Monday, 21 May 2012

A couple of plugs...

My 23 Things for Professional Development post Thing 4: Current Awareness is now up on the CPD23 blog, and covers Twitter, RSS and Storify. I hadn't used Storify before trying it out for this Thing, but have since used it to gather together tweets from CILIP New Professionals Day, and will definitely continue to use it.

Back from the Stacks

Newnham College Library now have a blog, Back from the Stacks. We're going to share beautiful and interesting items from our special collections, and there are a couple of posts up already about exhibitions that are up in College at the moment.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

#CILIPnpd12 - Phil Bradley

Here's my final Storify of the day, on Phil Bradley's keynote speech and the panel Q&A. It's also available on the Storify website here, and all of the presentations from the whole day should go up on the CILIP New Professionals Day website soon.

#CILIPnpd12 - Bethan Ruddock

To end the day we had two brilliant key note speakers - Bethan Ruddock and Phil Bradley. Here's the storify of Bethan's presentation on the New Professionals Toolkit (also available on the Storify website)

#CILIPnpd12 - Simon Barron & Abby Barker

I think this was the most useful workshop I went to, and I know it was oversubscribed so I was lucky to get a place on it! If the embed doesn't show up, the Storify is also available here.

#CILIPnpd12 - high visibility cataloguers and cyber librarians

The first workshop I attended was very hands on (as you can see in the pictures below!) so I didn't tweet much. It was run by Deborah Lee and Jennie Perry from HVcats, and was great fun! We were given a pile of assorted lego and had to classify in as many ways as possible, figure out how we would deal with a new kind of brick not included in our classification scheme, and then build a tower from all the 4x2 bricks in the quickest time possible, to demonstrate the problem of distributed relatives (but mainly to win chocolate...)

Following on from that I went to Richard Hawkins and Lisa Hutchins' workshop about being "cyber librarians", which was really interesting and not something I'd really considered before. I've embedded the Storify of my tweets from the day below, or you can find it here.

#CILIPnpd12 - Ned Potter

Yesterday I spent the day at CILIP HQ in London, for my second New Professionals Day. I live-tweeted most of the day (apart from when my hands were full with lego or a giant burrito), and as I have recently discovered Storify, I am going to post a few Storifys of my tweets from the day rather than writing it all out again in a big old blog post. Here's the first bit, Ned Potter's opening keynote speech (if the embed doesn't show up, the link to my Storify is here).

Monday, 7 May 2012

#CPD23 strikes again

By fatllama on Flickr

We are repeating the 23 Things for Professional Development programme for those who missed out or didn't finish last year. This first 2 Things (creating your own blog, and investigating other people's blogs) went up on the CPD23 blog today, and an updated version of my post on current awareness tools will go up on the 21st May.

I'm not going to participate properly this time around as I'll need to concentrate on my MA dissertation over this summer. However I've really enjoyed looking at people's blogs as everyone has been signing up and writing their first CPD23 posts. As always I tend to be drawn in initially by the blog name (e.g. Dewey Decibelle, Cat(andClass)woman and Veggie Haggis) and I always like to be nosey and read blog posts by people I know (including the ever brilliant Boolean Berry and equally excellent Rosie Hare). It's great that so many people who took part last year are having a second go now (for instance dpgreen and SoldierMumLibby), as well as having totally new blogs to explore (such as Cup of Tea & a Scone and Of Libraries, Cataloguing and Things). There are some really great blogs on the list, so if you haven't yet, take a look at the Delicious list and see for yourself.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Virtuoso Skills for Music Enquiries

I recently went on an excellent training course run by Amelie Roper and Clemens Gresser. The course was on resources for dealing with music enquiries, and I learnt about a whole load of resources I had never come across before. I said to Clemens afterwards that it was the training session I wished I had had when I was an undergraduate music student, as it would have been so incredibly useful to me then. Ah well, now I know about them I'll just have to pass them on to future students to make sure they know more than I did!

