All posts by Karenmca

I'm a librarian and musicologist, currently seconded part-time as postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I'm also a church organist and choir-trainer. Last year, I completed a PG Cert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education. Addicted to music and fabric. You can find me on Twitter @karenmca

Beware the Guard Dog!

I write this cautiously.  My latest blogpost mentioned the significant, large piece of writing required to get a PhD.  I used appropriate keywords, obviously.  And what happens? I get new followers – yay!  But they’re the kind of websites that offer writing services for desperate students.  Let me state this here, loud and clear – if you commission people to write student assignments, then it is not worth your while following me!

And if you are a real live human associated with one of these enterprises as a consumer, please note:-

I will gladly speak to students of my own institution about how to structure or reference a submission.  I would cheerfully advise anyone that I knew personally, about such things.

BUT I WILL NEVER, EVER WRITE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO PASS MY WORK OFF AS THEIR OWN.  I worked unbelievably hard to get my qualifications, and I’m not available to help anyone else “work the system”.  I write for myself, under my own name.  That’s it.

If you’re a struggling student, please turn to your own institution.  Tell them you’re struggling.  Seek appropriate help.  They won’t charge you for it.  But don’t be tempted to pay someone else to write for you.  How could you take pride in a degree that was dishonestly gained?


A Decade as a Doctor (of Philosophy)

Well, a PhD in Music, to be accurate.  This morning, Facebook obligingly reminded me that it was exactly ten years since my thesis revisions were accepted, meaning that I would definitely be graduating in November 2009.

Bucks fizzWe couldn’t let the decade go unmarked!  After all, I’ve since published a book, been a postdoctoral research assistant on one grant-funded project, PI (Principal Investigator) on another, and added the PGCert in Learning and Teaching and a couple of fellowships to my post-nominals.  (I’d like to say my rateable value had also gone through the ceiling, but sadly, that’s not the case!  Part of me still works as a librarian, and I don’t have the freedom to go in search of promotion in another part of the country.)

But it still hasn’t been a bad decade considering it’s the decade in which many people are tempted to coast downhill to retirement!  Retirement isn’t even on my horizon yet – I’ve got several articles about to be published, a couple more ideas for research yet to be explored, and am about to start another grant application.2019-10-12 15.19.09

Anyway, I acknowledged the decade milestone on social media, and off we went to celebrate.  There will be fizz later – rather tame fizz, but fizz all the same!

The Proof of the Pudding …

Well, in this case, it’s a question of proof-reading, but we’ll let that pass.  This week I’ve been up to the ears in editing and proof-reading things I’ve written.

  • There was the article that needed revision, after it had been scrutinised by a peer-reviewer.
  • The article that evolved from my PGCert project of a couple of years ago.
  • The article that I wrote several years ago, only now appearing in an online journal.
  • And three book reviews.

Having cleared that little lot out of the way, I can think about what I need to write next! Since I have other, non-academic concerns also demanding my attention this Autumn, I can see I’m going to be busy!




Volunteering Expertise

Anyone who knows me would not be surprised that I’m honorary librarian for a charitable trust looking after an historical collection of Scottish music in Dundee.  The Wighton Collection belongs to the City of Dundee and resides in the public library – but the Friends of Wighton support and promote the collection.  In recent years we’ve also acquired the late Scottish accordionist Jimmy Shand’s music collection.  I have to be honest and admit that it really is the perfect charity for me to be involved with!  Not only do I have the Scottish music and librarianship expertise, but I also started my music librarianship career in a public library, and it feels right that I should be giving something back to the public sector, even if I’ve subsequently spent 31 years in an academic library.  And I totally agree with the aims of the charity in promoting classes in traditional Scottish musical instruments, even if I am not involved with that side of things.  (It’s in Dundee – I can only go over there on occasional Saturdays, even for the bibliographical work I do voluntarily.  Going across weekly wouldn’t be feasible, really.)

I was happy to come back from today’s visit – which included enjoying hearing a friend playing at one of the Cappuccino Concerts this morning – knowing that I’ve got a quantity of music listed and boxed up with instructions for a bindery to transform them from rather tired old scores into smart cloth-bound volumes.  They represent some of Jimmy Shand’s repertoire, and although people today can be rather dismissive about early to mid twentieth century “Scottish” songs, they are nonetheless a link in the chain of our history, and as such, worthy of preservation.  Strangely enough, some of the material I’ve handled today was by BIG Scottish music publishers (in their day), but on cheap paper, mass-produced, and despite that, rarely surviving in today’s libraries.  I like to think we’re doing a good thing in attempting to preserve them!

(Image is my own accordion, not Shand’s.  But he’s partially to blame for my recent acqusition in any case!)


Something came up on my Twitter feed this evening – it looked interesting, so I’ll share it here, and read it when I’ve got a spare minute later on this week.  It’s about e-portfolios, and it’s from our friends at Jisc.  (They’re the team who ran Copac before upgrading it to Jisc Library Discover, earlier this summer.)

How to enhance student learning, progression and employability with e-portfolios

Case studies and guidance on e-portfolios for UK further and higher education (July 2019)

I believe I may have mentioned that one of our sons suggested I should follow his example and turn my CV into an Issuu e-publication – well, I did do that, but I wonder if we’ll be revising our efforts after I’ve looked at this!