Tag Archives: Librarianship

Academic Libraries Engaging with Their Communities

This was the theme of the SCURL event held at Glasgow School of Art last Wednesday.  SCURL stands for Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries, and this day was planned to give librarians an opportunity to talk about outreach.

I co-presented a paper with our Archives Officer, Stuart Harris-Logan.  It occurred to me that I could put my talk AND the PowerPoint into a Storify story.  The link is here if you’d like to see it.  (My apologies – I don’t have the text of Stuart’s paper, so the Storify is basically my share of the talk!)

Another Day of Reckoning – My 2014 Publication Record

Exercising extreme self-control here, I’ve only listed things that I either published or had accepted, revisions and all, in 2014.  A couple of the papers that I read at conferences may yet appear in print, but hey, I have to leave something for 2015, don’t I?

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS

Library Review [pending], ‘Sexy Bibliography (and Revealing Paratext)’

Reference Review [pending], Review of Nardolillo, Jo, illustrated by T. M. Larsen and edited by David Daniels, All Things Strings: an Illustrated Dictionary (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)

Reference Review [pending], Review of Collins, Irma H., Dictionary of Music Education (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2013)

 “Arranging.” Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia. Ed. William Forde Thompson. Vol.1 (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014, 83-87. Sage Knowledge. Web.

“Bards.” Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia. Ed. William Forde Thompson. Vol.2 (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014, 123-26. Sage Knowledge. Web.

Brio Vol.51, no.2 (Autumn/Winter 2014), pp.16-22, Antwerp IAML paper, ‘From Historical Collections to Metadata: a case study in Scottish Musical Inheritance’

RMA Bulletin, vol. 10 no. 11, November 2014, ‘Indexing your own Papers for RILM’

RMA Newsletter, Vol.XVIII no.2, November 2014, p.3, ‘Increase your Scholarly Visibility with RILM’

IAML(UK & Irl) Newsletter, no.69, 2014, pp.14-16, ‘Raising the Bar’ [user education]

Whittaker Live, 10 August 2014, ‘What Makes A Good Blog? Twelve Tips for Library Bloggers’ – okay, I ‘published’ this myself on the library blog I run for the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, but it was my most popular posting last year!

23 Librarians: , 14 March 2014, Karen – Music Librarianship and Research’.

Sexy Bibliography (and Revealing Paratext) – forthcoming article in Library Review

The silent sphinxHopefully the title of my latest paper will attract some interest (though I fear there may be disappointment in some quarters)!  Since I like to retain a little mystery, I’m not going to tell you what it’s about – you’ll have to wait until it’s published.  However, the keywords will give you a clue. The issue apparently went to press today.

Yours, mysteriously ….

Do You Practise What You Preach?

Piano badgeRecent training sessions that I’ve received and given, have prompted me to ask myself whether I actually practise what I preach.  (Most of the time, I do …)  I pitched a session at the second Glasgow Library Camp today, which provoked quite a lot of discussion.

  • I began by describing the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Teaching Artist Course (in the Short Course form that it adopted last session), which took place 12 Feb – 28 May 2014.  Do I count as an Artist? Yes, I think I do. I may not teach performance at work, but I am a church organist and choir director.
  • Why I did it?  To gain theory about pedagogy, teaching and learning, current best practice …
  • There was a wide variety of recommended readings, and a mixture of virtual and physical meetings.
  • The idea of reflective practice featured very prominently.  Therefore, from the beginning, we had to keep a blog.  This is it; I’ve continued to post on it since the course ended.
  • Outcomes: we had to produce written assignments; an E-Portfolio (one of the tabs above); and a Bibliography.  Mine is in my E-Portfolio, but there’s also a web version as a separate tab.
  • I recently gave my first distance learning user education session to PGCert students.  I had half an hour on a Thursday evening, and had to get used to using a headset and webcam with Adobe Connect.
  • I talked about our library service, holdings, e-resources, and good academic practice.  Bearing in mind I hadn’t got long in which to cover the topic, I briefly covered referencing, avoiding plagiarism, keeping a bibliography, and annotating it for one’s own benefit. Bibliographic software. Mendeley, Zotero, Endnote, Word.
  • Remembering the Teaching Artist course, I sought feedback afterwards, so I could reflect upon how it went, what went well and not-so-well, and what I’d do another time. Talking about reflective practice over coffee, we asked ourselves the question I asked LibCamp delegates today: Do we reflect adequately on what we do? Do you?
  • For myself, I certainly do keep a bibliography, use bibliographical software, and Diigo for useful websites.  To be fairDo you practise what you preach image for libcamp pitch 001 (800x582), I do a lot of writing, so it’s particularly important for me.  And this blog is still a place where I can reflect on what I do, whether as a librarian, a researcher or a musician.

