Well, What do You Know?

I undertook to write three encyclopedia articles.  The first was very straightforward, the second a little less so, and the third is not beyond me but will require some thought.  It also has to be as long as the other two put together.  I have until mid-December.

Somewhat to my surprise, I have finished the second one this afternoon – on target.  There was a point earlier in November where I sincerely wondered whether I knew enough, or had enough to say, or could put what I did know together coherently enough, so I am slightly stunned to find myself looking at an article just three words over the target word-count.  (And that’s including my name.)  As a reward, I’m taking my son to the cinema, and then I’ll upload the article later tonight.  What a huge sense of relief!

And the moral of the tale?  Well, my general philosophy is quite simple.  Never turn down an opportunity, and never say you can’t do something.  Missed opportunities lead to regret; saying something is beyond you is self-limiting; and if you turn a chance down, you may not be asked again.

The down-side is having spent a considerable amount of time recently feeling as though I was drowning in commitments.  However, as you see – I can actually swim.  And tomorrow I start gathering materials for the third encyclopedia article!

But Will the Fish Bite?!

Electronic Resources?  Online databases?  Online info?

We’re trying to encourage our students to make more use of our electronic resources.  By that I mean, of course, the databases, electronic journals and books and music streaming services that we subscribe to on their behalf.  We’re doing MailChimp emails, blogging, tweeting, leafleting … really, we are putting a lot of effort into this!  I have this suspicion that the very term “electronic resources” is a turn-off.  So what do you think?  Online resources?  Online databases?  Or simply, “Online info”?  What would the average 18 year old call it?

Today, with two different year-groups scheduled to hand in assignments next week, we expected the library to be humming. It wasn’t significantly busier though – maybe they were all skulking at home, panicking quietly and in privacy?  Here’s Whittaker Live, the performing arts blog that I’ve authored for something like 14 years now.  Spot the posting intended to entice more use of our online offering:- whittakerlive.blogspot.co.uk/ So, will the fish bite over the weekend, I wonder?

#AcWriMo and Me

As I’ve already mentioned, this is Academic Writing Month.  People have been adding their word-counts to a wiki, and tweeting using the #AcWriMo hashtag.  I fully intended to do the same, but I haven’t been very good at keeping up!

Whenever I look, it’s mostly women tweeting.  Why?  Is it that men don’t suffer as much writing angst?  Or is it that we women STILL, in the 21st century, feel we have to prioritise the mundane tasks that make domestic life more comfortable?  I nag my lot of males (assorted ages) to bring laundry downstairs, iron it, take clean laundry upstairs … put things away.  I nag until I sound a proper little shrew, but do they care?  No, they don’t – but I do.  Does anyone else notice that towels are damp, bathmats are squelchy, loo-mats are … (too much information).  That mud has been trodden in the hall carpet, or piles of stuff have been dumped (name your space) and left there for days on end?

So I end up doing more than my fair share, despite my profound sense that it’s deeply unfair.  I’m the breadwinner.  Someone once said, what every working woman needs is a wife.  I don’t really want a wife, but I know what they meant!  And that, my friends, is why I haven’t been good at keeping upwith #AcWriMo.  Today I fully intended to get on with my encyclopedia articles, but laundry had to be done, windows cleaned, soup made, a main meal cooked … a couple of minor sewing repairs done …

Ask me again later.  A couple of hours later.  And I’ll do my level best to have read a bit of the vital text that I bought at Waterstones the other day!

What comes after the PhD?

There’s plenty of sound advice here.  I didn’t write this – it first appeared on PhD Life blog, but I thought it was well worth sharing.

However, it appears I am one of the lucky few; I’ve been in an academic-related role for 26 years, and am currently combining it with a part-time postdoctoral position. As to October 2015? Watch this space!

When you hand in your PhD, what comes next? Here Georgina Collins provides advice for the researchers who have just completed a PhD and would like to continue in academia but are unsure which path to take.

Prerow, Urlauber mit Ferngläsern am Strand

Post-PhD blues

Most people leave the viva and are unsure what they are going to do next. Very few individuals have full-time permanent jobs lined up, especially in the current financial climate. Many people expect to feel elated when they find out they have passed their viva (most likely with some form of corrections), but the reality is that it is usually an anticlimax. Having to make corrections, reproof and reprint can bring on a sense of failure. And the thought of having to rewrite or remodel the thesis for publication only heightens that feeling, especially when you have put your heart and soul into the project for at least three years. You…

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Professional Engagement – Part of my Identity!

Piano badge
Conference badge (Library Camp Glasgow)

The past month has been something of a whirlwind!  I’ve been to four conferences, been to a seminar, convened a plenary, had a couple of pieces published in the IAML(UK and Ireland) Newsletter, and done the blogposts you see here.  What I haven’t done is update my CPD record on my professional association’s virtual learning network.  Not that I haven’t done any CPD (as you see, I’ve done plenty!), but because I’ve had no time to do the updating!

