) to help other institutions achieving similar results.

As a consequence, the number of recorded lectures and the number of academic audiovisual objects overall has been and is still rising significantly.
Actually a

  • lack of standards prevents syndication and federation of content;
  • exchange of content is technically impeded in a heterogeneous academic environment;
  • long-term preservation of content is everything but safeguarded;
  • utilization is painfully restricted, especially when compared to the idea of a free exchange of audiovisual content across institutions and technological barriers;
  • vision of creating a (teaching) knowledge pool is endangered by the ephemeral characteristics of formats, technologies and repositories.


To overcome the limitations described above is the main focus of this projects in that it aims at creating long-term solutions for the exchange of audiovisual objects:
Standards, formats, and metadata will have to be defined to foster the availability, interoperability and commutability of content across technological and institutional barriers - with an emphatically long-ranging perspective safeguarded by an archival strategy for audiovisual content. With regard to dissemination, the connection to the learning space has to be established and technical aspects of accessing the material have to be clarified with a perspective on Open Access and the relevant legal aspects.

While this project is to analyse needs and status quo and to develop standards and technologies on an abstract level, a second, larger project will aim at implementing these.


All Swiss institutions dealing with audiovisual content today or tomorrow will benefit from the results of this coordinated effort to clarify technical, administrative, legal and other issues in managing audiovisual objects, be that institutions of higher education, museums, organizations or schools.
Many institutions still find it hard to make their entry into the audiovisual world and need guidance not to waste their resources on investigating what has been investigated by others already.
The institutions involved can be described as innovators in the working area. They therefore have to solve problems today other institutions will be facing at a later stage (knowledge transfer).