Admin Alert: Our Platforms Are Now Updated with HTTPS
This past summer, Alexander Street began supporting HTTPS on its platforms (in addition to HTTP) to strengthen security and privacy of your information.
On January 2, 2018, all Alexander Street platforms will permanently transition from HTTP to HTTPS. Existing HTTP links will redirect to HTTPS when the transition occurs. Organizations that use proxies to access Alexander Street platforms will need to update links and certificates to support HTTPS.
This support article shows how to complete changes in proxy servers and provides answers to common questions. Even if you don't use proxies, you'll want to review and convert links to their HTTPS versions. (Note: Access to your Alexander Street content has not been impacted even if you haven't yet made the switch.)
Links will redirect from HTTP to HTTPS for some time to come, but we encourage you to do this important work today if you haven't already.
Need help? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Known Issues on the Platform
Because this site is a new project, some features are still undergoing polishing and improvement. Below is a list of items we are currently working to fix and upgrade to better serve our customers. To learn more about switching to the new platform, please visit our FAQ on the transition for details.
- Boolean searches using OR and NOT will not return appropriate results. The default operator is AND, and all searches will return as though they were ANDed. Wildcarding by adding an asterisk to your search term is also currently unavailable.
- Hits in child records (tracks, chapters, score movements, etc.) are not highlighted on search results pages.
- Some select terms lists on advanced search pages are very large and the entire list will not be loaded at once in the pop-up window in these cases. We are improving letter picker functionality to resolve this.
- Unchecking a previously added term from a select terms list in advanced search does not remove it from the form.
- Playlists may be added to your "Selected Items" for use in citation lists, but attempting to cite in anything besides ASP's default "brief" format will return an error message. Although links to playlists can be shared via social media as part of your Selected Items list (see details here), playlists cannot be embedded at this time.
- Embedding from our site will not work in Sakai, due to their security settings. We recommend you use permalinks instead of embedding if your institution uses Sakai. Other learning management systems are not affected.
- Some playlists containing only items not yet available on the new site may be displayed in the playlist browse, although they will appear empty.
- Users in older versions of Internet Explorer (IE8 and earlier) and Firefox (Firefox 12 and earlier) may experience display issues on the new site.
Tip 1: Keep searches simple and specific. For example, to find a Washboard band, you only need to enter: washboard.
Tip 2: Try double-checking your spelling before giving up a search.
Tip 3: Word order, case and punctuation are not important in a quick search. For example, Nelson Mandela may be entered: mandela nelson
Tip 4: When using the Advanced Search interface, try to use the most appropriate term box for your search.
Tip 5: Case and punctuation do not matter in an Advanced Search, but subject and person searches containing multiple words will return better results if entered in the order you would expect to see them. For example, a subject search on civil rights will return better results than rights civil.
Tip 6: After you’ve entered your terms in the Advanced Search form, the result counter at the top of the page will verify that there are results available for your search.
Tip 7: After you’ve run your search, use the facet sidebar to refine your results further.
Reading Your Results
Once you've run a search, hovering over any result on the page will pull up a preview window that allows you to see why this result was returned, as well as some basic information about it, like the publisher, author, and publication date. If you want more information about the result, click on the title to view the associated video, audio, or text, and any other available details.
Your results will automatically sort by relevance, giving you the results that most closely match your search at the top of the list. But using the “Sort by” dropdown at the top of the page, you can also change the sorting of your results:
- to show the most recent content first (to find the latest scholarship in your discipline)
- to show the earliest content first (to find older manuscripts, scores, or films)
- to show all results in alphabetical order by title
Grouped and Ungrouped Results
By default, search results display grouped under a work like a book, album, or video. But if you want to more easily see results for your search in individual chapters, tracks, or acts, you can change the grouping of your results using the “Display” dropdown at the top of the page.
Facets and Filtering
Facets allow you to narrow your search from the search results page. They appear in the left sidebar on the results page under the heading “Narrow Your Search”. The facets update dynamically depending on what subject area you have searched, so that a search for a particular musical genre may return a facet showing composers prominent in that genre, and a search for a historical figure may return a facet showing events in which they were involved. Likewise, a search run in the Psychology and Counseling Discipline may turn up facets like Therapist and Presenting Condition.