  • 20-21 October: Understanding Scotland Musically, AHRC-funded conference at the University of Newcastle.  I gave a paper: ‘Wynds, Vennels and Dual Carriageways: the Changing Nature of Scottish Music’.  Subsequently invited to submit abstract for proposed book.
  • 25 October (Saturday): Musical Life outside London, 1500-1800, University of Newcastle.
  • 29 October: Seminar at the University of St Andrews (as invited guest, not speaker).
  • 6 November: Convened SALCTG Plenary at Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • Glasgow Mitchell Library8 November (Saturday): Library Camp Glasgow, Mitchell Library.  Gave presentation, ‘Do you Practise what you Preach?’, and one-minute rant, ‘Diigo and Me’.
  • 11 November,  IAML (UK and Ireland) Newsletter: no.69, 2014, pp.14-16,  ‘Raising the Bar: a Targeted User Education Policy’; also my report of the IAML Conference in Antwerp this July: ‘Ian Ledsham Bursary Recipient Report, pp. 4-7.
  • 13-15 November: ELIA Biennial Conference (European League of Institutes of the Arts, at the Royal Concert Hall.NeuNow2014 henhouse exhibit

Clearly, I need to sit down and read through the notes and tweeted observations I made at this week’s big conference, not to mention updating my CV with the presentations I gave, and so on.  Right now my brain feels a bit like your stomach feels after Christmas dinner.  Lots of good stuff to digest, but in danger of indigestion!

Early Career Music Librarians: ET Bryant Memorial Prize

I have posted details of this on Whittaker Live, and it’s on the IAML(UK and Ireland) website. However, since the idea is to promote this prize as widely as possible – there’s £250 at stake for an early-career music librarian who has written a dissertation or significant article – I thought I’d repost it here too.

Calling for submissions

E T Bryant Memorial Prize

£250 awarded for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship

Details of this valuable award have  just gone live on the IAML(UK and Ireland) website.  If you’re an early-career music librarian and have recently written a dissertation or significant paper on a music-librarianship related topic, you’re strongly urged to enter your work for the E T Bryant Memorial Prize.  Similarly, if you know of any other recent librarianship students who completed such  work over the past five years, let them know about it!

Details are here:-  http://www.iaml.info/iaml-uk-irl/awards/bryant.html


  • The prize is awarded to a library and information science student or group of students, or to a librarian in their first five years in music librarianship, for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship.
  • The prize is awarded for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship.
  • The recipient(s) of the prize must be resident in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland during the year of entry
  • Publication of the material during / within the previous five years does not preclude entry
  • All entries must be submitted by the published closing date.

The prize will be presented each year to the winner at the Annual General Meeting of the IAML(UK & Irl) Branch, by representatives of IAML(UK & Irl) and The Music Libraries Trust.

A copy of the winning work will be retained in the IAML(UK & Irl) Library.

Do You Practise What You Preach?

Piano badgeRecent training sessions that I’ve received and given, have prompted me to ask myself whether I actually practise what I preach.  (Most of the time, I do …)  I pitched a session at the second Glasgow Library Camp today, which provoked quite a lot of discussion.

  • I began by describing the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Teaching Artist Course (in the Short Course form that it adopted last session), which took place 12 Feb – 28 May 2014.  Do I count as an Artist? Yes, I think I do. I may not teach performance at work, but I am a church organist and choir director.
  • Why I did it?  To gain theory about pedagogy, teaching and learning, current best practice …
  • There was a wide variety of recommended readings, and a mixture of virtual and physical meetings.
  • The idea of reflective practice featured very prominently.  Therefore, from the beginning, we had to keep a blog.  This is it; I’ve continued to post on it since the course ended.
  • Outcomes: we had to produce written assignments; an E-Portfolio (one of the tabs above); and a Bibliography.  Mine is in my E-Portfolio, but there’s also a web version as a separate tab.
  • I recently gave my first distance learning user education session to PGCert students.  I had half an hour on a Thursday evening, and had to get used to using a headset and webcam with Adobe Connect.
  • I talked about our library service, holdings, e-resources, and good academic practice.  Bearing in mind I hadn’t got long in which to cover the topic, I briefly covered referencing, avoiding plagiarism, keeping a bibliography, and annotating it for one’s own benefit. Bibliographic software. Mendeley, Zotero, Endnote, Word.
  • Remembering the Teaching Artist course, I sought feedback afterwards, so I could reflect upon how it went, what went well and not-so-well, and what I’d do another time. Talking about reflective practice over coffee, we asked ourselves the question I asked LibCamp delegates today: Do we reflect adequately on what we do? Do you?
  • For myself, I certainly do keep a bibliography, use bibliographical software, and Diigo for useful websites.  To be fairDo you practise what you preach image for libcamp pitch 001 (800x582), I do a lot of writing, so it’s particularly important for me.  And this blog is still a place where I can reflect on what I do, whether as a librarian, a researcher or a musician.

This blogpost was a ‘pitch’ at Library Camp Glasgow 2014, which took place on Saturday 8th November.

Diigo and Me Image for LibCamp Pitch 001 (800x582)I also did a quick-fire rant (Minute of Madness) about the extreme usefulness of Diigo.  Since we were a power-point free zone, I made a low-tech poster for each presentation. So this was the Diigo one!

Professional, if not Academic Writing

I wrote the previous blogpost with the intention of submitting it for a blogpost competition.  Sadly, I got that wrong – I should have read the rules more closely and not actually BLOGGED the blogpost.  Ah, well.  Undeterred, I authored another.  I won’t share that with the world, though – I know the rules now!

And then I wrote a Convenor’s report for SALCTG, a professional librarianship group.  My penultimate report, as it happens – I’m resigning as Convenor to give someone else a chance, next May.

Somehow, I have to write something else tonight, if I am to stand up and talk at the second Glasgow Library Camp (“unconference”) at the Mitchell Library tomorrow.  And then I have to write an encyclopedia entry – wonder if the family will mind if I don’t do the weekend shopping …..