A Video Core List (aka The Desert Island List)

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Tue, 4 Jan 2000 11:21:34 -0800 (PST)

Hullooo all! Hope your holidays were wonderful and that the new century
finds you all in good health and spirits.

Back now at my poor beleaguered (albeit YK2 compliant) machine, I figure
it's as good a time as any to embark on the little project we discussed
before the holidays: the compilation of a 200 title core list of
videos (i.e. NO MOVIES, at least for this round) for a hypothetical library collection (to be included in the forthcoming 2nd ed of my book on video collection development, if we can pull it off).

Here are the rules and concepts I think I'd like to adhere to:

The point of this exercise is to cooperatively develop a short list of best and brightest works of non-feature videos...a tough job, I know, and one fraught with all kinds of pitfalls...but let's give it a shot. I'd see this as a benchmark list which might provide guidance to librarians faced with the prospect of either developing a collection from scratch, or filling in gaps in an existing collection.

Think of this as a from-ground-zero core list for a largish urban public library located in town in which there's also a mid-sized liberal arts college. In other words, we're looking for a collection that serves the information and entertainment needs of everyone from kids, to do-it-yourselfers, to self-helpers, to generally knowledge-thirsty, to high school and college students doing research. It's an ethnically and economically diverse community, and the collection should reflect that fact. The Board of Trustees is usually supportive of library decisions (hey! I said this was a hypothetical situation!); censorship issues be damned...

Here's the really unrealistic part of the equation: money is no object....BUT, the list should ideally contain a mix of low-to-moderately priced items and higher-priced indie works. There should probably also be a mix of older "classics" as well as newer releases.

Obviously, selectivity is going to be important here. I'm looking for between 5 and 25 nominations from each of you...and here's the catch: your list should be <underline>annotated</underline> (no more than 25 words per single entry or 50 words per series, please!). The titles submitted should still be in distribution (goodbye Hearts and Minds!), and available domestically (i.e. US/Canada). I need as complete distribution information as possible (prices, if you can dig em' up). If you are aware of awards that a particular title has won, that info should be included.

In order for this list to be valid, I think I'm going to need <underline>at least</underline> 10 or 15 participants (the more the better). Please submit your name, working title, and full mailing address, including email, with your list. (if we succeed in pulling this off, I'll ultimately need publication releases from each contributor...but that's down the pike a bit.)

As Great Editor In the Sky, I will reserve the right to weed duplicate entries, or, in the event that we exceed 200 titles (which I'd love!), to make the final cut.

Before we begin, let me know if I've left something out, or if clarification is needed. I reallllllly hope we can make this work!


Gary Handman


Media Resources Center

Moffitt Library

UC Berkeley 94720-6000


"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)