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
Ever since I got my PG Cert, I’ve been meaning to write up my project report into a journal article. I finally did so last weekend, and it was submitted to an appropriate journal a couple of nights ago. Now, I have to wait to see if it meets with approval!
There’s only one way to keep one’s hopes up at this point, and that’s to have more than one article submitted. Flushed with success, I wrote a second one, this time not such a mammoth effort, but sharing a recent user education success. That one has just been emailed off as well – to a different journal, I hasten to add.
What I need to do now, is some research-based writing. Mind you, it’s only a few weeks since a joint collaboration was submitted to a historical journal; at least that article did directly touch on my recent researches, so maybe I shouldn’t feel too guilty…
Feeling a bit rattled at a recent exchange in which I felt I had been very much dismissed as a mere librarian by someone nearly one third my age – not a colleague, I hasten to add! – I expressed due thanks for the advice, then fumed and raged (mainly internally) for a few days until a thought occurred to me.
Have I not got a certificate of excellence from one of my professional associations? And a fellowship from another two? Okay then, here it is. May I introduce myself, modestly, as a virtuoso music librarian? No concert platforms for me. My postdoctoral research is shared with musicologists, librarians, book and library historians, and although I’m a published author, I very seldom – though by no means never – perform my research. But it doesn’t make me less good at what I do. I’ve been a music librarian for 34 years – I generally know my stuff. I have three music degrees, professional qualifications in librarianship and teaching and – surprisingly enough – a performing diploma in an instrument I no longer play.
Why do some people assume librarians are unskilled? I wouldn’t tell any of our community how to perform, compose or dance, but in my own areas of expertise I like to think I’m pretty competent as I approach my thirtieth anniversary at my workplace!
As you know, I wear various hats. I’m a subject librarian 3.5 days a week. Well, a Performing Arts Librarian, but my specialism is in music. As such, I also train our music students in using online resources, compiling bibliographies, and similar academic-related topics.
The other 1.5 days a week, I’m a postdoctoral researcher, currently leading an AHRC-funded research network, Claimed From Stationers Hall. It’s all about the music deposited in Georgian libraries under the legal deposit legislation.
Today, I blogged about Hans Gal and his music catalogue at the University of St Andrews. You can read it here. I’m very keen for this early printed music to be more widely known about, and I’d love to see students exploring it for themselves. But first, we need to know exactly what’s out there …
When I did my mini-research project for the PGCert, some of the responses to my questionnaire expressed the desire for animated videos to explain the concepts I was introducing. So when I came across Biteable animations, I thought they might come in handy.
But by way of an experiment, i thought I’d try making a couple for my research project, first. So – here’s today’s attempt. Because this is an economy WordPress website, I can’t the video to activate within the blog, so I’m afraid you’ll need to click on the hyperlink!
I have often thought that when students have problems using Shibboleth institutional logins for our e-resources, the best solution would be to go for a Costa coffee – then we could practice logging in and searching the different resources. There’s only one problem – I can hardly ask students to take me out to coffee, and also, they’re often distance-learners.
Yesterday, we solved one of those problems. We took a class out to coffee, admittedly not Costa, but by arrangement with a nearby cafe – they sold 30-odd coffees, and we all played with our various electronic devices in search of specific keywords that I had set the students in advance. I won’t go into detail here – it might turn into an article later! – but suffice to say, I was delighted by how well the exercise went. It had involved a bit of advance preparation, first on my part and then on the students’, but it was certainly worth the effort. Away from the usual instant access via Eduroam, there was no option but to engage with the institutional access process, and these students had remarkably little bother with it.
Funnily enough, in years gone by, when I tried to teach catalogue use in a computer suite, there seemed to be too much temptation for students to play with Facebook or other social media. But yesterday, I didn’t give that possibility a thought, and because the students had an engaging task to do, it didn’t seem to happen. (If it did, then certainly not to any noticeable extent!)
Active learning? Certainly. Scaffolded learning? Arguably, yes. We started with what the students knew, then I offered some more suggestions, and these were added into students’ own search strategies, with improved results.
I gave two short talks about my PGCert project, in recent weeks. Firstly, for a day organised by the Scottish Library and Information Council, and then at the IAML (UK and Ireland) Annual Study Weekend 2018, for music librarians.
The short talks (click on the link to see my slides), were entitled “From PGCert to PG Certainty” went down well, and I was asked if I’d share them on the IAML (UK and Ireland) blog. The posting went live today, so here it is:-
This is just a brief summary – I hope to write a longer article in due course, but haven’t yet had time to give it the attention it deserves!
I'm a musicologist disguised as a librarian. I'm qualified in music, librarianship and education. I began this blog when I was studying for my PGCert in Learning & Teaching in Higher Arts Education, and I'm now using it for CPD. I'm a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Midweek I am PI for an AHRC-funded research network @ClaimedStatHall – early legal deposit music. Off-duty I'm hard-wired into my sewing machine!