Technology News (Winter 2006)

by Bennett Hiibner

ANS Lectures Now Available Via Live Webcasts

Starting last July with a limited audience at the first Numismatic Conversation, the ANS began testing live webcasts of its lectures held in New York. After several successful tests, the ANS officially rolled out its webcast capability with the Archer M. Huntington Award, the Margaret Thompson Memorial Lecture, and the Stack Family Coinage of the America’s Conference (COAC). COAC webcast viewers were able to both see and hear more than six hours of talks, PowerPoint slides, and notes during the day-long event. Now ANS members who are unable to make it into the city can tune in to live ANS events from the comfort of their computer.

As can be seen in these screenshots taken at the recent COAC event, webcast viewers can simultaneously see live video of the presenter, a close-up view of the coin under discussion, and the same PowerPoint slideshow that the on-site audience is viewing, all while using text messaging to ask the presenter questions or chat with others logged on to the webcast (Figs. 1-3). To listen to the audio portion of the event, Web participants are given two options: telephone audio conference and VoIP. Although the telephone audio conference option requires using a separate telephone line for the audio portion of the conference, it guarantees that the audio will be real-time and allows users to participate with comments and questions during the presentations. The VoIP, which routes the audio through your computer speakers or headphones, may be slightly delayed, but it is more convenient for those who do not want to tie up a telephone line while watching the event.

We expect to announce the availability of these lectures on DVD soon, and in the future we hope to roll out a lecture-on-demand service via the Web. We plan on webcasting most of the future Numismatic Conversations and lectures that are held at the ANS. You can check the schedule of upcoming Web programs at http://numismatics.webex.com/.

Using WebEx as our webcast platform will enable us to reach a broad audience of users with a minimum of in-house technology infrastructure. WebEx also extends knowledgeable live technical support twenty-four hours a day to our webcast viewers and supports both Windows and Mac clients. In addition, WebEx is corporation friendly and is usually available to viewers behind corporate firewalls. The hardware requirements are fairly modest, so you don’t need a state-of-the-art PC in order to view the ANS webcasts, although a high-speed Internet connection is recommended.

Hardware Requirements for Windows Users

  • Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP
  • Intel x86 (Pentium 400MHZ+) or compatible processor
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or 6, Mozilla 1.6 or later, or Netscape 4.7, 7.x
  • JavaScript and cookies enabled

Hardware Requirements for Mac OS Users

  • Mac OS 10.2.x or later
  • Internet Explorer 5.2 or Safari 1.1 or later
  • JavaScript and cookies enabled

Users can test their systems prior to future ANS webcasts by logging in to the WebEx test meeting at http://developers.webex.com/api/jointest/index.php.


Fig. 1: Oliver Hoover’s presentation at COAC


Fig. 2: Roger Siboni’s presentation at COAC


Fig. 3: Vicken Yegparian’s presentation at COAC