Bookmarking VMS Tutorial

By Sarit Williams, Published Nov 22, 2013, 12:00am EST

Bookmarking is a feature on some VMSes that allows for easier access to search video. In this note, we will examine the key options (labeling, describing, protecting, referencing and retrieving video) via bookmarks and compare it to case management.

Why Bookmarking

When one finds video of interest, exporting it might be the most common option to secure it but it is not always the best one at the moment. Often, users want a way to quickly flag a specific video and come back to it later or they want to associate additional information immediately. Indeed, one key benefit over exporting is that the video is kept with the VMS's central video management rather than exported to a file on someone's desktop.

Bookmarking Key Options

Creating bookmarks is typically fairly straightforward. A control (either via right click or button on the UI) allows a user to place a bookmark at a specific time (most often the time of the video being shown).

Associating Cameras: A bookmark is generally only associated with a single video feed (i.e., camera) though a few VMSes allow for grouping multiple cameras in a bookmark. The latter approach can be helpful when a situation / incident occurred across multiple cameras (e.g., a suspect moved passed 4 cameras).

Labelling: Almost all bookmarks contain a field that labels what they are (sometimes called a 'title'). This is a short overview of what the bookmark covers ("Pizza Man Slip and Fall", "Teenagers Loitering at Back Entrance").

Details: Some VMSes offer a larger field where a user can enter in details about the bookmark. For instance, in our "Pizza Man Slip and Fall", we could include the pizza man's full name, company, specific complaint, injuries, who responded, etc.).

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Protecting Video: Many VMSes offer an option to protect the video, that is, to ensure it is not recorded over. Since most VMSes cycle over recorded video (i.e., new video erases the oldest video), checking this option will ensure that the video will never be erased.

Selecting Length: VMSes may allow the length of time to be selected. The benefit of this is that an incident of interest may only last a few seconds but some may go on for extended periods. Adjusting the length of time for the bookmark allows this to be clearly recorded.

Searching for Bookmarks

VMSes typically allow a search pane or field to retrieve bookmarks. Often they will allow users to free text search retrieving matching words in the label or detailed sections. The matches are typically displayed in a table, each match in a row. By clicking the match, the video is displayed, in the same manner as any retrieved video.

Compared to Case Management

Bookmarks are a (very) poor man's case management tool. A few VMSes do have case management built in, which is more sophisticated than bookmarking but is nowhere near the level of sophistication that a dedicated case management tool provides. For more, see VMS With Case Management and Long Term Investigation Reporting Tools.

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