So, is it coincidental that all the Internet access in our library network slows down in later afternoons? That our library system needs to devote ever greater resources to buying bandwidth? Apparently, it's true: if you build it, they will come. And they'll download streaming media.
The New York Times reported last week:
For months there has been a rising chorus of alarm about the surging growth in the amount of data flying across the Internet. The threat, according to some industry groups, analysts and researchers, stems mainly from the increasing visual richness of online communications and entertainment — video clips and movies, social networks and multiplayer games.
Moving images, far more than words or sounds, are hefty rivers of digital bits as they traverse the Internet’s pipes and gateways, requiring, in industry parlance, more bandwidth. Last year, by one estimate, the video site YouTube, owned by Google, consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000.
What does this mean for libraries? Continued investment in bandwidth for one thing, and paying attention to how our electronically-delivered services are impacted. OTOH, YouTube-hosted videos are off-site for a library: we put library instruction on YouTube's servers, a patron watches it in the office or at home -- it's no bandwidth off our nose.
I like the creative uses of YouTube by libraries, including library instruction, marketing contests (like the recent InfoSoup video contest), etc. I've found it easy to embed YouTube videos in blog posts here, as witness these examples.
Finally, here's a YouTube video embarassing for all concerned