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American History streaming video database now available


   

Alexander Street Press videos


American History in Video from Alexander Street Press provides the largest and richest collection of video available online for the study of American history, with 2,000 hours and more than 5,000 titles on completion. The collection allows students and researchers to analyze historical events, and their presentation over time, through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries. This release now provides 5,752 titles, equaling approximately 1,482 hours.

May 7, 2011 – American History in Video's suite of tools—searches and browses powered by semantic indexing and searchable transcripts synchronized to video—give the ability to drill down in seconds to find the footage of interest from thousands of hours of video. This collection is an exclusive collaboration with A&E Television Networks and features some of their most important documentaries and series from The History Channel®, A&E Network®, and Biography®.

Historical coverage in the collection ranges from the early history of Native Americans, to the lost colony of Roanoke, to the 1988 Vicennes Affair in the Persian Gulf. Biographical coverage ranges from eighteenth century figures such as Benedict Arnold and Daniel Boone to modern day figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Helen Thomas.

Several types of video footage have been chosen to provide a well-rounded collection for historical study:

Documentaries from key partners The History Channel, PBS, Bullfrog Films, Documentary Educational Resources, California Newsreel, Media Rich Learning (forthcoming), Newsreel Films, Pennebaker Hegedus Films, and others provide long-term perspectives on historical events, historical people, and key turning points in American history. These documentaries often incorporate contemporaneous archival footage and photographs; feature interviews with citizens, newsmakers, and other witnesses to history; and make the knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm of numerous scholars, historians, and researchers readily available. Judicious reenactments of historical moments, particularly with the Civil War, help students visualize important aspects of history, such as the impact of military strategies and tactics on historical outcomes.

Newsreels, routinely shown before feature films in movie houses, were the only way for citizens to see American and foreign events and news during the pre-television era. With contemporaneous footage and coverage of a wide variety of stories—from war and politics, to fashion and sports, and more—newsreels remain a valuable window on American history, society, and culture. American History in Video is the only source where the entire series of United News (governmental newsreel from the Office of War Information) and Universal Newsreel (commercial newsreel from Universal Pictures Company, Inc.) stream in full online. In addition, the collection includes Semantically Indexed and searchable Release Notes, the original documentation provided for each newsreel release in each series.

Public affairs video from series like Longines Chronoscope (Columbia Broadcasting System) were usually created to provide contemporaneous analysis on issues of the day. Through interviews and debates with politicians, diplomats, and a range of foreign and American experts and leaders in a variety of fields, these videos shine a light on the topics, issues, and people considered newsworthy, as well as the received wisdom, in a given time period.

Archival footage adds another critical dimension to historical analysis, with coverage of events and people for an often more specific purpose than other types of video.

Taken together, this rich combination allows students and scholars to study history in new ways, by comparing, for example, the footage, transcript, and tone of government perspectives (United News Newsreel) of the internment of Japanese-Americans in 1942 or D-Day in 1944 with the longer-term perspectives of documentaries like After Silence (Bullfrog Films) or D-Day: The Total Story (The History Channel).

Specially developed controlled vocabularies let users browse video by historical era and event, year, people (in a variety of roles), place, and subject.

Our Critical Video Editions feature:

  • uniquely powerful browse and search capabilities enabled by Alexander Street's Semantic Indexing
  • multiple points of access—browses, searches, thumbnail images, transcripts—allowing you to find your point of interest in hundreds of hours of video within seconds
  • synchronized, searchable transcripts
  • video clip-making tools
  • annotated playlists—you can make, annotate, and share playlists for course or individual use, and you can include links to materials or resources outside of the collection to make this your one-stop resource
  • high quality, licensed, in-copyright material plus newsreel and other valuable footage
  • the ability to create synchronized annotations and multi-media presentations
  • an embeddable video player and playlist for use on a class Web site, library home page, or an electronic syllabus—lets you drive usage and deliver content to users where and when they need it without instructions or countless screens and clicks
  • streaming, quickly accessible online video at 400 and 800 kbps with no delays and no special equipment (just Flash and a browser)


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