Take a look at MediaHub’s Most Popular page this August and you will see a very varied and interesting range of items, searches and subjects. It seems to have been a very much people-oriented month. History (people and places), politics, art and health are other themes which run through the most popular lists. Here we delve a little deeper into what people have wanted to find in MediaHub.
People, both past and present, feature heavily this month in the most popular searches and items lists. Here is a selection.
The second most popular search is on Dr Brian Hope-Taylor, an artist, archaeologist, broadcaster and university lecturer, who made a significant contribution to the understanding of early British history. He was a fascinating character, who didn’t go to university until starting a PhD at the age of 35 and helped to promote the use of aerial photography in archaeology, having been in the RAF during WWII. In MediaHub there are several Anglia Television programmes in which Dr Hope-Taylor appears or presents. These include The Devil’s Ditches which is about his 1973 excavation of a section of the Devil’s Dyke, due to be removed to accommodate a new motorway, near Newmarket in Cambridgeshire; The Fight for York Minster which is an appeal film for the York Minster restoration fund, and several episodes from the ‘Who Were The British?’ series.
Johann Sebastian Bach
A particularly great resource is the Culverhouse Classical Music Collection, which comprises over 50 hours of copyright-free classical music and associated scores, covering much of the core repertoire plus rarer pieces from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Those searching for Johann Sebastian Bach (the third most popular search) can enjoy a selection of eight of his concertos, perfect to listen to for study, pleasure or both! Examples include Bach. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and Bach. Brandenburg Concerto No 3. Bach’s popularity in MediaHub last month may be due to some of his work being performed in recent and upcoming concerts as part of the BBC Proms 2015.
President Vladimir Putin is another very popular search. Search results show how Russia’s role in world politics has changed in the years since the Cold War, and tracks Putin’s engagement on the world stage from his early shift from the KGB to politics in the 90s, into his presidential terms. News footage and images show Putin meeting many World Leaders, indicating some of the ways that Russia has been presented and steered by him, especially with regards to economic and military policy.
Another person in the political sphere who appears in MediaHub’s most popular items list is Sir Harold George Nicolson (1886-1968) who was was an English diplomat, author, diarist and politician. In this short film from British Paramount News, Harold Nicolson MP, Vice-Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, speaks in 1938 about the Sudeten crisis, with Germans living in the border areas of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland) demanding a union with Hitler’s Germany, the Czechs refusing and Hitler threatening war. This is a really interesting report as Nicolson first tells viewers “what Great Britain has said to Germany is this”, and goes on to directly address Germany, saying that “we have a very great interest, and will always have an interest, in preventing violence triumphing over law… If you resort to force we will meet you by force.” It’s hard to imagine a politician today delivering a speech in such an eccentric and direct manner, but somehow it makes the message much more powerful.
Another interesting item on the theme of war is that from Gaumont British News, which includes reports on HM The King Inspects Raid Damage at Coventry, Armoured Might For Desert War and Italian Submarine at Tangiers. In watching news reels from the Gaumont British News collection you can really tell the difference between news reporting then and now, from the kind of language used and how it is delivered to the music that accompanies it. A lot of this may be down to the fact that these reports were produced to show in cinemas, being shown twice-weekly between 1934-59.
Politics in general has been a very popular subject last month. Both the current Labour party leadership contest has triggered a much higher interest in politics than usual over the summer parliamentary recess. There are many news reports and images covering political events both home and abroad ready for you to access through MediaHub. It is certainly the place to come and find out about Italian politics in particular. There are many images of Italian politicians and political rallys as part of the GovEd Communications collection. It comprises of over 15,000 images by photographer Francesco Troina covering architecture, design, engineering, media and travel & tourism. Below is an image taken at a political rally held on No Berlusconi Day (or Nobday) in Rome in December 2009. The Nobday was the first political rally, against the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to call for the premier’s resignation that was organised exclusively by word of mouth and via Facebook, blogs and tweets, with no political party’s involvement.
Place is another theme which has been very popular in the top ten searches and items of August. The second most popular item is A Coastal View on the east side of the Island of Raasay. This photograph was taken in 1917, looking northwards from Rubha na’ Leac, Inverness-shire. It is part of the BGS GeoScenic collection, an archive containing images from the vast collections of geological photographs held by the British Geological Survey, and whose images you will find in MediaHub by searching for the sixth most popular subject ‘geological’.
Below is a fascinating image taken in around 1935 of The Trinkie, which is a cold-water swimming pool on the southern outskirts of Wick in Caithness, Scotland. Notice the people in the pool with barrels! The natural North Sea water pool does still seem to be in existence, and gets scrubbed and painted yearly, thanks to the “Friends of the Trinkie“.
Another place which is featured in the most popular items list is the Quayside of Newcastle. This 16 and a half minute film looks at the city and the decline of it’s shipping industry. The film was produced as part of the Newcastle Quayside Exhibition, organised by Amber Associates and the Side Gallery in 1979. It would be great to find out why this item was popular in August. If you know or have any ideas do let us know by leaving your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10. Indeed, we welcome any comments or theories on our most popular items. Remember also that you can choose to add your comments or responses on the items themselves! See the May 2015 Most Popular blog post for details on how to do this.
It is always wonderful to see art work as part of the most popular items in MediaHub. The Death of Hector is a particularly spectacular example. It is one of two tempura panels painted by Biagio d’Antonio c.1490–1495 and shows a scene from Homer’s Iliad relating to the Seige of Troy.
The MediaHub zoom feature really does improve the viewing experience, especially when there is a lot of detail. You can see the results below, with a close-up of the foreground of the painting. Try this brilliant feature for yourself!
Another very different kind of art found on MediaHub’s Most Popular page is that of pop art. The tenth most popular item is a News at Ten report from an American Pop Art Exhibition which was held at the Tate Gallery in London in 1968. Some very interesting views are expressed on whether Roy Lichenstein‘s work should be considered art, a debate which still goes on today!
This news item coincides with BBC Four Goes Pop, a week-long celebration of Pop Art across BBC Four, Radio and Online from the 21st August to the 30th August 2015. It also coincides with the ARTIST ROOMS: Roy Lichenstein exhibition running until the 10th January at Edinburgh’s Modern One (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), just down the road from EDINA.
One particular health issue of interest last month is the superbug MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). In MediaHub you can find images of the bacteria, as well as reports on the MRSA crisis in hospitals and measures to tackle it.
Another popular item related to health is that of a very short film of Marie Curie at Work, shot back in 1924. Marie Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She was, in fact, the first person and only woman to win two Nobel Prizes (for Physics in 1903 and later for Chemistry in 1911) and is still the only person to win Noble Prizes across multiple sciences. It is also the case that there are 5 Nobel Prizes in the Curie family! It is wonderful to be able to see her in action, which somehow makes you realise even more what a great scientist she was.
Last but not least!
The most popular item is a short moving image of a futuristic dashboard of a Ford Explorer complete with GPS system, as shown at the Detroit Auto Show back in 2008. It’s popularity is likely due to it being used in our MediaHub iOS webinar presentations. The new MediaHub iOS App is free to download and enables you to use MediaHub on the move through your iPhone or iPod Touch. The webinar shows you some of the features of the app and how you might use it in your own teaching, learning or research.
We hope you have enjoyed taking a closer look at Jisc MediaHub’s most popular for August 2015 and look forward to finding out what other items, searches and subjects become popular in the coming months. Thank you for continuing to use MediaHub and bringing to people’s attention the wonderfully diverse resources it provides access to.