Nov 052015
 

So many connections can be made between this October’s most popular items, searches and subjects. This makes for a particularly fascinating journey, and one in which you can totally immerse yourself. It’s like playing a computer game, only better as you can choose which path to take, gaining insights and knowledge along the way. Take a look at last month’s most popular page and start you own amazing journey! You never know where MediaHub will take you!

A screenshot of Jisc MediaHub's "Most Popular" webpage, captured on Tuesday 27th October 2015

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular” page, captured on Tuesday 27th October 2015

Hip Hop!

Arts, culture and entertainment is always a popular subject, with specific searches and items within this theme also appearing in the most popular lists. One example is hip hop, which was the second most popular search in October. There are some fantastic images showing hip hop style, music, dance and culture from the PYMCA Collection. Below is an image showing 90’s hip hop fashion in full effect; Timberland boots baggy jeans puffa waistcoat London c. 1990. This photograph is one of many taken by Normski, who himself is a British rapper, DJ, photographer and businessman, known for his work as a BBC television presenter.

An image of a group of young men wearing 90's hip hop fashion, including Timberland boots, baggy jeans, and puffa waistcoats. Photograph taken in London 1992.

90’s Hip Hop Fashion. PYMCA, 1992.

Normski has taken photographs of other hip hop artists, including De La Soul, Public Enemy and Run DMC and these can also be found in MediaHub. The second most popular item is an image of UK grime artists Terra Danja Crew , created by another photographer Fraser Waller. It is well worth remembering that you can easily find items from the same contributors, creators and collections by just clicking on the links in the description part of the record, found on the left-hand side of the screen. If you would like an idea of what hip hop dancing looks like watch this short report on France’s Hip Hop Revival.

There are a few reasons why hip hop may have proved so popular last month. Let us know what you think the most likely reason for its popularity is!

  • A new film called NG83: When We Were B-boys documenting Nottingham as the unlikely centre of break dancing in 1980’s Britain, as reported by the BBC and the Nottingham Post.
  • The recent film Straight Outta Compton, a biographical drama directed by F. Gary Gray about the rise and fall of the Compton, California hip hop group N.W.A.
  • Numerous hip hop/rap artists playing upcoming gigs, including Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash.

One item many themes

Some items can come under numerous themes. This is especially the case with the Gaumont British News Reports (“Presenting the world to the world”), which are always fascinating. Of course, we can never tell which particular short item within the news report is of most interest. Last month the seventh most popular item is the 1937 news report entitled King and Queen Drive to St Paul’s for Empire Day. Of particular poignancy in this news report is the item ‘Child Refugees Come to Britain’ about Basque children arriving in England from Spain to escape the Spanish Civil War.

Basque_children

King and Queen Drive to St Paul’s for Empire Day. Gaumont British News, 1937.

What the reporter says during this item applies just as much now as it did back then, with there being “a constant stream of refugees” which is “the price of war paid by those who should know nothing of its horrors” and is “a grim reflection of our civilisation.” Maybe now it can be said that fortunately the focus of attention is more concentrated upon refugees rather than upon “the fighting men, field warfare and bombing raids.”

Another item in this news report is on the visit by Prince and Princess Chichibu to a Japanese garden party and sports meeting at Hurlingham Gardens, London. This links in perfectly to October’s third most popular search ‘Japan’.

Japan Past, Present and Future

Japan is a country of contrast – of old and new, tradition and technology. It is a truly fascinating place, which of course is reflected in the wide variety of items you find when searching for ‘Japan’ in MediaHub.

Today’s Japan

Recent Japanese culture is represented by, amongst other items, images from the PYMCA Collection, such as a photograph of two girls in sunglasses and of a view of a Tokyo street with neon shop and advertising signs.

However, today’s Japan has also kept it’s traditions. There are some wonderful Getty images of Shinto Shrines, including one of the Yasaka Shinto Shrine, Kyoto and the one below showing a procession of Shinto Priests. The images are so full of detail. What makes them even better is the MediaHub zoom functionality. Try it out for yourself and go ‘Wow’!!

An image showing a procession of Shinto Priests wearing the white costume of Kanda-Matsuri, walking towards a Shinto temple.

Procession of Shinto Priests wearing white costume of Kanda-Matsuri. Getty Images, 2007.

There are also great images from Wellcome Images of the Kanpo Pharmacy, Toyama, Japan, which sells Chinese traditional medicine (or Kanpo), exquisitely wrapped in the Japanese tradition.

Japan and history
Interested in Japanese history? Then take a look at a range of Japanese artefacts found in MediaHub, such as this Japanese coin CM.1681-1918 from the Fitzwilliam Museum Collection, Cambridge and this early 18th Century Japanese fan, from the Fitzwilliam Museum Open Data Services Collection.

The highly intricate level of detail is so characteristic of Japanese workmanship, and there are no better example of this than the many images of okimono (small decorative objects) and netsuke (tiny decorative vessels and sliding bead fastenings) found in MediaHub. They are such a joy to behold! Below is an example of a stained ivory okimono of a barefoot artisan holding a bottle vase from the Meiji period (1868 to 1912).

An image of a stained ivory okimono of a barefoot artisan holding a bottle vase from the Meiji period.

Okimono. Black Country History (via Culture Grid).

Japan and technology

Since the second half of the 20th Century, Japan has been known for technology and innovation. (Notice too that ‘science and technology’ is October’s most popular subject.) There are numerous reasons for this, including Japan’s status as an island nation with limited natural resources (according to the ever-fascinating CIA World Factbook, some 73% of Japan is not suitable for habitation, agriculture or industry), and the country’s large population (it is the 10th largest country in the world by population) with several very densely populated cities.

