Multimedia Distribution Service

Approved Administrative Committee 554.3



1. The purpose of this policy is to define the services provided by the Multimedia Distribution Service (MDS) and the terms and conditions that apply to those services.

2. Administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2 describes the steps involved in design projects for multimedia spaces, and the purchase, installation, use, borrowing and repair of multimedia equipment and accessories. Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2 must therefore be read in conjunction with this policy.


3. MDS provides high-technology multimedia equipment to the University community, to make teaching and learning at the University of Ottawa more accessible and exciting. To that end, MDS is responsible for the following:

a) Teaching space and technical support—Registrar-managed rooms (for faculty- and service-managed rooms, see “Description of services” below to determine items that may be included in a service agreement)

  • physical and technological standards for multimedia space design, and multimedia equipment acquisition, installation and maintenance (e.g., lighting, design, physical and technical requirements and standards for equipment, accessibility, recording, security),
  • multimedia room design, as well as the acquisition and installation of portable and permanent equipment,
  • facility and equipment distribution and testing,
  • equipment maintenance, updating and technical support,
  • computer image creation, management and updates in multimedia classrooms,
  • distribution and control of classroom access cards, including cards for multimedia podia; and

  b) Other services

  • acquisition of portable multimedia equipment exceeding $1,000 in value required by faculties and services,
  • loans and sales of multimedia equipment, parts and accessories, including personal response systems (clickers),
  • multimedia equipment repair,
  • multimedia production, duplication, and audio and video recording, as well as format conversion for Web or other,
  • technical support in teaching laboratories (editing and mixing studios, television studio, recording studios, etc.),
  • campus-wide special-event support (except in non-Registrar rooms in Jock Turcot University Centre, as stated in article 6 of this policy), including projection, sound and video recording,
  • digital displays (standards, acquisition, installation, infrastructure and software), and
  • multimedia equipment and wireless peripheral inventory and standards, in cooperation with Computing and Communications Services (CCS) and in accordance with related policies.

4. Multimedia equipment and facilities on campus are the property of the University and, as such, must remain at the disposal of the entire University community. This availability is ensured by MDS, which maintains and distributes a central inventory of equipment.


5. MDS is responsible for the distribution of multimedia equipment and for permanent facilities in Registrar-managed auditoria and classrooms. MDS sees to the proper operation and maintenance of these facilities and the equipment.

6. Article 5 does not apply to non-Registrar rooms in Jock Turcot University Centre, which are the responsibility of the Community Life Service.


Permanent facilities

7. MDS is responsible for setting physical and technological standards for multimedia equipment throughout the University. It is also responsible for designing multimedia rooms and installing permanent equipment in Registrar-managed auditoriums, laboratories and classrooms. MDS is responsible for security, maintenance, equipment repair and technical support in Registrar-managed facilities, which are used by multiple faculties or services. For faculty- or service-managed facilities, MDS may negotiate a service agreement for room and laboratory design, and for equipment acquisition, installation, maintenance and repair. The service agreement may also include technical support, if required. In such a case, the faculty or service is responsible for equipment security and handles any associated costs.

8. Certain permanent facilities, mostly projection booths containing extremely fragile and highly sophisticated equipment, are under the direct responsibility of MDS; only MDS employees are authorized to operate these facilities.

9. Requests for new multimedia room design and equipment installation, as well as requests for major renovations, must be submitted to MDS before November 15 for completion by the start of the academic session in September of the following year. The request procedure is described in administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2.

Multimedia room access and software updates

10. Only MDS is responsible for opening and closing Registrar-managed multimedia rooms, which it does through an automated system. MDS is the sole issuer of access cards, and it controls card privileges and conditions of use. MDS controls the doors, podium and all multimedia equipment in each room.

11. MDS is responsible for installing, creating an image of, and updating software associated with multimedia equipment in Registrar-managed rooms. MDS may add specialized software at the request of a faculty or service; however, the request must be submitted in writing to the Manager of MDS at least five working days in advance.

12. A faculty or service that manages a multimedia space may negotiate a service agreement for the management of room access and the installation or update of software associated with multimedia equipment. The cost depends on the services required.

Portable multimedia equipment loans

13. Faculties, services, students and staff members may borrow (no charge) available equipment or accessories for up to three consecutive days. The loan must be related to teaching, research, work or courses.

14. Loans exceeding three consecutive days (for teaching, research, work or courses) are permitted, subject to MDS approval and equipment availability.

15. Equipment and accessories may be rented (fee applied) for personal use (that is, other than teaching, courses or research), subject to availability, at rates set annually by MDS.

16. Organizations and associations within the University community that are not funded through the University’s operating budget may rent equipment or accessories at the rates in effect.

