UW News

August 20, 2009

UW blog profile: New music, DVDs, wry commentary on Libraries Media Center Blog

UW News

Members of the UW community are increasingly expressing themselves in personal blogs about their interests, professional matters or some combination of the two. University Week will occasionally feature brief profiles of these blogs and their authors.

From discussion of trends and novelties in cinema to reports on recent additions to the music and video collections, the UW Libraries Media Center Blog makes a helpful bookmark for the campus community.

The blog is maintained by John Vallier, head of distributed media services for the Media Center, and his staff members Amy Halligan, Brendan Lax, Cecilia Jezek and Juliana Wisdom. You can read the UW Libraries Media Center blog here.

Recent posts have included:

  • a report on the 2,800 hours of live music recordings from the Crocodile Cafe that are available at listening stations in the center;
  • discussions of standout scenes in New Wave Cinema and of the movie stereotype known as the “manic pixy dream girl” (think Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s);
  • news tidbits such as a report about three radio professionals visiting from Afghanistan for a workshop on archiving;
  • The August report on new items. New among music are discs by Buffalo Springfield, Tupac Shakur, the Go-Go’s, P.J. Harvey, The Stooges, The Talking Heads and the Velvet Underground; DVDs include season four of The Wire, the first series of Dr. Who, the Beatles’ lively second movie, Help, and the Johnny Depp/Al Pacino thriller Donnie Brasco.

University Week asked John Vallier a few questions about the Media Center blog he oversees:

Q: How long have you been writing this blog, and how did it get its start?

A: We — Media Center staff and student employees — have been contributing to our blog since July 2007.

Q: Who is your intended audience?

A: It’s our main means of e-communicating with our community of users. For example, we use it to share our monthly new video and music acquisitions lists, highlight certain titles in our collection, announce new policies, and distribute student/staff-written movie and music reviews.

Q: Have you had any interesting interactions with readers, through comments or e-mails?

A: One of our former students–Nia Lam–posted about the the 2007 UW study “Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help, infants’ language development.” She didn’t endorse the study. She just wrote about it and then showed that we owned a number of the Disney produced Baby DVDs in our collection. This post resulted in some 19 comments, many of which took issue with the validity of the study. See the post and comments here.

Q: Do you have any plans for where you’ll take the blog in the future?

A: We plan to ramp up the posting of student-written reviews of our DVDs and CDs, as well as better integrate blog posts into our other social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, MySpace, Youtube).

Q: What’s new these days at the Media Center? New services or items available for check-out?

A: Beyond our constant flow of new DVD, CD and — yes, even VHS — titles, all of which you can check out here — we recently opened up about 2,000 DVDs for browsing. They are located at the entrances to the Media Center, on the mezzanine level of Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

We also just launched the Crocodile Cafe Collection, a special collection containing about 2,800 hours of unique live music recordings. They were recorded by the Crocodile Cafe’s sound engineer, Jim Anderson, between 2002 and its initial closing in 2007. More information about that collection is available here.

Do you know of a blog written by a member of the UW community that would be of interest to UWeek’s faculty and staff  readers? Drop us a line at uweek@u.washington.edu.

Read previous University Week blog profiles:

  • On Aug. 6, we profiled Dave Bacon and his blog, “The Quantum Pontiff.” Read that story here.
  • On July 23, we profiled Elizabeth Lowry’s blog, “Seattle Backyard Farm.” Read that story here.