Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 health emergency, the Columbia University Libraries (CUL) is temporarily closed. The libraries online collections in all formats, including streaming video, are available in support of the research and curricular needs of our faculty and students.
If you have a physical DVD checked out, the due date has been extended to October 2, 2020
CUL subscribes to an exceptional collection of streaming video databases hosting feature films, documentaries, and recorded performances. Titles accessed through these sources can be individually linked through Course Reserves or directly from a Canvas course site. Students can alternatively be directed to the links from this research guide.
Course Reserves will include streaming versions of full-length films at the request of faculty for their course reserves if a streaming license for educational use is available. Not all films have educational license even if available through personal streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Film requests should include: film title, director, release date, and distributor, if known. Streaming video requests can take several days or up to a few weeks to process and activate. Submit a request for course reserves through this form.
There are numerous models for the acquisition of a streaming license for educational institutions primarily for feature films, documentaries, and recorded performance. Streaming video is currently acquired by the Columbia University Libraries as follows: licensing or purchase of curated database content, license or purchase of individual titles for course reserves, and licensing of high use core titles, primarily feature films. Individual films are licensed for either a one-year or three-year period.
CUL currently provides access to thousands of streaming video titles through curated collections.
Many of our streaming video titles are not accessible through our online catalog, CLIO. The best way to discover our collections is through a search or browse of the individual databases listed in the research guide.
For Kanopy and Swank Digital Campus, it is recommended to search both the Columbia University Libraries and Barnard College portals as listed from the guide. These providers have not yet unified our search access even though licensing for titles by either institution is available to all Columbia and Barnard affiliates.
The guide includes links to streaming video content currently licensed through a number of providers. CUL will respond to any request for streaming video by faculty for course reserves. This involves acquiring educational streaming license for individual films. Alexander Street Press, Kanopy, and Swank Digital Campus maintain large catalogs of films available for educational license.
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Criterion Channel, and other streaming video platforms do not offer educational licenses for feature films, documentaries, or their original content. Netflix offers a limited number of documentaries and programs for one-time educational use in the classroom. The list of titles can be found on the Netflix website.
It is recommended that students view the film before class and use class time for discussion. Screening a film through Zoom for synchronous classroom instruction is not highly recommended as the picture quality is diminished.
Students studying abroad can access our licensed content through the university authentication system.