By John Repplinger
Science Librarian, firstname.lastname@example.org
Without cheating and looking below, can you guess how many videos are in our video collection? Can you guess what titles were in the top ten most used in the last ten years (2011-2020)?
The Hatfield Library’s video collection has grown and changed over the years. When VHS tapes were new technology, many libraries did not lend them due to possible damage or theft (yes, people would actually steal VHS tapes). However, the Hatfield Library helped set the trend by becoming one of the first libraries in the nation to lend movies.
Naturally, our collection has changed along with technology. DVDs and Blu-rays are more commonly used than their VHS predecessor (how many people do you know that own a VHS player?), which have in turn been superseded by popular streaming services such as Netflix, DisneyPlus, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Sling. Yet while this collection is not used as much as it has been in previous years, it still gets a fair amount of use and there are treasures in the collection that you can’t access through streaming services.
Maintaining a collection is important for keeping it fresh and useful, so when we periodically review the collection we examine usage data. Some interesting trends appear over time, such as the top checkouts of all time, specific genres and topics that are used most often, and surprise titles that had more use than expected.
Before delving into the nitty-gritty, here are some interesting general facts:
– There are nearly 10,000 titles in the audio video collection
– Roughly five thousand videos were used from this collection within the last ten years. That’s a good chunk of the collection!
– The combined total use in the past ten years is greater than 30,000 times!
– Over 900 titles averaged one use per year or more; 250 titles were used twice per year on average.
– Of the top 500 most used videos, only 9 titles that were VHS format. All the rest were DVDs.
– Out of the top 30 movies, half were animated movies.
Top Ten Audio-Visual Titles That Were Checked Out at Willamette in the Last Ten Years
|1. Star Wars: the Complete Saga||248 uses|
|2. Treme (the series)||128 uses|
|3. The Wire: the Complete Series||109 uses|
|4. Howl’s Moving Castle||103 uses|
|5. Ratatouille||99 uses|
|6. Seinfeld (the series)||91 uses|
|7. Spirited Away||79 uses|
|8. Castle in the Sky||78 uses|
| 9. Pirates of the Caribbean:
the Curse of the Black Pearl
|10. Great Speeches||68 uses .|
What is not shown in this small snapshot is that out of the top 30 movies, half were animated. The rest were a mix of drama, action/adventure, documentary, comedy, and musicals. This trend continues well into the ranks of most viewed movies including animation classics such as Toy Story, Ponyo, Up, Bambi, Shrek, and Coraline.
A related fact is that of the top 30 movies, nine were produced by Disney and nine were produced by Studio Ghibli, Japan’s equivalent to Disney. The rest were a mishmash of major producers, such as Warner, Universal, BBC, PBS and small productions.
As one moves down the list, a number of action and adventure movies start cropping up, with more drama, mystery and horror sprinkled in. Foreign language titles also become more prevalent, such as Hable con ella (Talk to her), Sin nombre (Nameless), Dekalog (The Decalogue), and Ying xiong (Hero). There are a number of book classics, such as Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility, Alex Haley’s Roots, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, and William Shakespeare’s MacBeth.
Undoubtedly someone will want to know where the Harry Potter movies falls. All combined, the Harry Potter series netted a total of 109 uses. And for the record, the Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix tied for the most popular of the series (also tied with eighteen other movies with 28 uses each). The Sorcerer’s Stone came next (26 uses), followed by Chamber of Secrets (22 uses), and rounding out the bottom with the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 and Goblet of Fire (1 use, and 2 uses each respectively). Unfortunately, our copy of the Half-Blood Prince was lost and has not been replaced yet, so this does not settle the debate over which is the best movie in the Harry Potter series.
Most of these titles would not be considered academic unless the movies were being analyzed for some type of research, such as the portrayal of insects in movies for a senior thesis. So these are likely viewed for recreation rather than educational use. One could speculate that the biggest users are faculty and staff who have young children (this is an informal observation since I’ve personally seen faculty and staff checkout these materials more often than students, plus I may have tipped the scale with more than my fair share of fun animation movies).
So since Oregon winter weather is typically dismal, cold, and wet, why not curl up with a blanket and movie from our collection. You could even challenge yourself to watch some of the top ranked movies as indicated by the International Movie Database (IMDb).