On April 30, the EERE Web Team presented on standards, social media, and multimedia at the April 2009 Web Coordinators Workshop. During the workshop, we wrote down several questions that we weren't able to answer during the already packed-to-the-brim presentations.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to go through our parking lot questions and answer them here on the blog. And if you have any other questions, or are confused about the answers here, feel free to chime in and comment on these posts!

But, before I begin, I'd like to remind everyone: As we mentioned during the workshop, there are some issues that we do not yet have processes, standards, or even guidelines for. When we don't have hard-and-fast standards for you, we'll try to at least tell you what we're working on and what you should do in the interim.

With that said, let's move on to the questions for this week: 

  • How will YouTube affect where EERE videos will be hosted?
  • How do we submit new content for the EERE Multimedia site?
  • What do we do with videos in Windows Media format?

How Will YouTube Affect Where EERE Videos Will be Hosted?

As we mentioned during the training, we're not quite at the point where we can use YouTube. First: 

  • DOE needs to sign an agreement with YouTube to agree to federally-friendly terms of service. (This is in the works.)
  • DOE will create a YouTube channel for the U.S. Department of Energy
  • DOE will develop a process that all of the DOE offices—including EERE—will need to follow to post videos to YouTube 

Yes, this means there will be one single DOE channel on YouTube, and EERE will need to submit videos for this channel.

None of this affects how we'll host our videos, however!

All of EERE's videos will still be posted on the EERE Web site. All videos will have to meet our EERE Video Standards.

When we have access to YouTube, you'll have the option of submitting videos that are already complete, up-to-standards, and compliant with Section 508. We will probably link from the video comments on YouTube to the EERE Web site (and the page where the original video and text version are posted.)

So you won't be posting videos to YouTube instead of EERE, you'll be posting videos to YouTube after they've been posted properly to EERE. Our standards for the EERE Web site will remain the same.

How Do We Submit New Content for the EERE Multimedia Site?

When your program develops new videos, animations, or audio files, or puts together a new photo library, tell Drew Bittner (DOE) or Elizabeth Spencer (NREL) and your content will be added to the EERE Multimedia Site.

All of the content on the EERE Multimedia Site must be accessible. This means that it needs, at the very least, to have a text version. Videos should be captioned if possible, or have a text version if it is not.

What Do We Do With Videos in Windows Media Format?

EERE's standard format for videos is Flash Video format (.FLV). If your video is in this format, we can put it into our EERE video skin (which makes up the buttons and overall appearance of the video) and you can embed it on a page.

Windows Media format files aren't special—there are a number of video formats out there, including QuickTime and RealAudio, and we treat all of them the same. The reason Windows Media files were mentioned during the Multimedia presentation on April 30 is because they are very common.

Whenever you have a video that is not in Flash Video format (.flv), you should contact your developer or designer to ask them if it can be converted to .FLV.

If you cannot convert the video, or you are on a deadline and intend to convert the video later, here's the process: 

  • You cannot embed the video on your Web pages
  • You need a text version for accessibility
  • You can use this format to link to the video: 
(Windows Media File X MB) Download Windows Media Player.

Where "X MB" is the size of the file. While this example is for Windows Media files, the principal is the same for all videos. Include a link to the official page where you can download the free, official player for this file type.