What is C-Labs?
C-Labs is basically a way to allow video availability through Blackboard, alleviating the often timely process of obtaining copyright permission from the publisher and then digitizing the film. C-Labs is a product of the company Cdigix which is “an on-demand web-based educational service that provides schools with all of the tools necessary for posting and maintaining rich digital media online—while complying to copyright policies.” This is done by automating Digital Rights Management (DRM) copyright protection for partner schools while supplying industry-standard protection for the computer operating system. According to Cdigix, “media management, DRM, encryption, licensing, distribution, and authentication are completely automated by the C-Labs service.” School administrators only need to send the films to Cdigix and input the metadata associating the information to the course on the C-Labs administration software. In return, C-Labs automatically controls which users can view what films, helping to deliver secure files to only students in the designated course.
How does the C-Labs service actually work? Well, the process is fairly simple. First, Cdigix members work with Bellevue University’s computer network team to make sure all necessary ports are open. Then, they work with Bellevue University’s College of Distributed Learning Blackboard personnel to ensure that C-Labs and Blackboard communicate successfully with each other. Cdigix also works with a member from the library who sends the media to C-Labs and inputs course information into the C-Labs Administration interface. In return, this ensures that only those students who are enrolled in the course have access to the digital content. Now, students can log in to their course on Blackboard and click on the appropriate link to download the film. This online service eliminates the trip to the library to check out the film and enables the student more time to watch the film in the convenience of their own home.
Currently, the Bellevue University Library is trialing C-Labs to determine the feasibility of offering this as a service. We are evaluating what technical requirements are necessary to communicate with Blackboard, and how beneficial this service is to faculty and students. Receiving faculty and student feedback will assist the library with the decision whether to purchase C-Labs each year. Under the yearly license agreement, Bellevue University would select 25 film titles that could be downloaded to courses on Blackboard each year. Once a film is accessible on C-Labs, the university has lifetime rights to it as a current subscriber. As a result, the C-Labs collection will expand significantly each year and the demand for video copyright permission may diminish, alleviating the disappointment of the library not being able to fulfill a video copyright request.
As with any trial, there are bound to be a few hiccups—hence, the reason to test C-Labs first. Luckily, there are some wonderful instruction guides that may assist students with the technical requirements necessary for successful media downloading and the excellent staff within the College of Distributed Learning. The library is optimistic that C-Labs will greatly benefit Bellevue University’s course curriculum with the convenience of this easily-accessible, downloadable media.
If you have any questions about C-Labs, interested in assisting with the trial, or need a specific title through C-Labs, please contact the Library Director, Robin Bernstein, at the Bellevue University Library by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 402-557-7300. We look forward to providing this exciting new service to Bellevue University faculty and students soon.
View the Winter 2008 edition (Volume 12, Issue 1) of "More Than Books," the library newsletter, to see the feature article on C-Labs. More Than Books
CDigix - C-Labs company website.