It is great to have the opportunity to look more closely at what has been most popular in Jisc MediaHub over the past month. There are always fascinating themes running through the top 10 searches, items and subjects. In May 2015 the most active theme was ‘unrest, conflicts and war’, with the Rwandan Genocide, Spanish Civil War and Bloody Sunday being specific examples. Other notable themes are health, the environment and places. The month of May also brings with it several timely areas of interest, including May Day and VE Day. There was also a particular interest in the North Highland College’s Johnston Collection, as shown by the popularity of the subject ‘human interest’.
So, we begin our exploration of the May 2015 themes with our second most popular subject, after ‘environmental education’.
Unrest, Conflicts and War
This is a consistently active theme in MediaHub. Last month’s most popular lists all include searches, subjects and items on the Rwandan Genocide, a mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority from April 7 to mid-July 1994, resulting in an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans being killed. This interview from Channel 4 Early Evening News with Alvaro de Soto, Adviser to the UN Secretary General at the time, talks about the Rwandan Civil War, genocide and the displacement of the Tutsi in Rwanda. Another popular item is this News At Ten report from the city of Goma in Zaire (now part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which appeared to have been completely abandoned and was only a few miles away from the refugee camps where a million displaced Rwandans had fled to.
Bloody Sunday has been another popular search, likely because of ongoing interest in judicial process around the original event, as well as continued debate of the associated inquiry.
Bloody Sunday was an incident which took place on 30th January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment (imprisonment without trial). Interest this month may well reflect press attention in the run up to June 15th, which marked the fifth anniversary of the publication of the report of that Inquiry into what happened that day. The Inquiry was chaired by Lord Saville and ran from 1998 to 2010 at an estimated cost of over £2 million, making both it’s findings and the process of undertaking the Inquiry the subject of debate and controversy.
In Jisc MediaHub there are a lot of resources – particularly news coverage – including footage from Bloody Sunday, reports on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and anniversary events. Below is one example of these, a photograph of a march in Londonderry on 3rd February 2002, where thousands gathered to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers thirty years before.
The sixth most popular search is ‘Spanish Civil War‘ (which took place from July 1936 to April 1939), with some very interesting search results, including posters from the Imperial War Museum Spanish Civil War Poster Collection found in the VADS/CultureGrid collection, news reports on the conflict such as Spanish Civil War 7th Edition (Gaumont British News collection), interviews with people who were there, and even commemorative plaques and sculptures! The sculpture below is of ‘La Pasionaria‘, Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989), who was a Spanish communist who came to symbolise Republican resistance against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. It can be found in the City of Glasgow. On its pedestal it says it
“pays tribute to the courage of those men and women who went to Spain to fight fascism / 1936-1939 / 2,100 volunteers went from Britain; 534 were killed, 65 of whom came from Glasgow.“
This image is part of the National Recording Project (NRP) of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, providing images and textual information giving core data on over 9,000 public sculptures and monuments in a geographical area covering 75% of Britain. This collection is part of VADS: the online resource for visual arts.
The environment – and environmental education – was a very popular subject area in May. A very wide range of environmental issues are covered in MediaHub, from pollution and climate change through to wildlife, natural phenomena and landscapes. In particular the images in our collections show how amazing the natural world is, for example the 2007 photograph of Antarctic icebergs shown below. There are also items in MediaHub directly covering the negative effects people are having on the planet, such as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill off the Alaskan Coast in 1989.
‘Cheetah’ was the eighth most popular search last month. Here is a wonderful still image taken from a short film of a mother Cheetah standing guard over five young cubs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. If you take a look at the record for this item you will notice the MediaHub location feature. This enables you to easily see where the Serengeti is located and click through to other items in MediaHub which have the same location.
