Nov 012013

Jisc MediaHub contains a wealth of interesting and informative still and moving images but we were curious to see which items you are finding most useful each month, we start by looking at what has been getting you excited this October.

Image of the Jisc MediaHub Most Popular page from 31st October 2013

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular” page, captured on Thursday 31st October 2013.

Using our Most Popular Explore option we have taken a closer look at the most popular search terms, items and subjects people have been browsing and searching in Jisc MediaHub over the last 31 days. Sometimes there is a clear theme and connection to what’s happening in the world. Sometimes we simply have no idea why a search term or item is so popular: we’ve had fun trying to figure out the appeal of some items but we’d love to hear your theories too!

Unrest, conflicts and war

War is a really clear and recurrent theme, with the most popular search – by a long way – being ‘Holocaust’.  Whilst war, its impact and the politics surrounding conflict are key topics for Jisc MediaHub users – particularly because of the high quality news film available around these topics – we think the searches this month may also reflect a brief surge in press discussion of Jewish survivors of the Second World War following the announcement of the death of Israel Gutman, a survivor and prominent Holocaust historian, on 1st October 2013.

The single most accessed item in Jisc MediaHub – probably because of all those searches for “Holocaust” resources – is a short clip from the press conference for “The Reader” at the 59th Berlin Film Festival (in 2009) in which director Stephen Daldry talks about the film as not being a holocaust movie but a story about its effects.

The second most popular item this month continues to reflect an interest in exploring and reflecting on a conflict. The animation by Lancelot Speed called “Britain’s Effort” is part of the Imperial War Museum Films Collection. A piece of highly creative and engaging propaganda the film uses a mixture of live action, photography and Speed’s witty caricatures to recall the war efforts of Britain and the Empire countries from 1914 and compares it to an increasingly efficient and focused effort in 1917.

This silent film is impressive and holds up surprisingly well, especially when you think that it was made in 1918. Fans of Monty Python will enjoy the opening minute or so in particular as the mocking of the enemy uses the same anarchic subverting of traditional prints and drawings that Terry Gilliam would later employ. Former Spice Girls fans may also enjoy the brief, if slightly patronising, “Women Power” section which acts as a useful reminder of why the campaign for Women’s Suffrage began to see success with the introduction of votes for women (over 30 meeting minimum property requirements) in 1918. Despite their key roles in the war effort voting would not be extended to all women over 21 for another ten years.

Comparing the number of British soldiers serving in the First World War with the number of soldiers from the Empire countries. Taken from 'Britain's Effort' - a cartoon by Lancelot Speed made in 1918. (From the Imperial War Museum Film and Video Archive)

Britain’s Effort. Imperial War Museum, 1918.

Whilst an ongoing interest in understanding the causes and effects of war, as well as the lead up to the anniversary of the First World War in 2014 might explain the interest in some of these items, ‘Hiroshima OR Nagasaki’ was also the ninth most popular search in October. We suspect that might be because of the news coverage in late September of revelations that the US almost detonated an atomic bomb in North Carolina in 1961.

The Royal Family

In a month where the appearance of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, has been under particular scrutiny it is perhaps not surprising that another theme in our Most Popular searches and items is the British Royal Family. “The Duke of Windsor” was the sixth most popular search in October. This may be related to news of the Duke of Windsor’s 1941 Cadillac being sold at auction in New York next month. Meanwhile the sixth most popular item this month is a Gaumont British News film showing the King and Queen driving to St Paul’s for an Empire Day Service in 1937.

Royal Family being taken in a horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral for the Empire Day Service in 1937.

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

Of course whilst the Empire Day preparations and celebrations, the Royals visit to the Chelsea Flower Show or the Coronation Day celebrations might be the appeal of this film, it could also be the rather unexpected 9th item in this 1937 newsreel: “All in Women Wrestlers in Los Angeles” featuring “Clara Mortenson: The Brunette Butcher” and  “Betty Lee – The Blonde Killer“! The reporting is not exactly be progressive but it’s certainly interesting to see how this unusaul Women’s sports piece is presented.

