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Film and Media Collections

DVDs,VHS, links to streaming video resources Need help? Call the library at 516-463-5986

Hofstra University Library

Collection Development Policy for Audiovisual Materials


Scope of the collection

Hofstra University Library maintains a collection of audiovisual content used primarily in support of the curriculum. Audiovisual orders are accepted from all current Hofstra University faculty, excluding faculty from the Medical School and the Law School, as these faculty are supported by their own libraries.  All faculty requests for audiovisual content in support of teaching are honored whenever possible.


The University library collects non-print materials in VHS cassette, DVD, and streaming formats. Occasionally Blu Ray content is purchased for use in Film Studies classes. When streaming access is available from commonly used vendors at a reasonable price, that format is preferred for all content. When streaming is not available or is prohibitively expensive, DVD is the preferred format.

Selection Considerations for Audiovisual content:

  • Curricular relevance. Highest priority is given to materials which are essential to supporting the curriculum.
  • Purchase/license price reasonable and funding available.
  • Additionally:   Anticipated frequency of use. Interdisciplinary nature. Favorable reviews or awards. Reputation of the creator. Reputation of the distributor. Quality of technical production.

Licensed Streaming Selection Criteria:

Streaming titles are accessible to all university affiliates with unlimited concurrent users. Streaming videos are hosted by vendor or licensed for upload to an external hosting site such as Kanopy. Streaming videos offer a range of resolutions, applicable to varying broadband availability. Streaming video player is reliable, compatible with most browsers, and allows for embed/link into websites/Blackboard. Streaming video is accessible off campus: proxy configuration and title level persistent links are reliable. Streaming video platform allows for instructor playlist and clip making capability. Streaming vendors provide high quality MARC records. Streaming video platform allows for transcribed text search. Streaming videos should be captioned for ADA compliance and to provide support for non-native language speakers (English or foreign language films) and individuals with different learning preferences. Streaming video platform provides access to administrative tools measuring, at a minimum, title-level usage and engagement statistics.

Streaming content will be acquired in the most economical way at the determination of the Head of Resource and Collection Services. This may include subscription collections, purchasing or licensing individual titles, licenses triggered by patron driven acquisition, or other acquisition methods as they develop.

When appropriate, we will promote the use of high quality, free and legally available streaming video (see Internet Sites for Streaming Video for some vetted sites).  If a requested title has been made legally, freely available for streaming online by the rights holder we may suggest accessing the freely available material as an alternative, acknowledging that we cannot guarantee long term access.

When an educational streaming license is not available or is cost-prohibitive, the library will purchase a DVD for the collection, and recommend individually paid access via Amazon, NetFlix, or other pay-per-view services for audiovisual content.

Public Performance Rights

When possible and appropriate, the library will purchase DVDs with perpetual public performance rights for non-theatrical screenings. The library does not pay for one-time public performance licenses (usually these are for popular films with wide theatrical release). Campus groups organizing public screenings are responsible for all fees for one-time public performance licenses.


The Library primarily acquires audiovisual materials in English or foreign films with subtitles.  Foreign language productions without English subtitles will be acquired on a selective basis, usually in response to a specific curricular request from the faculty.   The Library does not acquire language learning materials as part of the audiovisual collection.


We will not normally order a second physical copy of a title that is already in the collection. If a title is heavily used and likely to be of lasting significance, a second copy may be purchased. If the format is VHS and the topic is still of interest we will, upon request, replace the title with new media (DVD or streaming) assuming such is available.


Gifts of media must comply with the acceptable formats mentioned in this statement and must meet copyright policy requirements.  DVD is the preferred format for gifts. VHS content will only be considered for acceptance if it is unique and unavailable in a newer format. The Library reserves the right to refuse any gift that does not fit the current collection development policy. The Library will dispose of unwanted materials by sale, sharing, lending, or discard.

Collection management:

Weeding the collection is a necessary ongoing process in order to maintain quality, currency, and usefulness.  Weeding criteria include: worn or damaged formats, titles superseded by other formats or versions, and titles which have not been used in the past decade or more.

Ordering Audiovisual Content:

All video orders should be submitted via this request form. Orders will be researched and placed by the Head of Resource and Collection Services.

When requesting audiovisual content, you will be asked for bibliographic information including filmmaker, distributor, title, date, web link, etc. Indicate whether streaming is desired, or if a DVD will be acceptable.

If a film is needed by a certain date this should be indicated at the time of request. We will attempt to meet your need. Films still in theatrical release are highly unlikely to be available for educational use immediately. The library has no control over when a title is released for purchase or licensing.

Faculty will be notified when requested content is available.

Reimbursement for purchases by faculty:

Individual faculty are sometimes in a position to purchase difficult to acquire materials, especially those which are published abroad. Issues of technical format standards and compatibility with existing campus equipment must be considered. Some foreign produced videos will not run on standard US equipment.  Under these circumstances, we are sometimes able to reimburse faculty for items purchased on behalf of the Library. We strongly suggest that you contact the Head of Resource and Collection Services before making these purchases; otherwise, we cannot guarantee that Hofstra will provide reimbursement. Purchases made by individual faculty must include a receipt.


U.S. copyright law permits the circulation of videos to individual library patrons; Hofstra faculty may check out audiovisual materials for one week. The law permits showing a video to a class of students during the course of instruction. For more information on copyright and audiovisual content, go to the Copyright Information Center.

Locating materials:

Hofstra University Library provides full level cataloging for all VHS and DVD titles in the online catalog. Many streaming video records may also be found in the online catalog. As most of our streaming video partners are adding content on a regular basis, however, it is a good idea to check the different sites listed in this guide if the desired title is not found in the catalog


Sarah E. McCleskey, Head of Resource and Collection Services

1 March 2016

Revised 23 May 2017

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