Selecting a value from one of the facets will filter your result set to only those results containing both your original search term(s) and the facet value. You can use the facets to filter the result set as many times as you want until you have only one result in the set. If you want to remove a previously applied filter, you can do that by selecting a previous point in the breadcrumb trail at the top of the page. You can also use the narrowers at the top of the page to reduce your results to hits on title, subject, author, or fulltext.
You can filter your search results by date published or created using the sliders and bar charts in the date facets in the left sidebar. Clicking on a bar in the chart will narrow your search to only results created or released in that period (usually a decade). If you want to specify a narrower or wider range, you can also select a start and end date using the sliders.
Alexander Street strives to provide quality subject indexing across all of our products. Depending on your search, you may see options to narrow your search by topic, person, geographic area, musical subject, or historical event covered. These subject facets make it easier to find exactly what it is you're looking for, even from a very general search.
Creator and Performer Facets
If you are looking for work by a specific author or artist, your best bet is always to search using our advanced search screen, but the creator and performer facets returned with your search results may help you to identify people important in your area of study, including actors, composers, composers, directors, and historical figures.
Browsing allows users to discover content by revealing the breadth of material covered in our databases. Browses are linked in the header dropdown menus for each discipline and each community in Music; browses are also linked from each discipline and community landing page. Browses list indexing terms used in our collections so you can easily see how much content we offer for specific creators, topics, or formats. Some of our browses are specific to their subject areas, like the Composer browse in Classical Music or the Historical Events browse in History, but many are more general, like the Person and Content Type browses available throughout the platform.
In each browse you will see a list of terms used in the indexing for that discipline with a result count for each term linking to a search results list for it. Each browse displays relevant facets on the left, and clicking any facet option will narrow the browse accordingly, just like on search results pages (see here). In table-style browses, you can also re-sort the browse by result count. In title browses, sorting options like those in search results are also available.
Our video player is designed to provide an optimal viewing experience while also allowing for further searching, browsing and editing within the content itself. You can find a video tutorial about the video player here
The square in the upper-right hand corner of the video will launch the full-screen video player. In this view, you can play/pause, rewind/fast-forward via the timeline and change the volume. You may at any time escape full-screen mode by hitting escape or clicking the box in the upper-right.
In the standard view, we have a full-featured toolbar that sits below the video allowing you to manipulate the video in a number of ways.
You can play/pause, rewind/fast-forward, jump back 30 seconds and change the volume via the buttons in the bottom left. You may also rewind/fast-forward via the timeline. When doing so, your current location in the video will be timestamped with a green flag, while the location you would like to move to in the video will be indicated with a red flag. The current timestamp and full length of the film are indicated in bottom right, just next to the timeline.
Immediately to the right of the video window are a set of drop-down windows providing further information. These windows include details (abstract and bibliographic details), Tracks (from the original video source), Clips (User and ASP generated short clips), Transcripts, Thumbnails, and Apps. Not all windows may be available for all titles.
Clicking on any one of the windows will open it to reveal its contents.
Immediately below the video window is a text box, allowing full searching of the details and transcript associated with this video.
This section reveals an abstract and as much bibliographic information as is available about this title. Select terms within the details are highlighted. Clicking these will take you to the browse page associated with this term.
The transcript is synchronized with the video and will highlight text spoken as the video plays. It will also by default scroll along with the video. To turn off this feature, simply move your mouse into the transcript area and your mouse movements will override the normal scrolling. At any time, you may also click a section within the transcript to skip forward or back within the corresponding video.
Some performing arts videos have multilingual subtitles that can be selected by clicking the CC icon in the toolbar beneath the player window. Where only one language is available, clicking this icon will turn the subtitles on or off. Where multiple languages are available, clicking this icon will bring up a menu of available languages. Outside of the performing arts collections, most non-English videos include embedded English subtitles, which cannot be turned off.