Crime, Law and Justice

Another interesting item in our top ten this month is this ITV News report on Meredith Hamp who, back in 1972, was awarded £77,000 in compensation for an accident which left her with virtually no eye-sight. This particular item is also part of our most popular search subject this month: crime, law and justice. Compensation through the courts is now much more common and it is interesting to compare with earlier cases. It is also interesting to see how Meredith is represented as a young disabled woman: reporting the judge’s comments on her sight and future reference is made to her attractiveness, the uncertainty over whether she might marry and the surprising academic progress she has been able to make. It would be fascinating to compare this type of reporting and representations of disability with, for instance, contemporary reporting of victims of acid attacks in both the developed and developing world – perhaps that is part of the reason for its popularity at the moment. 

Meredith Hamp arriving at court with her father. Image taken from ITV News at Ten on 19th October 1972.

Meredith Hamp Awarded £77,000. ITV News Collection, 1972.

Another law and justice item also makes our top ten items list this month. The ‘Guide to Legal Documents: Programme 1‘, produced by the Sheffield University Learning Media Unit, provides a comprehensive but accessible introduction to all the most important varieties of legal materials, and is designed for first year law students.

Lawyer looking through legal books. Image taken from 'A Guide to Legal Materials: Programme 1' produced by Sheffield University Learning Media Unit, 1994.

A Guide to Legal Materials: Programme 1. Sheffield University Learning Media Unit, 1994.

Despite being produced almost ten years ago in 1994 the overview provided in this video remains useful, as the types of materials and their usage apply even in an era of increased online access to legal materials. This first episode looks at Acts of Parliaments, Law Reports, legal textbooks and journals, including a helpful guide to understanding legal citations.

Mysteriously Popular This Month… 

Sometimes there is no real discernible reason why something is popular. This is the case for lime butterflies, in our top ten again this month and a perrenial favourite with Jisc MediaHub users for reasons we have yet to discover!

This month we are particularly intrigued by the popularity of an the image of the depot of Schweppes Ltd, Mineral Waters, on Gelderd Road taken on the 2nd May 1980. It isn’t a particularly interesting photograph – although well composed – and we can’t see any recent news that might explain its special appeal…

View of Gelderd Road, Schweppes Ltd. Depot image taken on 2nd May 1980.

Gelderd Road, Schweppes Ltd. Leodis (via Culture Grid), 1980.

The photograph is in Jisc MediaHub’s Culture Grid collection as part of Leodis, a photographic archive of Leeds. Perhaps you know why the image is important or particularly enticing at the moment? In any case we would love to hear your theories on why this is our seventh most popular item this month!

High-altitude platforms (HAPs)

Materials from IET – one of our newest collections – have been in high demand judging by the popularity of the search term “iet”. This likely follows the Jisc news item in late September announcing IET’s inclusion in Jisc MediaHub. The interest in engineering and technology is also reflected in the tenth most popular item this month, “HAPs for Future Milcom“, which is part of the collection.

A presentation given by Tim Tozer for Military SatComs 2006 entitled 'HAPS for Future Milcom'.

HAPS for Future Milcom. Collection, 2006.

HAPS (High-Altitude Platforms) may not be a subject you are familiar with, but you will be after watching this 2006 presentation! And just looking into the title is a learning experience. Milcom is not a restaurant at the end of the universe but instead refers to “Military Communications”. Which kind of brings us back to our very first theme, the continuing interest in war and conflict from reflection to modern technologies.

What will be popular next?

As you can see there is a diverse range of subjects and types of materials (from presentations, programmes, still images and news items)  proving popular with Jisc MediaHub users so it will be really interesting to explore how these change each month.

We’ll be keeping an eye on what proves popular during the next 30 days but if you would like a closer look at what people have been searching for and viewing, just take a look at the Most Popular page on Jisc MediaHub. And we’d love to hear your thoughts on why some of these items are popular – just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10. If you can explain the perpetual allure of the lime butterfly there might even be a (modest) prize in it!


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

  1. […] items during December. It is great to see that all the items are completely different from what was most popular back in October.  Here are some of the highlights of last month’s most popular. Jisc MediaHub’s “Most […]

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