Jon Udell's link-addressable streams research

by Bob DuCharme

Related link:

Before you can link to something, you need to be able to address it. Linking to web pages is great, and linking to specific points within web pages is even better because you can reference content at a more granular level.

We've all followed links to streaming video on the web, and Jon Udell's trying to figure out how to create URLs that will link to specific points within a video stream. So, for example, if some conference's website makes the entire keynote speech available and you want to reference something the speaker said when describing the third bullet of his tenth slide, you can show him describing that bullet point and nothing else.

Jon's only had limited success so far, but we should all cheer him on. Greater power in linking is built on greater power in addressing; Tim Berners-Lee couldn't have had linking on the web if he hadn't developed URLs first. The power of selecting and juxtaposing specific time ranges of movies is at least 65 years older than that, going back to the work of Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein. Perhaps Jon's work will inspire the people who make the video display clients to make a simple, RESTful way to make this easier.

Has anyone else played with creating URLs to address specific points within video (or audio) streams?


2003-12-02 20:34:22
The CSIRO is working on it
Do a search for csiro and Silvia Pfeiffer - I know because I applied for a position on the team several months ago.


2003-12-11 22:51:49
Autometa RPXP/web
I've posted a web service preview of an open-source Perl script that does exactly this. A readable HTTP GET will clip any seekable audio or video stream by start and stop times, for the three major media players: RealPlayer, Quicktime and Windows Media.

Details at

Rich Persaud

2003-12-17 14:12:52
Autometa RPXP/web
Really, really cool. It worked the very first time I tried it, with this link:
(The Afropop Worldwide website has an excellent documentary about the Tropicalista movement in Brazil in the late sixties, and my clip points to the amazing pop song "Divine Marvelous" sung by Gail Costa and written by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.)

Great work!