Category Archives: PGCert

Blending Librarianship With Research and Pedagogy (SCONUL Focus 69, 56-59)

SCONUL is the Standing Conference of National and University Librarians.  SCONUL Focus online is an open access publication.  Vol.69 is dedicated to articles by librarians engaged in various aspects of research.  My line-manager suggested I should contribute something – this is it.
Karen McAulay, ‘Blending Librarianship with Research and Pedagogy‘, SCONUL 69, 56-59 (July 2017)
ABSTRACT: I contend that the combination of librarianship with research is beneficial both on a personal level and to the library and institution, but that the addition of a third element – pedagogy – brings even stronger benefits.

Finished

end-1373696_640I’ve uploaded every component of my PGCert submission, and I’m exhausted.

Notwithstanding that, I’ve just found an interesting article about digital natives (so-called), whilst experimenting with our new library management system.  It’s going in my resource list on this blog, even though it’s too late to add to my bibliography per se!

Bennett, Sue, Karl Maton and Lisa Kervin, ‘The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence’, in British Journal of Educational Technology, 5 February 2008.

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!

Last Posting Tonight

I really need to get cracking with my PGCert project now that Christmas is over.  As I’ve mentioned, I had a very stressful six months at the end of last year.  By the time Christmas crept up on me, I visualised my GP diagnosing burnout, and made a last-minute decision to take an extra day’s annual leave before Christmas.  I felt as though I was barely functioning – it was time to stop before I crumpled into a little disconsolate heap.

After Christmas, I did no intellectual work for ten days.  I looked at my work emails only once (because I’m helping organise a conference outwith work, and I didn’t want to let anyone down by not completing a particular task).  And I sewed, did all the domesticity stuff, and slept.  That was about it.

The major stress-factor is resolved, though I still have plenty of other things requiring my attention.  Unfortunately, I’m still tired.  That doesn’t seem to be going away fast enough.  Still, I’m still here, and it’s a new year.  That’s about as good as it gets!

Half a Day in the Life of an Academic Librarian

I was working from 1-5 today, because I was owed a few hours.  So, I had planned two meetings, one in my capacity as music librarian, and the other regarding a research grant application.

What happened? Two more people came asking for help in the 15 minutes before my first meeting. I helped the first – it was a quick question – and asked the second to come back later.  The first scheduled meeting happened, the second didn’t happen for unavoidable reasons, and then I had what I hope was a helpful second student consultation with the person whom I hadn’t time to help earlier.

And then I blogged some notes on my afternoon, on the library blog – Whittaker Live. Reproduced here, to avoid duplication of effort.  But before I do that, I’m just going to comment that it made me realise – again – how enthusiastic our postgraduates are, and how eager to get things right.  Also, I was reminded that logging into e-resources, and referencing and citation, are things we librarians just take in our stride.  They’re much bigger hurdles for our students, especially if they’ve been out of education for even just a few years.

In library terms, we would refer to these incidents as queries, though ‘consultation’ is probably closer to the mark.  In actual fact, it’s 1:1 teaching, though some of our RCS teachers probably assume that teaching only takes place in classrooms or studios!

Day in the Life of a Music Librarian

E-RESOURCES: ACCESS
This afternoon saw a quick question about our students accessing online resources from outside the Conservatoire – and a quick answer.  RCS staff and students need to go to our Library web-pages, click on the appropriate e-resources link, and then pick their chosen e-resource (or e-book, or e-journal).  Use Shibboleth institutional access from there – pick the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, then your usual RCS login.  We don’t use Athens – so avoid anything mentioning it.

REFERENCING
Then came two two individual consultations about Karen’s favourite things.  First, a fairly in-depth discussion about saving citations, then using the Harvard referencing style, and creating a bibliography.  The Whittaker Library has guidelines about Harvard referencing on our part of the RCS Portal.  (Find them here.  If you need more, just Google “Harvard Referencing”, and you’ll find plenty of other guides!)

If you’re referencing a lot of non-standard formats, the best advice is to find an example for something approximately close to your reference, then tweak the example to fit your purposes, making sure the author’s name and date of the source are listed first.  If you’re referencing something online, then you’ll need to give a hyperlink, and also the date you accessed the item.  All this is in our guide.

E-RESOURCES: RESEARCH

The next query was back to e-resources again, but this time about content rather than access.  We talked about finding info about specific musical works.  Naxos sleeve notes are useful.  JSTOR can be useful, too. Oxford Music Online is better for facts about the works’ composition dates, opus numbers, where they stand in the composers’ output, etc, but may not necessarily give you anything in-depth about individual works.

So, having delved briefly into online resources, we also looked at CD and vinyl sleeve notes – plenty more info in that direction!  And good old Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.  It may be old, but could be a good starting place.

Practising What I Preach

A week tomorrow, I’m visiting a class of third year Trad Music students to talk about their research projects, and to see if the library has any resources that might prove useful to them.

I have a conviction that “parachute lecturers” – people like me, asked to give one-off teaching sessions – need to work harder to create context for their lessons. Therefore, I’ve just sent a MailChimp message to everyone, to give advance warning of what I’ll be talking about.  This way, I hope the students will be prepared to share their initial thoughts about these projects, and might come armed with questions about any resources they’ve already tried.

This is not exactly part of my PGCert project, but I’m logging it in case I need it as “evidence” later on!

accordion-bl-flickr

I’m coming along to talk to you about your research projects – so I can see if the library can help you with any useful materials, any e-resources you might not have thought of, and maybe offer a few tips about keeping track of your research “journey” along the way.

I just thought I’d send this email to ask you each to be prepared to tell me briefly what the project is about.  If there’s anything you’d like to give me advance warning about, just drop me an email: ~~~~~~~~~~~~

And if there are any online resources you’ve tried but had difficulty with, let me know, and we can have a look at them together.  (Here’s the library’s webpage: https://www.rcs.ac.uk/about_us/libraryandit/)

‘Can’t you do a Podcast?’

I’m thinking about podcasts for user education. Why? Well, on several occasions, different people have suggested them.  Enter a new article by Tara Brabazon:-

‘Press learning: the potential of podcasting through pause, record, play and stop’ (Knowledge Management and E-Learning 8 (3), (2006), 430-443.

Press Learning: the potential of podcasting through pause, record, play and stop

I found the article on Academia.edu, which I frequent quite regularly.  I follow Tara’s research outputs.

Tara is a great advocate of podcasts – audioclips that oblige people to listen closely, without visual distraction. She cites John Cage’s 4:33 and how the listener has to listen to the sounds around them.  But one thing is clear.  It wasn’t clear to me before, and it probably wasn’t clear to people I’ve been speaking to.  Podcasts are audio. What I think is needed for user education, is videoclips (Tara calls it vodcasting) – a brief audiovisual clip.  I am pretty sure people need to see how to use the catalogue, use the e-resources, and so on.  It’s a bit like learning how to sew – you need to see it done. Much library user education is training in methodology, not so much challenging readers to think about a subject a certain way, but instructions on how to use new databases or resources.

What is a Podcast?, by Yaro Starak

Already, before I’ve even finished the article, I have questions!  These are the three potential models, if I know which software to use:-

  1.  Screencapture and audio would probably do for most situations.
  2. As for video-ing in the library, what would be the easiest technology ?
  3. If I were to find a situation where podcasting really WOULD be best, what would be the best technology?
  4. Do I need to know about RSS feeds, if I’m looking to put material on a portal which is primarily for students and staff?

I’m sure our learning technologist will be able to help me answer some of these!