Tracks indicates any video tracks or chapters available on the original source material. Many titles will only have a single track. The title and length of the track are indicated, as are three blue buttons to the left. These, in order, allow you to play the video track, embed the video track in your website (opens a separate window revealing a link that can be copied and pasted), and include the track in an existing playlist.
Clips, on the other hand, are editorially meaningful clips from the video content, created by subject matter experts, both at Alexander Street and in the scholarly community. These are typically short selections of material that are ideal for use in a classroom setting, either in presentations or in assigned work. The three blue buttons serve the same purpose as with tracks.
To create a detailed clip, select the scissors icon in the bottom right of the toolbar. Give your clip a useful title. Indicate the start and stop times for the clip. Add some annotation or notes to give the clip some context. Indicate how widely you want this clip to be shared - just you, your class/group, your institution, or everyone. Then hit save.
To create a bookmark, select the bookmark icon in the bottom right of the toolbar. This will open the clip editing options described above, but with the start time set to the current video position and the title "Bookmark" followed by the video title.
Thumbnails serve as a visual table of contents for the video. Clicking on any image will jump forward or back to that point in the video.
Our audio player is designed to provide an optimal listening experience for CDs, tracks, and clips while also allowing for further searching, browsing and editing within the content itself. You can find a video tutorial about the audio player here.
Playing a track
All tracks can be played using the 'play icon', located next to each track/work/album in the database. The audio player provides the following navigation:
- Next/previous tracks
- 30 second rewind, for quick rewinding and replaying of a section
- Volume control
- Quality selector - users can choose between our standard streaming rate (128 kbps) and our high quality rate (320 kbps)
- Audio clips (see separate section on how to create)
- Audio waveform view, with zoom functionality
- Language selector
- Settings selector (including setting preferences for default audio quality)
- Bookmark editor
By default, the player detects your bandwidth and tries to serve you the best bit rate based on how much bandwidth you have. However, you can still select between the standard and high quality option at any time.
Audio waveform viewer
By default, the audio waveform for the entire album appears - users wishing to zoom in to a specific section of the album can use the zoom button, which will pull up a zoom view of the section you are currently listening to. Users can drag the selection window forwards and backwards to change the size of the selected view and the position of the selected view within the album.
To create an audio clip, users can click on the scissor icon on the RH side of the audio player toolbar. An enlarged section of the waveform of the track you are currently on will appear, with green and red slider bars to slide and select your clip start time and end time. You can also select the clip start and end time by manually entering in the time codes underneath the waveform view.
You can then add in any annotation to the clip and select the sharing settings (private, just my institution, anyone who subscribes) and save.
Your clip will appear in the Clips tab just below the player controls. You can edit and delete clips from this tab.
Adding audio to playlists
All tracks/works/albums have an add-to- playlist icon (+) - clicking on the link will add your items to your own list, which you can then cite/share/add to playlist. See 'Add to playlist' section of help files for more detail.
Users accessing our site from mobile devices should be able to play video and audio from the full version of our site. However, the media player on the full site is not optimized for mobile, and some features, like clip making, are unavailable for mobile users at this time. If viewing the full site on your device proves problematic, we also offer a feature that allows you to stream individual pieces of content on your mobile device via shortlinks to a simplified player.
Send to Mobile
The Send to Mobile feature is available anywhere you see an icon that looks like an old-fashioned mobile phone. Clicking on this icon in a search result or on a player page will give you a shortlink to the content, and a number of options to send this shortlink directly to your mobile device.
- Text (SMS) Message - we can send a text message to your mobile phone. If your mobile phone is outside the USA, please select your country from the dropdown menu. We support 416 mobile service carriers in 160 countries, but if you have any difficulties in receiving a text, get in touch with our support team and let us know who your carrier is.
- Email - we can email the link so that you can pick up the message later and follow the link.
- Manual entry - we've made the shortlinks as easy as possible to enter by hand – we keep them as short as possible, and only ever use lower case alphabetic characters to keep it easy to type.
