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Alexander Street and A&E Television Networks Launch Online Collection American History in Video

Posted Apr 9, 2009
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[Editor’s Note: We ran a quick reference about the launch of this collection on March 27 based on a ReferenceShelf item:   Now here's the full announcement from the publisher, released today, April 9.]


Alexander Street Press and A&E Television Networks (AETN) have announced the release of American History in Video, an online resource designed to meet the needs of American history instructors and researchers with what will grow to be more than 5,000 cross-searchable titles in streaming video. The collection will include hundreds of documentaries from the HISTORY, BIO and A&E Network library, and will be the only online source for the complete series of both United News and Universal Newsreel. It will also contain a wide range of other rare archival and contemporaneous film


The collection's search and browse capabilities are driven by Alexander Street's Semantic Indexing, which uses extensive controlled vocabularies and more than 15 combinable search fields to help users find and analyze content. Search fields include historical event, era, date, place, historical figure, speaker, subject, video type, and years discussed.  Users can quickly compare, for example, Kennedy's rhetorical flair with Nixon's, or find all on-film occurrences of civil disobedience in the southern United States prior to 1968, or all footage of Depression-era soup lines. Users can also tap the expertise of others by searching shared clips and playlists within a secure environment.


Technical features built into American History in Video include synchronized, searchable transcripts for every minute of footage; visual tables of contents that let the user quickly scan the content of each video; clip-making and sharing tools; permanent URLs that let users cite and share video of any length down to a second; an embeddable video player that lets libraries and instructors deliver video content to other users on secure website pages or via classroom sites; and playlists that let users organize clips and include links to any content (video or text) anywhere on the web.


American History in Video is openly accessible on the Web through April 30th at After the open access period has ended, anyone may browse the collection for free, but accessing search or browse results will require authorization. Libraries or faculty needing trial access after the open access period may email


Learn more about American History in Video at


Source: Alexander Street Press,

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