What am I reading?

I’ve reviewed a number of books over the years, including several little “What are you reading?” contributions to Times Higher Educational Supplement (THE).  Indeed, I submitted a couple there recently. The first one appeared a couple of weeks ago.  The other one will appear before long.


By Popular Request – Instructional Videoclips

Biteable Bear
Biteable.com – Instructor Bear!

When I was doing my PGCert, I surveyed a cohort of postgraduate distance-learners to see what they thought of some brief instructional self-help clips that I had designed.  I asked for feedback, and I got it – short videos were very welcome, it seemed, but several students particularly asked for animations – or my talking head in a corner of the screen.  (WHY would anyone want to watch my talking head? Something that mystifies me, to be honest!)  But I liked the idea of animations – apart from wondering how I would achieve this!

When I found Biteable.com, I was quite excited – there are a number of templates and audio backgrounds to choose from, and you can just edit in your own text, changing colours and adding pictures as you choose.  I’ve done a couple for the Claimed From Stationers Hall network project that I spearhead, and a couple of months ago I made one as a library guide, too.

This week, I made two more.  One is about setting up email alerts for our library discovery layer, and the video I’ve just curated today is about fake news – and basically, not leaping to conclusions about things when you haven’t enough evidence to back your suppositions up.  That video stemmed from a Stationers’ Hall field trip that I made recently.  It would have been great to have been able to say that I’d discovered a whole story about how certain music scores got into an old library collection.  But – as you’ll see – in truth, I haven’t enough evidence to back up my guesses, and my initial ideas are probably pure fantasy!

Anyway, do have a look.  I had fun making them, and I hope both videoclips will be useful.

3 Hats: Librarian, Musicologist, Teacher

Happiness is hats
The Three Hats!

A query in the cafe-bar yesterday concerned how to write a research proposal.  I gave a few quick hints and promised to investigate whether we had anything in the library that might help with this task.

On Thursdays, I’m a researcher in the morning and a librarian in the afternoon.  It wasn’t until I got back to my library desk that I started to think about the query properly.  We do a lot of practice-based research at the Conservatoire, whilst my own PhD (now some years ago) was plain musicology, so I wanted to ensure that my advice suited the enquirer.  Then I remembered – when had I last written a research proposal?  Well, I’d done my successful application for an AHRC Networking Grant, of course – but I had also written a research proposal for my PG Cert project.  To my delight, when I retrieved the appropriate documentation for the latter, I discovered I had used tracking on my Word document to keep myself right at every point of the process.  There were my headings, and margin comments amplified what I should be doing under each one.

Then I turned back to the library catalogue, and tried a couple of searches, one of books and e-books, and the other using our discovery-layer, Catalogue Plus. This was looking promising.  Finally, I put all my advice into a blogpost on the library blog, Whittaker Live. If I was giving a serious bit of guidance, I thought, then I might as well make it available to anyone else with the same question!  I had actually worn all three of my “hats” whilst answering this query – librarian, musicologist and teacher.  Some HE establishments have the role of “tutor librarian”.  That’s not my title, but it’s one of the areas in which I feel most effective.  That, and my research existence!

Writing a Research Proposal (blogpost on Whittaker Live)