Some of the stand out music resources included:
  • Music Index journal database with citation search (hosted by EBSCO, who also host RILM Abstracts of Music Literature and RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, and provide a cross search feature so all three can be searched at the same time) 
  • Cecilia - a database of music collections held in libraries, archives and museums in the UK and Ireland
  • Encore - union catalogue of performing sets in UK libraries
  • Barbican Song Index - "an index to sheet music anthologies of popular, jazz and folk songs, songs from musicals and films, classical songs and opera arias"
A couple of very useful-looking general resources that were mentioned and I hadn't heard of before:
By Luz Adriana Villa A. on Flickr

#LIKE35 - Books, why bother? by Anne Welsh

I've not been able to blog much lately, as unfortunately things like essays, exam revision and job hunting have had to take priority! All my coursework for last term was handed in last week, and my Professional Awareness exam is over and done with, so I'm going to take the opportunity to have a bit of a blogging session. 

Last week I went into London for a LIKE event. The speaker was Anne Welsh (who teaches us cataloguing at UCL and has the dubious pleasure of being my dissertation supervisor!). Her topic was 'Books, Why Bother?', exploring why we bother with books when there are now cheaper, quicker and easier ways to publish our ideas. Anne's first book, Practical Cataloguing: AACR, RDA and MARC21, co-authored with Sue Batley, has just been published (and is selling like mad by the sound of it!)
From the quick show of hands at the start, a very large proportion of the group had written a blog, about half had written a journal article, fewer had written a peer-reviewed journal article, and one or two had written books (but several more would like to write a book in the future).

When there are so many other methods of communication, why bother to write a book? Seth Godin, in his blog post Why write a book states:
If you've never written a non-fiction book, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to. It organizes your thoughts. It's a big project worthy of your attention.
I don't think anyone would argue that a book is a big project (Anne's has taken over two years, mainly due to changes in RDA!), however writing for other formats would help to structure your thoughts just, so why a book in particular?

A major incentive for writing a book is that it establishes you as an expert in your field. Springer's website has a section on Why write a book?, where they argue that "A book serves as a kind of business card: it helps define your reputation in your chosen field." I didn't know this before, but there is no recognition for writing textbooks in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) - as a good textbook will be consolidating existing research, it is not a piece of original research. This is bad news for academics, but good news for others, as it means there is a gap in the market for practitioners to write this kind of book.

However as a lecturer, Anne wanted her students to have a resource that reflected her teaching. Anne pointed out that if the lecturer has problems with the text they are using, it makes it more difficult to communicate to students. The current "cataloguing bible", Essential Cataloguing by John Bowman, is most likely not going to be updated, as RDA is such a major change and John is now retired. Therefore part of Anne's motivation was to write her own textbook, as a resource for both UCL students, and students on other library courses that do not teach cataloguing.

With this particular book, there was also the desire to represent UK cataloguing, as most publications on the topic of RDA are being written by Americans and a few Canadians. Anne has written about RDA on her blog, and there is a lot of RDA stuff out there on the web, however Anne sees the content on her blog as more embrionic, a way to test the water for new ideas, whereas the process of writing a book is different, it is a way to make meaning - to make sense of the new standards and present this information in a way that could help others to make their own sense of it. Having a published book also serves as a benchmark in teaching history, providing unequivocal proof for future scholars that this was how this subject was being taught in 2012, in a way that shifting, evolving content on the web could not. 

Moving on from reasons for writing a book, to the actual experience of doing so, Anne pointed out that making the move from blogging to writing a book could very easily be a lonely experience. When blogging, you get comments and feedback very quickly, and so it is fairly easy to know your audience. The production cycle of a book is so long, that it is important to get feedback as you go along. The cataloguing community is a very strong one, so Anne had lots of people available to get feedback from and remind her of her audience (a novel experience for one friend apparently, who protested that their entire career structure was based on being completely ignored by everyone!).

Finally we came back to format again, with some discussion about e-books. Anne quoted a US study where 80 students were given Kindles preloaded with electronic versions of texts, and were later surveyed. 72% of the participants preferred the electronic version over print. However it is unclear to what extent the provision of the preloaded Kindles was a factor, if they had to buy the device themselves and download the texts this might have changed the outcome significantly. In surveys my library has conducted for instance, students are nowhere near this enthusiastic about e-books!

It all depends on the subject I suppose, some things will be more appropriate as a book, and other things would be better suited to being published and freely available online. I'm not exactly someone who needs convincing that books are still worth bothering about, but found the talk very interesting and entertaining nevertheless!