It is both interesting and instructive to look back as well as forward in connection with the National Media Owl Awards. The progress that has occurred in the mass media during the life of the program has been profound and in many ways, overwhelming. At the time that the program started in 1984, it was not yet obvious that the computer age with its avalanche of information would offer so much in the way of new levels of communication.
In the early and middle
1980s the strategy of using a national competition identifying,
encouraging, and promoting more and better film and video materials
related to important, neglected, and serious aging issues seemed
to make a lot of sense. In a number of ways the Media Owl Awards
took on a monumental task with great enthusiasm and relatively
From the Curator's Corner: Evaluating
In evaluating a single production, several considerations might be employed. Some knowledge of the topic or content will certainly be helpful. Beyond that, factors such as length, organization and development of the topic or story line, clarity of presentation and explanations, lack of jargon, and quality of the production in terms of photography, sound, etc. should be taken into account. Clearly, the type and depth of the viewer interest and knowledge of the subject matter are important in choosing or recommending a given production, so that some estimate of those factors must be taken into account. In general, a long production [over an hour] that is not well organized, clearly presented and well produced in terms of light, sound and content is unlikely to be popular or useful. Know your audience.
In over forty years of consultation and invited lectures in the field of gerontological education, research and services, my own experience, which I have drawn upon both for the National Media Owl Awards and for VideoCuration, has repeatedly found a strong and consistent audience interest in several topics, including:  problems of working with the elderly and particularly elderly parents,  facts about the course and development of the total aging process including health, mental health, biological, psychological and social aspects,  family problems of the elderly,  death, dying and bereavement, and  cognitive [memory, intelligence, thought processes] changes and decline in later life. You will see examples of all of these topics among the titles selected in this publication.
In the absence of available
local "expertise," and when the video core collection
resources on issues of aging recommended in VideoCuration
are exhausted, the best course to be suggested in evaluating
content, and utility of films and videos would be, as previously
suggested, to become as familiar as possible about the content.
Then, as an intelligent, informed and interested critic, view
the whole film or video, check on any confusing or questionable
parts as best you can, and go with your overall impression. The
only other suggestion is that, as a critical reviewer, you might
be wise to consider comparisons to other related, familiar and
available productions and the level of interest in the film or
video topic based on expressed interest and requests from the
public library clientele.