Intervention scripted

Slow progress, but I’ve now written the script for the first of my ‘Interventions’.  However, I can’t record it unless the other occupants of my household are safely occupied elsewhere in the house, and unlikely to disturb the recording!

I have absolutely no idea how long it’ll take!  Hopefully, somewhere between 5-10 minutes.

Writing about my multi-faceted role

My line-manager suggested I might consider writing an article for SCONUL Focus (a journal published by the Society of College, National and University Libraries*), since a forthcoming issue is focusing on supporting research. There was a call for writing by librarians who combine research with librarianship – and that’s me to a “T”.
I wrote my piece over the past few days, but felt that something was missing; eventually, I realised that I needed to write about my current pedagogical activities as well as my librarianship and ongoing research. I submitted it late last night; now I need to wait to see if it is what the editors were looking for!

An Intervention

I’ve designed the first of two ‘interventions’ for my PGCert project. This one is a powerpoint, which will have a recorded voiceover.  The 18 slides will change at a brisk pace – it’s a basic introduction to referencing/citation, and I don’t want the students to be bogged down by too much detail. The intention is that it will introduce why academic rigour requires referencing/citation, and ways to make it easier for ourselves using bibliographic software.  A full introduction to each product is obviously not feasible here, but it should act as a taster.

I haven’t written or recorded the voiceover yet.  That’s very definitely for another day! The words are in my head, but I’ve spent so many hours getting this far that I cannot do any more just now.

Multiple Hats

Oops, it’s a week since I blogged.  This is in part due to my trip down to the University of Oxford last week to give a paper at the Cultures of Collecting event at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities).  The poster gives further details:-

There were four papers – mine was the first.  There was an enthusiastic and welcoming audience, so I felt it went very successfully. (It also gave me a range of other things to think about, which I wouldn’t otherwise have encountered!) Click here for my PowerPoint.   In preparation, I read several papers from Elsner and Cardinal’s book, The Cultures of Collecting, which were thought-provoking to say the least .. and yes, I now have a list of more books I’d like to get hold of!

Now I must get back to the business of my PGCert project.  I do now have a questionnaire, albeit not yet turned into a SurveyMonkey online survey.  First, I have to submit an ethical approval form, so that’s the next hurdle to cross.

Watch “A first attempt at a vlog, or video-log” on YouTube

This is going to be a sharp learning curve! First lesson of the day – one that any telejournalist could have told me – at the start of a recording, pause and SMILE before actually starting speaking.

The next experiment will entail trying to combine selfie-vlogging and outward-facing vlogging, so I can talk about the library or something on-screen.  And comparing the whole experience of recording a YouTube on tablet or on a laptop.  My tutor’s going to be So Proud of me!

Everything Changes … But Not Yet

I had a momentary hesitation when it suddenly dawned on me that our new library management system would be implemented this year – staff training starts next month – and I wondered whether one of my PGCert project ‘interventions’ might therefore be an introduction to the new catalogue, rather than to the present one.

However, it transpires that we don’t go live until July, so my intervention will probably have to be an introduction to the current system.  If it has to be re-jigged subsequently, then that will just be a routine task as part of my role as a librarian. (Indeed, there is much to be said for a test-run on the present system, to ensure that any suggested improvements can be incorporated into a learning-tool for the new one.)

Meanwhile, I shall continue thinking about questions for my survey, and the rapidly-becoming-unavoidable task of the ethical approval form. (Historical musicologists don’t usually do much in the way of ethical approval – our subjects are so long deid!)

Analyse 2016 Library Survey for Research Context

I allowed myself the whole of February for this, so I am quite pleased that I’ve done a large part of my analysis already.  I’ve been through all the survey responses for 13 of the 33 questions that were asked: I picked out questions that might yield clues about how students viewed general library induction, and library e-resource training.

I’ve also made a rather nice table charting respondents’ usage of various e-resources, mapped against expressed interest in receiving training in the same resources.  (If there’s one aspect of research in which I share a common interest with the social scientists, it’s in beautiful graphs!)  I have my own interpretation of these statistics, but I’ll meet up with one of my colleagues to discuss them before reaching final conclusions, just in case another person might have a different interpretation of the same figures.

The respondents’ answers and freetext comments, combined with the e-resource usage and training interest data, will inform the intervention(s) that I plan to devise.



Here follows the analysis of the questionnaire. (1346 words):-

Information gleaned from the 2016 library user survey at RCS: Analysis

Responses have more than doubled between 2009 and 2016.

Since 2014, student responses have made up 85-89% of total.  In 2016, there were 176 student responses, and 32 from staff.  58-64% of responses self-identified as School of Music; 25-34% as School of Drama.

79% of student responses were by undergraduates, and  21% of responses were by postgraduates (total 100%).  11% of student  respondents were international.


88% of respondents used the library for books and music.  Second and third most popular reasons were to use IT facilities (69%) or to study (61%).   To use the catalogue (41%), borrow DVDs (39%) or use electronic resources (38%) were the next most popular reasons – significantly lower.  All other reasons scored less than these. Note that the question did not ask why respondents visited the library, but what they used the library for, so catalogue and e-resource use need not have taken place within the library space.   Significantly, catalogue and e-resource use are nonetheless important activities, albeit a long way behind the use of books and music.


In terms of using the library space, using the PCs was the most popular activity (71%), with laptop use or silent study coming significantly behind (58% each). None of the 18 comments concerned e-resource use or difficulty finding/accessing any kind of resource.


73% of respondents have used the catalogue remotely; 27% have not.  This answer leads into the next, more important one:-


58% of respondents usually find what they’re looking for; 31% sometimes do – a total of 89%. Less than 3% “hardly ever” or never find it, leaving 8% who have never used the catalogue.  These figures show room for improvement.  On the face of it, retrieval of suitable materials is not always successful.


