Tag Archives: Music librarianship

East-West, Public-Academic: Scottish Music Librarians Collaborate

Last FridayDSC_0025 (800x532) saw me giving a bicentennial talk about the First Edinburgh Musical Festival, at Edinburgh Central Library.  This was a collaboration between myself, Bronwen and Anne, the librarians responsible for music services there.  They handled the ticketing and the venue, and also mounted a display of relevant publications.  I did my research in Glasgow and travelled through to Edinburgh for the day, to give my talk.  Edinburgh historian Eleanor Harris kindly shared her transcriptions of Caledonian Mercury columns with me, and I drew upon these as well as the festival report written by a youthful George Farquhar Graham.

Account of the First Edinburgh Musical Festival (via NLS Digital Gallery)

Almut, our counterpart in the National Library of Scotland, put on a complementary exhibition on her side of George IV Bridge! Remarkably, the exhibitions had picked out different material for display, so the audience was encouraged to take a look at both.

My talk included a couple of Handel soundtracks, and two excerpts of long-forgotten pieces that I had unearthed to play on the Clavinova.  (That was the most nerve-wracking bit.  I don’t claim to be a recitalist!)

As I mentioned before, by sheer good luck, I was able to go on a guided tour of Parliament House (the old one), the morning of my talk.  It made all the difference to have stood in the hall and imagined it ready for the very first concert, complete with organ imported from Covent Garden for the week.

31 people attended my talk, and the feedback was very positive; astonishingly, they even liked my playing!  In my 27 years in Scotland, I had never collaborated with Edinburgh Central Library before, but it was a triumphant success.  I do hope we get to repeat the experiment again some time!Edinburgh City Library Exhibition


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?


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’.

Early Career Music Librarians: ET Bryant Memorial Prize

I have posted details of this on Whittaker Live, and it’s on the IAML(UK and Ireland) website. However, since the idea is to promote this prize as widely as possible – there’s £250 at stake for an early-career music librarian who has written a dissertation or significant article – I thought I’d repost it here too.

Calling for submissions

E T Bryant Memorial Prize

£250 awarded for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship

Details of this valuable award have  just gone live on the IAML(UK and Ireland) website.  If you’re an early-career music librarian and have recently written a dissertation or significant paper on a music-librarianship related topic, you’re strongly urged to enter your work for the E T Bryant Memorial Prize.  Similarly, if you know of any other recent librarianship students who completed such  work over the past five years, let them know about it!

Details are here:-  http://www.iaml.info/iaml-uk-irl/awards/bryant.html


  • The prize is awarded to a library and information science student or group of students, or to a librarian in their first five years in music librarianship, for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship.
  • The prize is awarded for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship.
  • The recipient(s) of the prize must be resident in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland during the year of entry
  • Publication of the material during / within the previous five years does not preclude entry
  • All entries must be submitted by the published closing date.

The prize will be presented each year to the winner at the Annual General Meeting of the IAML(UK & Irl) Branch, by representatives of IAML(UK & Irl) and The Music Libraries Trust.

A copy of the winning work will be retained in the IAML(UK & Irl) Library.

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.


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!

Telling the World about Teaching Artistry

Breakfast at Fitzwilliam College!

I went to the IAML UK and Ireland Annual Study Weekend in Cambridge last weekend. (That’s the International Association of Music Libraries, UK and Ireland branch).  We began with an academic music librarians’ seminar, and I was the first speaker.  I talked about our course!   (I had spent much of my annual leave doing my teaching plan and theoretical study, so that I would be able to talk about it at this seminar.)  Unbeknown to me, another librarian there made a Storify page about the session, so here we are for all the world to see!   I think you’ll agree I must have said the right things, to judge by the way Edith reported it.

My own PowerPoint is here.