17. In all cases, the client is responsible for damage or loss and must cover all costs for replacement, parts or labour. A fee also applies to late returns.

18. If a client needs equipment or facilities that are not available on campus, MDS may rent the equipment or facilities from an outside source; the client then pays all related fees.

Long-term loans to faculties and services

19. Faculties and services making regular and continual use of equipment and accessories may, in exceptional cases, borrow them on a long-term basis, free of charge and subject to equipment availability. The faculty or service must obtain prior approval from the Manager of MDS and justify the long-term use of the equipment and accessories. The faculty or service then becomes responsible for equipment security for the duration of the loan and must pay maintenance or replacement costs that do not stem from normal wear and tear.

Technician services

20. Technician services for multimedia equipment are available to faculties and services. Administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2 sets out the terms and conditions, which depend on whether service is required during or outside normal working hours and whether a technician must be present during set-up or for the duration of the event.

21. Self-supporting services, organizations and associations that are in the University community but are not funded through the general operating budget, as well as outside organizations, can retain the services of a technician at rates set by MDS.

22. Technicians are also available to record conferences, courses and other activities at approved rates under administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2.

23. MDS repairs multimedia equipment and installs audio, video and multimedia systems at current rates under administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2.

24. MDS provides audio and video recording and editing services, as well as format-conversion services.

Equipment rental (conferences, symposium, seminars, workshops, etc.)

25. For multimedia equipment requirements that do not fall under article 13 (for example, conferences or symposium), faculties, services, professors and researchers must rent the equipment. They can also retain the services of a technician for the event, if needed, at the rates in effect. Clients should communicate directly with MDS or specify the required services in the request submitted to Conventions and Reservations. Under no circumstances may clients use personal multimedia equipment or equipment from external sources (personal laptop computers are permitted; however, clients are responsible for ensuring compatibility between personal laptops and University equipment).

Client support

26. MDS can help clients choose the most suitable rooms, equipment and facilities for their events. It is therefore recommended that clients contact MDS before making a reservation.

27. MDS can show clients how to operate equipment and facilities on campus. This service includes training professors, researchers and students in the use of multimedia resources.

Sales of supplies and accessories

28. Multimedia equipment supplies and accessories can be purchased from MDS. A price list is available from MDS in person or on the MDS Web site.


29. Reservations without installation must be made with MDS in person, by e-mail, online or by phone 24 hours (or one working day) in advance; reservations requiring installation must be made 48 hours (or at least two working days) in advance.


30. Clients are responsible for the condition of borrowed or rented equipment and facilities and must cover all replacement costs in case of loss or damage, as well as costs for parts in case of breakdown.

31. Clients must not lend or sublet equipment or facilities to a third party without the express consent of MDS.

32. Clients must return equipment and vacate facilities by the deadline agreed upon at the time of reservation; otherwise, late fees apply.


33. Only MDS is allowed to purchase permanent multimedia equipment and accessories, to install them (in Registrar-managed rooms) or to authorize their installation (in faculty- or service-managed rooms) in accordance with University standards. MDS also has the sole right to distribute, rent and sell them. Included are components of permanent facilities in production studios.

34. All requests for multimedia equipment purchases of $1,000 or more must be submitted in writing to MDS for approval. Portable multimedia equipment purchases of less than $1,000 may be made directly faculties and services, but must comply both with MDS standards and with contracts negotiated by the University. The purchasing procedure is described in administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2.

35. Multimedia equipment and facility requirements are under constant review by MDS. Widely used equipment and facilities may be replaced, modernized or purchased directly by MDS.

36. MDS helps negotiate and manage multimedia equipment contracts, provide materials management expertise and ensure compliance with technical and technological standards.

37. MDS works in cooperation with CCS and with any other service responsible for setting frequency standards for wireless peripherals on campus.


38. MDS can help researchers assess their material, physical and financial needs with respect to multimedia equipment. Requests for multimedia and production equipment purchased through University-administered research grants must be forwarded to MDS. Unless otherwise stated in the research contract, the equipment remains the property of the University. If the researcher no longer needs the equipment, it can either stay in the academic unit if still needed there, or be returned to MDS, which disposes of it according to University policy.

39. To the extent possible, multimedia equipment purchased through grants must meet the standards approved by the University. If, for research purposes, the standards differ, the researcher or faculty must contact the Manager of MDS in advance to ensure that the frequencies (and all other aspects of the required equipment) do not interfere with existing equipment on campus.

40. The services (technical support, etc.) that MDS provides to faculties and services are also available to researchers under the terms and conditions in administrative procedure Multimedia Distribution Service 12-2, which lists any applicable fees.


41. No exception may be made to this policy without the written consent of the Vice-President Academic and Provost.

Revised May 13, 2009

(Multimedia Distribution Service)