This blogpost was a ‘pitch’ at Library Camp Glasgow 2014, which took place on Saturday 8th November.

Diigo and Me Image for LibCamp Pitch 001 (800x582)I also did a quick-fire rant (Minute of Madness) about the extreme usefulness of Diigo.  Since we were a power-point free zone, I made a low-tech poster for each presentation. So this was the Diigo one!

Establishing My USP

You’ll see from the pages on this website that I’m very enthusiastic about social media, and I author several other blogs.  However, they’re not all equally active.  At the same time, though, they all represent different aspects of me.

This KarenMcAulay.wordpress.com blog is going to be my main personal blog from now on.  Anything relating to my Scottish music research, or continuing professional development, will have its own place here, so TrueImaginaryFriends.blogspot.com, and AirsandGraces.cpd.blogspot.com will become dormant.

The successful performing arts blog, WhittakerLive.blogspot.com, which I author for the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will, of course, be unaffected.  You’ll recognise my blogging “voice”, but it’s done in my daytime professional capacity.

I’ll maintain my Academia.edu page – it’s not a blog, and I think it’s worthwhile – but I intend to do a radical pruning of my LinkedIn pages.  They are beginning to look cluttered.

I can also be found tweeting @Karenmca. However, I generally use Facebook only for family and close friends. That’s my personal choice.

My USP?

Looking at my career, and my published output, it’s clear that I have a wide range of interests.  I’m an academic music librarian and a musicologist in equal measure. I’m a musician, an author, a teaching artist and a public speaker.

Commonwealth Games cushionCome Holy Ghost, clipAnd in my spare time, when having fingers in so many pies makes me think my head will surely explode, I chill out by doing dressmaking or patchwork, or sometimes arrange music for choral or instrumental ensembles.  I might tweet about that, but I don’t need to blog about it!

All these activities make it hard to decide what my USP (Unique Selling Proposition) actually is! Chameleon-like, I profile different aspects as the situation requires.  I’ll revert to this topic another day!

I wrote an article once …

Actually, I’ve written at least a couple of dozen articles and published my thesis as a book, but this weekend I decided to write an article for submission to the Scottish Journal of Performance.  I started roughing it out yesterday, and sat down to work at it properly, late this afternoon.  Suddenly, a light went on.  Hang on, hadn’t I written an article about library ‘user education’ once before? Sure enough, there it was in my CV: ‘But how do I tell them?’, in the librarianship journal, Personnel Training and Education 8.3 (1991).  I was fascinated to discover that not only had it been cited in a lengthy Australian study, but I was even quoted as observing, 23 years ago!, the lack of pedagogical theory in librarianship writings on user education!

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Judith Peacock, From Trainers to Educators: Librarians and the challenge of change (1999)

Emboldened by my early success, I’m now feeling much more optimistic about the paper I’m working on today.  Today’s effort is so very obviously better – I can tell that my writing has matured – although, after 23 years, I shouldn’t really be surprised.