- QR Code - QR codes are a special kind of barcode which can contain a web address or other information. Increasingly, smartphones and tablets are capable of decoding these with their built in cameras. You may have to download an app for your device to provide this functionality. Searching for 'QR code' in your device's app store should locate suitable apps. Once installed, simply start the app and point the camera at the barcode. It should automatically recognize it, and then take you to the page embedded in the barcode.
What is a shortlink?
The shortlinks are designed to be quick and easy to enter manually into a mobile device. They typically look like this: https://goasp.it/abcd. Mobile shortlinks allow you to listen even when outside of your institution network, allowing you to listen from your own home. Please note that shortlinks can be used for only 48 hours. After 48 hours have elapsed, you will be prompted to redirect to the original Web page. At this point, you will need to authenticate through your institution or library in order to regain access.
System Requirements for Mobile
Our streaming media is available to users of iOS (Apple) and Android operating systems. When listening to audio on a mobile device, you will need a 3G data connection or better for the best experience. For video, you may require a 4G data connection or Wi-Fi access to a broadband Internet connection.
Clips and Bookmarks
Our platform offers two types of clip functionality, which you can use depending on your needs. Both require you to log in as a registered user before saving.
- A clip is a small section of a video, album, or image which can be used to highlight a specific portion of the content. Clips are highly configurable. You can choose what to call your clip, how long to make it, and who to share it with in the clip making tool. More details on creating clips can be found here and here.
- A bookmark is a quick way of marking your place in a video or album (like a bookmark in a book). When you create a bookmark, you are creating a clip with a starting point at your bookmark position and an end point at the end of the video. When you click the bookmark icon in the player, you'll see a message pop up confirming your bookmark has been saved with a default Bookmark name. You can then choose to modify your bookmark like any other clip, either when you create it or at a later date. You'll be able to access it via the Clips link in the main menu or on the video page.
Sharing Playlists and Citations
You must be signed in to share content from ASP's products, and links you post to content may not work for those who are not product subscribers. You can sign in using the link at the top right of any page to sign in.
You can use the checkbox beside any item on a search results page or player page to select it. The item will appear highlighted, and you can now add it to a playlist or citation list.
You can view your selected items by clicking the “Cite” link below the header on any page. This will take you to a list of your selected items. On this page, you have access to many options for saving or sharing your list of selected items in a variety of formats.
- Format - Format your list to a standard expected by your institution or professor. Options include: APA, Chicago B, and MLA 6 and 7. You can also leave your list in the brief display format used by ASP products.
- Export - Export your list to a number of popular citation storage sites and programs, including: [links to sites with info]
- Email - Email your list to yourself, your classmates, or anyone else interested in the fruits of your research. You can also add descriptive text.
- Save - Save your list as a pdf for later use.
- Print - Print your list in a printer-friendly format.
- Share - Share a link to your list on Facebook, Twitter, or many other sites with a brief description.
- Add to playlist - add your selected items to a new or existing playlist. (See playlists [link] for details of playlist creation and editing.)
Creating an Account
Any user accessing the site from a subscribing institution will be able to create a personal user account that can be used to save clips and playlists for as long as the user has access to ASP's products. To create a new account, click the “Sign in to save clips and playlists” link at the top of any page on the site and select “Create New Account”. Your chosen user ID and the associated email address must be unique within our system. If you already have a user account but have forgotten your password, click the “Forgot Password” link on the sign-in page to reset it. If you wish to change any of the information associated with your account, including user image and short bio, you can do that from the “My Profile” tab once you have signed in.
Other Products/Requesting a Trial
Translation and Multi-Language Use
ASP product sites use a Google Translate widget to translate page text, including transcripts, abstracts, search results, and browse items, into the selected language. This feature is not meant to approximate fluent language use but to assist non-English speakers in finding and understanding our content. Some videos in our collections have subtitles available in multiple languages, but this is not the norm, and subtitles appearing in the video will not be translated by the Google Translate widget. For more information about Google Translate, see their FAQ here.
Pre-processed Content: FAQ
Q. I’ve noticed that my products contain a lot of new content. What has been added?
A. In order to make content available as soon as possible after we license it, some content has been included in its original pre-processed format. The content in this formative stage does not have all the features of content that Alexander Street has when fully processed. So some advanced features will be missing (described below) and will get added as more of this content gets fully processed.
