VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Streaming Media at VCU Libraries

About Academic Video Online

Alexander Street Press is ProQuest's educational film streaming platform, offering varying levels of subscription access to content collections. With the recent purchase of ProQuest's Academic Video Online collection (AVON), VCU students, faculty, and staff now have access to the full contents of many Alexander Street Channels, which include documentaries, interviews, feature films, performances, news programs and newsreels, and demonstrations. Distributor and producer partnerships include Film Platform, PBS, BBC, Sony Pictures Classics, BroadwayHD, 60 Minutes/CBS, A&E Networks' HISTORY, Milestone Films, among many others.

Accessing Alexander Street Press

To access the Alexander Street Press platform homepage, go to

Alexander Street contents are also accessible via the VCU Libraries A-Z Database list, and are organized by collection. Academic Video Online (AVON) is the most comprehensive collection, containing all of the content available in the rest of the themed Alexander Street Press video collections.

A large majority of Alexander Street videos are covered by VCU Libraries' current subscriptions and are immediately accessible to VCU students, faculty, and staff. Select contents in certain channels are not covered by our subscriptions, but can be requested by faculty for individual purchase. See the tools and features section below for more details on identifying these films.

Alexander Street tools and features

To search among all Alexander Street Press videos, and not just search within a particular collection, navigate to VCU's proxied Alexander Street Press homepage:



After you click within the search bar, select to search within "All videos" from the dropdown menu.



If you have navigated to the Alexander Street site by using one of the collection links on the A-Z Databases page, your search will default to only searching within that particular collection.



You can change this by selecting to search "All videos" from the dropdown menu.



The Academic Video Online collection, being the most comprehensive subscription collection, will include most videos and also deliver comprehensive search results.


Browsing by channel offers an alternative to browsing by collection, and is particularly useful for browsing content by producer or distributor. To browse by channel, select the three-bar menu icon from the Alexander Street homepage



Select "Channels," then click on "All channels."



At the top of the resulting page, Alexander Street offers popular channels, including producer/distributor-specific channels such as Film Platform, Sony Pictures Classics, and PBS.



Alexander Street also offers channels by subject.



Alternatively, you can search for a particular channel by entering keywords such as a producer name.








To share a link to a film, select "Share" from the horizontal menu bar at the top of the play screen.



Select "Copy Permalink" for a link to the film.



Copying links using the "Share" feature is more stable than copying the address that is in the URL bar.


When browsing videos by the collections that VCU subscribes to, all contents in those collections should be immediately accessible. However, when searching or browsing content in various channels on Alexander Street Press, not all films in each channel may be included in the VCU Libraries subscriptions. These films can be identified by the red "Sample" icon that appears over the film thumbnail.




In the example above, the "Sample" icon over The Lives of Others indicates that this film is not included in our subscription.




The play screen for the film shows that the film cannot be watched in full.

Faculty members can request that VCU Libraries purchase these films for courses by filling out the Film Streaming Request Form.

Setting up an account allows users to create and save customized film clips. To set up an account, select the profile icon on the right-hand side of the horizontal menu bar.



Users will be taken to a sign-in screen. Select "Sign up."


To create custom clips of a film, select "Clips" on the film's play screen.



Select "Create a new clip." Start and end points can be selected by dragging the points on the timeline. Specific time frame can be adjusted in the "Start" and "Finish" boxes. Note that the clip must be made "Visible to everyone" in order to be shareable.



Alternatively, clips can be made, managed, and shared by logging into your account at Sign in by clicking on the profile icon in the upper right-hand corner.



After signing in, select "Clips" from the top menu bar. To see only your saved clips, select "Show only my clips" under the "Clips" heading.




You can share this clip by clicking on the </> icon in the "Embed" column.



To add a clip to a playlist, click on the clip title to open the clip up.



Select the "Clips" tab of the right-hand menu column and click on the + sign, which will add the item to a list. Then in the upper right-hand corner, select "View List."



To add your selected clip to a playlist, select "Playlist" from the left-hand "Options" column.



You will have the option to create a new playlist, or select an existing playlist.



You can access your playlists from the horizontal menu bar of the Alexander Street homepage.




The playlist will default to a private setting. To make it public, select the playlist title to open up the playlist page. Under "Visibility Options," select "Everyone" or "Everyone at my institution."



To obtain a shareable link or embed the playlist onto a web page, select "Embed/Link" on the page for that particular playlist, or select the </> icon from the "Playlists" page.