Video is an increasingly important medium for the communication of ideas in academia. It has high potential as a tool in instruction and is valuable for the visual portrayal of the outcomes of large‐scale mathematical models and simulations. A major problem for conventional video is that it is a passive medium, moving linearly at a fixed pace regardless of the viewer. This problem is overcome when video documents are made interactive so that the viewer can affect the pace and order of viewing. Video controlled by computer software permits the user to select video segments for viewing in any order and see video segments in the context of text, computer graphics, and sound. In effect, one can read a book (on screen) where the photographs are video segments, and one can branch from any page to any other as interest dictates. We might call such materials compound documents and the method of delivering them a multimedia presentation. Libraries have begun to collect interactive video materials and to sustain the equipment necessary to make the documents useful to readers. The challenge to library managers is making sensible decisions about investments in this arena.
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