In both the areas of transport and housing (see below) Japan has led the way in developing energy-efficient, green technology. This may come, in part from Japan’sa culture of respect towards tradition and nature with many of the values and traditional festivals of Japan grounded in the Shinto and Buddist faiths. Shinto regards many natural phenomena, such as rocks, trees, rivers, as sacred, whilst Buddhism also focusing on respect and the sacredness of nature and animals. That cultural background gives the importance of preserving the natural world a different type of priority.

Image of a mini household plumbing system used as a demonstrator of heat exchange technologies.

Innovative household technology being demonstrated in Japan (Japan pioneers new generation of ‘green’ houses. Getty (Moving Images), 2009.)

 

Japan is also more directly impacted by extreme weather and natural phenomena than many nations – the country is in a volcanic region and frequently experiences seismic activities, whether significant tremors or substantial earth quakes. The impact of such natural disasters, the legacy and long term effects of Hiroshima, and incidents like the recent Fukushima disaster may all also have intensified Japan’s ecological focus. In MediaHub there is a very interesting presentation discussing the accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, from a safety-critical systems viewpoint.

With Japanese manufacturers particularly aware of the importance of more green technologies, there is a real focus on innovative designs and products. This interesting report from 2008, entitled Japan races to build a zero-emission car. Have a watch and find out if the predictions about ‘green’ cars have been proven correct.

A news report from 2008 on how in the race to build to develop an affordable, high-performing and emission-free car, Japan is way ahead of the pack.

Japan races to build a zero emission car. Getty (Moving Images), 2008.

Of course, we can’t talk about transport in Japan without mentioning its world-renowned bullet trains! Watch this bullet train crossing a river. There is also a great image of Rumi Yamashita, Japan’s first female bullet train driver.

With regards to housing, watch this short report Japan pioneers new generation of ‘green’ houses. Here the aim is “to use as little energy as possible and to save natural resources, such as water.”
Japan has a lack of natural resources at its disposal, so many of its companies are devising a new range of cutting-edge, eco-friendly products.

Mobile technology

Mobile technology is the eighth most popular search. Japan is again the centre of innovation when it comes to mobile phones, both in the realms of technology and design. Look at this wonderful image showing how mobile phones are becoming fashion accessories.

An image showing a campaign girl of mobile phone giant Sony Eriksson at a display of colorful interchangeable jackets for the company's mobile phones during the Wireless Japan exhibition in Tokyo 20 July 2007.

Mobile phones become fashion accessory. Getty (Still Images), 2007.

It is absolutely fascinating to see how mobile phones have evolved over the years. Below is a photograph of a Vodafone transportable mobile phone with accessories from 1985!

An image of a transportable mobile telephone, complete with accessories and instruction manual, by Vodafone, 1985.

Vodaphone transportable mobile phone with accessories, 1985. Science Museum (via Culture Grid), 1985.

The decreasing size of mobile phones is only one area of change within the portable telecommunications industry. In the beginning it was seen as technology for business people, but it was not long before it’s appeal widened to the mass market, even though there were limitations, as reported here in Mobile phones grow up by getting smaller. With the advent of 3G and now 4G technology, the communications industry is moving fast. In MediaHub you can find excellent presentations on mobile technology  provided by IET.TV, including one on 3G: The Real Issues and Exploitation of smart mobile technology.

Scientific Exploration

As well as science and technology, scientific exploration was a popular subject this month. If you search for this subject you will get back many items from the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, including this amazing example of Lake Yamanaka from the summit of Mt. Fuji.

A landscape photograph of Lake Yamanaka from the Summit of Mt Fuji, showing mountains and lake with two people in foreground.

Lake Yamanaka from the Summit of Mt Fuji. Royal Geographical Society with IBG, 1907.

Another closely-related popular theme is nature (the seventh most popular subject). Here is a fantastic short film taken in 1922 showing Vesuvius in eruption. It shows just how destructive nature can be – and how brave the camera man is!

Cats

Cats was the tenth most popular search last month, which may well be because on the 29th October it was National Cat Day. Carrying on with the Japanese theme, here is a Japanese painting A Sleeping Cat.

An image of a Japanese guache painting entitled A Sleeping Cat.

A Sleeping Cat. Wellcome Images, early 19th Century.

Neurons

Nerve cell communication was the ninth most popular search. There are some wonderful illustrations and animations of nerve networks from Wellcome Images and Getty Images, which really bring to life medical and biomedical science. Below is an animation of a nerve impulse travelling from the cell body to the synapse via the axon.

An animation of a nerve impulse traveling from the cell body to the synapse via the axon.

Nerve impulse. Getty (Moving Images), 2008.

The popularity of this search may be due to the new research findings that bacteria can communicate in a similar way to nerve cells in the human brain.  The original paper was published June this year in the journal Nature. An earlier, related study was carried out at the University of Edinburgh. These research findings represent a major breakthrough as insights into how bacteria “talk” to each other may help experts halt their growing resistance to antibiotics.

And finally!!

Here we come full circle – from Japan back to hip hop, with two teenagers looking mean, or rather looking like they have hip hop attitude!

An image of two Japanese teenagers wearing hats and looking mean.

Teenagers looking mean. PYMCA, 2003.

We hope you have enjoyed this journey and that it has inspired you to discover other items in MediaHub. The possibilities really are endless. If there are any comments you would like to make you can leaving your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10. Remember as well that you can add your comments or responses on the items themselves! See the May 2015 Most Popular blog post for details on how to do this.

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  One Response to “Exploring Jisc MediaHub – October 2015 Most Popular”

  1. Maybe Japan was so popular last month because the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art at the V&A has just reopened after a full redisplay and refurbishment. (http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/galleries/level-1/room-45-japan/)

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