More Online Videos for Women's Studies: An Update to "A Torrent of Moving Images"

By Weisbard, Phyllis Holman | Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

More Online Videos for Women's Studies: An Update to "A Torrent of Moving Images"


Weisbard, Phyllis Holman, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources


Two years ago, I assessed the world of online video for Feminist Collections? It's time now to take another look, both by revisiting sites covered last time to see what's changed and by reviewing new projects and sources. This time I'll also cover some non-U.S. material, as well as a few sources that are not free.

Gateways: Google Video, YouTube, and Bing

First, let's catch up with the sites previously reviewed. In 2008 I surmised that since Google owned You Tube (http://www.youtube.com), it might merge YouTube with its Google Video (GV) index (http://video.google.com), which at that time also hosted videos. Instead, Google has more clearly differentiated the two by no longer offering new video hosting on GV (although previously uploaded material remains accessible), directing producers to upload their material instead to YouTube. GV continues to index ready-to-view clips and full-length films, television shows, documentaries, and more, hosted on YouTube and elsewhere on the Web. Although the YouTube upload directions specify that videos may not be more than fifteen minutes long, (2) there are some longer items uploaded by "Google Partners," including nonprofit organizations, to whom Google extends increased uploading capacity. (3) What this means is that if you are used to searching YouTube for pithy zingers, you still can, (4) but if you want to cast a wider net, use Google Video to find material from thousands more sources, of whatever length. In either case, if you browse frequently for new material, you can restrict your search to recently uploaded videos. In YouTube, do your search and then click on "search options" and re-sort by upload date. Similarly, in GV, do your search first and then click on "show options," and either select one of the options by upload date (past twenty-four hours, past week, past month) or change the default sort from relevance to date, and you can go back in time as long as you like.

If you don't find enough on your topic in Google Video, try Bing Videos (http://www.bing.com/videos/), which seems to consistently return a higher number of results. "Trafficking," for example, gets 74,000 hits on Bing, compared to 15,900 on GV. By design, Bing suggests "related searches," although in this example, separate results for "woman trafficking," "women trafficking," and "female trafficking" would suggest that Bing itself needs further development.

Whether you use Bing or Google Video, your problem is more likely to be too many results than not enough. Both gateways are unwieldy for general searches, such as for "gender," "women," "feminism," and the like. For such searches, it is often preferable to take note of some feeder sources and go to them directly. For instance, Snagfilms, TED Talks, Charlie Rose interviews, the Open Video Project, and Women News Network Video Collection, all of which 1 discussed in the 2008 review, remain worthy sites. Snagfilms start with brief ads, but are otherwise available for viewing in full and for "snagging" and placing on websites. The "women's issues" topic on Snagfilms has grown to 107 items, now adding these important documentaries: Women of Vision: 18 Histories in Feminist Film and Video, (5) featuring independent women filmmakers from the 1950s through the 1990s; Indian activist and novelist Arundhati Roy's Damlage, (6) on her campaign against the Narmada dam project--excellent for discussing the environmental and human costs of massive damming projects; Girls Rock, (7) a terrific video about the empowering effect of a Rock 'n Roll camp for girls run by women rockers; and Prison Lullabies, (8) about four women who give birth in prison but, because they are participants in a special project, get to keep their babies with them until the children are eighteen months old. Although it does not list it in the women's issues category, Snagfilms also has Africa's Daughters, (9) about two impoverished Ugandan girls who are determined to graduate from high school.

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