However, this is interesting:  Peacock quotes me noting the absence of something that I’ve only just, THIS YEAR, had the opportunity to make good.  The wheel comes full circle, you could say!  Except that, in one sense, it’s like looking down the other end of a telescope.  23 years ago, it was six years since my postgraduate diploma at library school, four since I’d reluctantly abandoned the PhD that I’d set aside during my librarianship training, and electronic resources consisted largely of databases for scientists and lawyers.  Now, having completed a PhD on a totally different subject, and gained Fellowship in my professional body (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), I’m in the mature years of my career.  E-resources are for everyone, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to do the Teaching Artist short credit-rated course that occasioned the writing of this blog.  In the article I’ve been writing,I’m addressing the same subject again.  But it’s like standing outside the Conservatoire knowing the land was once occupied by tenements.  Same territory, but completely different environment!

Reflecting on my Teaching Practice as an Academic Librarian

Much of my ‘teaching’ is not what you’d call teaching – but I author many library guides on different aspects of our service provision,  to provide information and instruction, ie, not only what we offer, but also how to use and get the most benefit out of those resources.  And upon reflection, I decided that this was indeed part of my teaching ‘practice’.  Reflection’s a good way of owning and identifying what you do as part of your professional practice, and in a sense, validating your decisions for what you do.  I don’t just “happen” to write these guides – they’re written intentionally and for specific purposes.

If you’re a student or teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, you’ll be able to log into Moodle and Mahara, and see all the guides we offer – I authored all the music and most of the general ones.  Here.

If you’re an external reader, you won’t be able to see my guides, but you’ll be able to access the lists of all our electronic resources via the Library and IT webpages. Here.

We’re very keen to get our e-resources exploited as much as possible, so that our readers get maximum benefit out of them, and that way we’ll get good value for our subscriptions. This is why I’m producing little bite-sized chunks of training that I shall share first with my colleagues, and then ultimately with our readers.  If I can find podcasts – eg YouTube clips – that can be repurposed, then I’ll share them.  Otherwise, I’ll be devising my own using an app like Jing. (It’s a screen-capture technology with the option of recording your own voice narrative to describe what you’re doing. TechSmith describes Jing as, “a free and simple way to start sharing images and short videos of your computer screen. Whether for work, home, or play, Jing gives you the ability to add basic visual elements to your captures and share them fast.”)

I’ve done two of these “Essential Training” e-resource guides so far – if I upload too many at a time, my colleagues might be less keen to look at them!  I have about ten resources on my list, and I began with British Library Sounds, then Classical Music Online.  If you’re part of the Conservatoire community, here’s the Mahara link.  If you’re not a registered Conservatoire IT user, that link won’t work, but I can show you some screen-shots, below.  First, the Library homepage on Mahara, and then a shot of my first two guides:-

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The ‘Essential Training’ page won’t necessarily stay in that format once I’ve done all ten guides, but for now, it keeps them together so my library colleagues can dip in and explore resources that they’ve maybe not looked at for a while.

Concurrently with this project, I’m also preparing for my “Research Skills and Bibliiographic Software” seminar with our research students.  That’s “real” teaching, of course – I’ve posted my lesson plan, contextual study and theoretical paper on the homepage of this blog.  Yesterday morning, I conferred with one of our research lecturers to ensure she was happy with what I was proposing to offer in my seminar.  And yesterday afternoon, after a session getting updated on the Scran database by one of their educational officers, I decided to try composing an invitation to our research students, using one of Scran’s “Create” formats.  I’m not sure about the image I’ve chosen, though.  Scran has a lot of historical images, and I found a couple of pictures of early computer technology, including an early computer at the University of Glasgow.  It took me as long as my subway ride home last night, to decide that I didn’t like one of the images, and I didn’t want TWO separate pages of invitation.  This afternoon, I fiddled some more, and came up with a single page that is closer to my intentions:-

  • Date, time, place, and purpose must be clear
  • Students must be asked to look at some e-resources beforehand
  • Students must be asked to bring laptops, ipads, or whatever handheld devices they normally use
  • I was tasked with producing a single-sided pdf, so all this info must fit onto an economically-worded poster!

My second draft, then, looks like this:-

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I had another attempt at making a pdf invitation, subsequent to this.  You can view the PDF here:- Research Skills Invite