Q. Why do my search results sometimes contain more hits than my selected facet counts?
A. One of the missing features of pre-processed content is that it does not contain all of the facet values Alexander Street adds to fully processed content. When we display facets, we show the count of hits for all records where facets have been added. When we search pre-processed content we include records where the facet term exists in related fields. The end result can therefore be larger than the facet count of your chosen filter.
Q. When I use the browse features, I see fewer hits than when I search, Why?
A. Browses are in most cases an ordered list of the records that have a given facet value. Since pre-processed records do not contain all available facets, they are not included in browse lists.
Q. When I sort result sets by title or date, some of the records are out of sequence, Why?
A. We sort the processed content in front of the pre-processed content. The processed content in most cases represents the best of what is available in our collections. So we’ve designed the system to show these first.
Q. When I select terms for an advanced search or facet filter, where do these come from?
A. These lists of available terms come from facets in our processed records. Pre-processed records do not contribute to some of these lists.
This product is tested in the current and previous version of the following browsers and plugins:
Windows: Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome
Mac OS X: Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome
Note: Adobe does not offer the plugin required to view .PDF files in a web browser for Firefox. Adobe Reader plugin is only available for Safari. However, users will be able to download .PDF files to their computer using Firefox. For best performance, Adobe Reader 10 is recommended in order to view PDFs. Audio and video resources are accessible with Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.
Please note, we are currently unable to support DRM playback on mobile devices, or in the Apple Safari browser. At this time, this only effects our Sony Pictures Classics titles, for which users will need to use a desktop browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.
Playback of immersive, 360 Virtual Reality videos, using VR headsets such as Google Daydream or Google Cardboard, is currently only supported on Android devices.
Alexander Street offers video and audio streaming at three different bitrates.
- Low: is streamed at 400 kilobits per second
- Standard: video is streamed at 800 kilobits per second
- High: video is streamed at 2500 kilobits per second
- Low: is streamed at 64 kilobits per second
- Standard: is streamed at 128 kilobits per second
- High: video is streamed at 320 kilobits per second
Alexander Street now uses JWPlayer which automatically determines the most appropriate streaming rate for a user based on their bandwidth. Users can no longer select the bitrate of their streaming as this is done automatically by the player.
Calculation is based upon the number of frames dropped per second - the player always tries to play the highest quality file at all times. Should the stream drop more than 25% of the frames needed to be streamed per second, the player determines that the available bandwidth for that user is not sufficient to support the current bit rate and automatically drops the user down to the next level of quality.
If no frames are dropped for a certain time, the player will try to move the user up to the next level of quality to check if they are able to sustain the higher rate. If they can't, the player will drop them down again.
Encoding and quality
Media playback requires your computer to 'stream' the media files. This is where a file is sent from our servers to your computer bit-by-bit. The file is temporary, meaning that you are not downloading a copy to keep. In order to achieve this, we encode 3 versions of each video at separate bit-rates. The 'bit-rate' is the amount of data we send to your computer each second. The higher the bitrate, the higher the quality, and the greater the bandwidth that is required.
Alexander Street supports proxy access to all content on its platforms. For further information on configuring and troubleshooting your proxy server, please contact your proxy vendor. The following are commonly used proxy servers:
- OCLC’s EZproxy
- Innovative Interfaces’ WAM proxy
- SirsiDynix’s Remote Patron Authentication
Auto Proxy Capture
Alexander Street captures proxy URL information as users access its sites through their institutions’ proxy servers. This information is then automatically inserted into all permalinks and all URLs in embedded media scripts to allow for seamless off-campus playback within library and institutional Web pages.
For further information, contact your sales representative or Customer Engagement via e-mail at email@example.com.
Alexander Street has offices around the globe, serving customers worldwide.
To request trial access or a price quote for your library or educational institution to any Alexander Street collection, please either email firstname.lastname@example.org or Request Trials. If you have feedback on this site or need assistance, please contact Customer Engagement via e-mail at email@example.com.
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