If they found the item in the catalogue, 58% usually find it on the shelf, and 32% sometimes do – a total of 90%.  Again, the high figure belies the reality: “usually” and “sometimes” is not the same as “always”. If the item was reportedly available, then quite a few students are failing at the shelves. The following question confirms this:-


62% of respondents agree that items are easy to find, and another 11% strongly agree – a total of 73%.  16% neither agreed nor disagreed; 10% disagreed and 1% strongly disagreed.


72% of respondence received induction; 12% did not; and 16% said the question was not applicable (perhaps because they were taking a second degree and were either continuing students or did not perceive the need for induction).  Any extra instruction or self-help might increase confidence in subsequent library use.


53% of respondents found the content of induction helpful; 41% slightly helpful; 6% not helpful.  Of the thirteen comments, one thought the content insufficiently course-related; another suggested a refresher session later on would have been helpful, and a third suggested that people without HE library experience could have used more instruction about the classification scheme.  (Three merely wrote “n/a” and another “didn’t [sic] pay attention”.  It’s impossible to know whether students were referring to the library tour, and/or to any librarian input to initial lectures.  Certainly, the library tour can only be a brief introduction because so many students attend each tour.  Instruction in finding books,from catalogue to shelf, is effectively impossible with these numbers.  A podcast or video-clip might be very useful here.


63% thought timing just right, and another 30% had no particular opinion, leaving 8% (11 individuals) dissatisfied.

There were 15 comments.

  1. Six felt the induction came too soon/ would have been better later, for better retention
  2. Another would have liked a refresher a few months later.
  3. Confusingly, two would have liked their e-resource introduction earlier/at the same time as their library induction.

This demonstrates that “one size fits all” does not work with library induction.  Stand-alone podcasts or video-clips could help fill the gap.


88% were aware we had e-resources. 12% were unaware.


  • Naxos 38%
  • E-journals 25%
  • E-books 24%
  • JSTOR 24%
  • Oxford Music Online 23%
  • Digital Theatre Plus 22%
  • Classical Music Library 20%
  • NONE 18%
  • Library resources on Mahara 16%
  • Drama Online Digital Library 13%
  • IPA Source 13%
  • Classical Music in Video 10%
  • BUFVC 9%
  • Classical Music Reference Library 9%
  • British Library Sounds 8%
  • Classical Scores Library 8%
  • Library Music Source 6%
  • Naxos Music Library Jazz 5%
  • Opera in Video 5%
  • Ingenta Connect 4%
  • SCRAN 4%
  • Contemporary World Music 3%
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music 3%
  • Jazz Music Library 3%
  • Periodicals Archive Online 3%
  • Dance in Video 2%
  • RILM Abstracts 2%
  • Stan Winston School of Character Arts 2%
  • ZETOC 2%
  • Popular Music Archive 1%
  • Times Digital Archive 1%
  • Web of Knowledge 1%
  • Smithsonian Global Sound 0%
  • Teachers TV from Education in Video 0%

18% of respondents said they had used no e-resources. That’s more than just those who were unaware.  We need to continue to reach out through social media marketing and by cooperation with the academic staff, and to find ways of demonstrating the benefit of quality, subscription resources over simply web-searching or Wikipedia.


  • 36% would not have liked more training in any, which could be any combination of confidence in what was known about, ignorance of what was actually available, or apathy about taking the trouble to find out.  However, in order of demand, the following responses were made:-
  • 21% would have liked more training in E-books
  • 16% in E-journals
  • 14% in Classical Music in Video
  • 14% in Classical Music Library
  • 14% in Digital Theatre Plus
  • 13% in JSTOR
  • 12% in Drama Online Digital Library
  • 11% in Library Music Source
  • 11% in Naxos
  • 10% in Classical Scores Library
  • 8% in Oxford Music Online
  • 8% in Teachers TV from Education in Video
  • 7% in Library Resources on Mahara
  • 6% in Jazz Music Library
  • 6% in Popular Music Library
  • 5% in American Song
  • 5% in Opera in Video
  • 4% in Contemporary World Music
  • 4% in Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online
  • 4% in International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance
  • 4% in IPA Source
  • 4% in SCRAN
  • 4% in Web of Knowledge
  • 4% in ZETOC
  • 3% in Naxos Music Library Jazz
  • 3% in Periodicals Archive Online
  • 3% in Smithsonian Global Sound
  • 2% in Dance in Video
  • 1% in RILM Abstracts
  • 1% in Times Digital Archive
  • 0% in Stan Winston School of Character Arts

There were five comments.

  1. Two (out of 208 completed surveys) wanted more about all resources.
  2. The question was about e-resources, but one reader wanted more Education (BEd) books [sic!]
  3. One wanted animation resources
  4. One asked for the present writer to get a RefMe visit for staff.  (In fact, the writer did arrange this for course-leaders, but our institution decided against an institutional subscription. RefMe might not be keen on making a second visit for staff, after this!  It could nonetheless be mentioned in class sessions or via social media, as could Mendeley and Zotero.)


Of 29 responses, very few alluded to library induction and/or e-resources.

  1. One person asked for an information sheet about the electronic resources. There is one, both on paper and on Mahara, but for whatever reason, the respondent seems not to know about it.
  2. Another person asked for a fuller range of e-journals, “or at least the ability to use those of Glasgow University more easily”. This is a question of provision rather than instruction.  (Additionally, students cannot use e-resources via another institution, unless they’re officially registered with that institution.)  It does suggest that readers could benefit from increased awareness of what actually is available through RCS subscriptions.
  3. One observed that their “course, such as it is, is not really directed towards using library facilities”. In the interests of anonymity, the School in which this reader studies, cannot be named here!