Italy, London and the more specific King of Prussia Hotel in Heanor are all popular places people have searched for in Jisc MediaHub. Heanor is a town in Derbyshire, where The Market Hotel on the Market Place was, until the outbreak of World War 1, called the King of Prussia when its name was changed for obvious reasons. In October 2009, the hotel had another revamp and is now just called The Market. As always with such specific and individual items it would be great if to find out why this particular image below was so popular last month! Just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.
Many people in May searched for items on Italy, probably as a result of the current migration crisis across the Mediterranean, particularly triggered by instability and conflict in Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan and surrounding areas. Try selecting “Newsfilm” when you search MediaHub for footage around those countries to get a sense of historical context to the current spike in migration. Looking further at MediaHub’s substantial resources on the history and politics of migration and the UK , I was surprised to discover that women were only able to apply for visas to bring in their husbands or fiances in 1983 (under the British Nationality Act), before then only men could bring over their spouse from another country. Of course the law, processes, tests and costs of citizenship have, of course changed a great deal since then and continue to be the subject of animated public debate.
But for some people searching for this month maybe, like me, Italy has a special place in their hearts and they were planning to go on holiday there. Below is a still image taken from the wonderful short film showing a ceremony and football match which took place in Italy in 1931. I recognise the place where the football was being played as the Piazza Vecchio in Florence, as I have just visited there! What a wonderful backdrop and just look at those stripy shorts!!
“May Specific” Items
There are always popular searches, subjects and items very specific to the time of year, and May is a particularly busy month for these. Victory in Europe (VE) Day was the Public Holiday celebrated on the 8th May 1945 to mark the end of World War II. Below is an image of a triptych, showing civilians gathered under the trees outside Buckingham Palace celebrating VE-Day. According to correspondence held by the Imperial War Museum this painting was one of several offered by the artist, Leila Faithfull, to the War Artists Advisory Committee, they purchased it for £45.
There are another couple of May-related popular items. One is a short film called All Around the May Poll, showing people going to vote in the General Election of 1929 and the masses of people in London awaiting the results – the title is a clever play on words! The other item is a short piece of film reporting May Day in Havana, back in 2007, which shows thousands of Cubans taking part in the traditional May Day festivities in Revolution Square.
‘Health’ was another popular subject last month, especially the programme called Outbreak! Case Studies in Clinical Infection: Commensals and Pathogens which provides visual, written and spoken descriptions of the many organisms which may be present in and on the body. The film, which is one of our restricted access medical materials, is part of the University of Sheffield Learning Media Unit collection which covers a wide range of subjects and programmes, and is useful across the academic subject range, including medicine, bio-medical science, chemistry, life sciences, biology, sociology, environmental and earth sciences, archaeology, music, law, geology, civil engineering, English language and the performing arts.
You may have noticed that the eighth most popular subject is ‘human interest’ and wondered what results this would return. If you try searching for this you find, amongst other items, a large and fascinating collection of photographs from the North Highland College Johnston Collection. This collection represents the work of three generations of Caithness photographers who captured images of life in and around the area between 1863 and 1975, and so provides a unique record of this part of the far north of Scotland, its industries and people. Many of the photographs are studio portraits, including the one below of three children taken in around 1905.
It is really interesting to look at old photographs to see what people used to wear and what different locations used to look like, especially considering that at that time not many had cameras. It certainly makes you realise how we take for granted the ability to take photographs, and not just using cameras but also our mobile phones! If you have any interesting photographs, old or new, why not share them via the Jisc MediaHub community?
Did you know that you can also leave your own comments on interesting images, videos, or sound items? To view or add your own comments to an item just view the full record page – for example the photo above – and click on the “Comments” tab. From there you can either read what others have commented, or you can add your own comments to an item. If you are already logged in you just add your own comment and click “Submit”, otherwise you’ll be taken to the login box before seeing the comment form. You can choose to make your comments private, or you can share them with the whole MediaHub community.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on why some of the items above are popular, as well as in what ways you are using what you have found in MediaHub – leave your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10, alternatively you could choose to add your comments or responses on the items themselves!