Darkest Before the Dawn

My survey waweatherman-849792_640s sent off, bravely shivering, into an unwelcoming world.  Or to put it more plainly, I’ve had very few responses.  I’ve sent two reminders – but I could still do with more responses from my chosen cohort.  I do realise everyone’s very busy!

Maybe tomorrow will see an improvement in my fortunes.  Fingers crossed!



Podcast Your Research?

Flushed with anticipated success, I blogged for the library about disseminating your research via social media.  I’ll reproduce it here (after all, they’re my words!)  This afternoon, I’m meeting up with our learning technologist for a personal tutorial in devising podcasts and related formats, so I’ll probably have more to add to this later!  I have two reasons for needing to know – disseminating my own research, and sharing “how-to” videos etc for people using our library resources.

We’ve just found a great blog post on the LSE Impact Blog, about the benefits of disseminating your research using social media – and, specifically, by using podcasts.

Podcasting is like broadcasting, over the internet.  It tends to mean an audio recording, and means your research can potentially reach a much wider audience.  Have a look at this!

There’s a book, Communicating Your Research By Social Media, which looks really interesting, but we’ll get that later on this year.  For now, read the LSE Impact Blog and see if it sets you thinking!

  • What could you podcast about?
  • Or would you use a blog (with or without video)?
  • Or a powerpoint (ditto)
  • Or a powerpoint with voiceover?
  • What technical expertise would you need?
  • Would it be worth learning these skills?  (Rhetorical question!)

Progress of a (PGCert) Project

It’s a week since circulating my survey for my PGCert project into improving user education for using electronic resources and other related library skills.  With bated breath, I bravely revisited the survey site yesterday, to see all the responses that I imagined would have accumulated.

Nothing.  fjord-647078_640

I knew the links worked – at least, I thought they did.  The chill fear of doubt entered my heart …

Another email went off to my chosen cohort.  Today, with even more bated breath, I checked again.  Thankfully, I now have six responses.  Obviously, I can’t just sit back and wait for surveys to be completed – I need to nudge people with a combination of charm and persistence!  However, I’m relieved that the survey “works”, technically, and I already have some useful comments and suggestions.  Phew!

Practise What You Preach: Research Impact

If we researchers want to have impact, then we have to get out there and make it happen.  Today, I played at a concert in Dundee City Library’s Steps Theatre.  The Friends of Wighton, of which I’m honorary librarian, held an afternoon concert because it’s Voluntary Arts Week, and at the same time to commemorate Jimmy Shand, because we’ve now got some of his old music scores.

Several music tutors led spots for their classes – fiddles, whistles, singing, and a youth trad music group.  And a couple more of us played solo.  Most of us tried to use tunes out of Jimmy Shand’s collection as part or all of our contribution.

I wasn’t directly working with community groups like the music tutors, but as it happened, I chose to play early 19th century piano variations based on EXACTLY the tune that the fiddlers commenced the afternoon with!  How’s that for serendipity?  Their tutor had spotted Isaac Cooper’s tune, ‘Miss Forbes’s Farewell to Banff’, copied into one of the antiquarian music manuscripts that the Friends of Wighton recently bought at auction.  Meanwhile, I had found Schetky’s piano rondo on the tune in a different book, also from the Jimmy Shand collection.  Schetky was a German musician who moved to London and then Edinburgh.  His piano rondo is really rather nice.  We’ve got the only traceable copy in the world, apart from the copy that Schetky’s daughter took to the USA, which has ended up in a sizeable collection of her music now in the Library of Congress.

Even if I hadn’t been working with an amateur group, I did take the opportunity to talk just a little bit about the music I was playing, so it gave me the opportunity to expose the music to a different audience and to explain why I thought it was important.

I recently ordered a book for the library – Mark S. Reed’s, The Research Impact Handbook, because it’s plainly vital to ensure that research doesn’t get locked ‘in the ivory tower’, but shared more widely – particularly with something as suitable for sharing, as Scottish songs and dance music.  Right now, it’s on my desk to read quickly before I release it onto the library shelves!

Spoken Paper Becomes Footnoted Article

I gave a paper about my most recent researches into St Andrews’ historical legal deposit music at the Musica Scotica conference, a couple of weeks ago.  I was subsequently asked by another organisation if I would write a paper for a journal.  Luckily, the Musica Scotica spoken paper had been typed out in full, complete with reasonably good footnotes, so with the approval of the committee, I worked it up into a proper paper for submission, and now I await a decision.  It would be good to see it published.

Pending decision:- ‘A Music Library for St Andrews: Use of the University’s Copyright Music Collections, 1801-1849’