Thursday, 28 June 2012

PhD: Practically half-Demented

Hooked on authorship?

My PhD thesis is at the publisher's, about to be moved to editing/production.  All very exciting.  But, I am already wondering what to do next - talk about a glutton for punishment!  Since all the writing manuals tell us to 'write about what you know', I asked myself what I actually did know.  And it occurred to me that what I know very well is how to do a PhD as a mature, part-time student.  I've thrown together a few of my thoughts as a Storify story:-

PhD; Practically half-Demented

Do you think there's any mileage in this?  Please let me have your comments.

Friday, 22 June 2012

1 a.m. on Saturday morning - how sad am I?

Well, Facet Publishing has just posted this at 1 a.m., so I'm not the only sad British librarian lurking on the internet!

I want us to get this book  on user centred learning!

Things 8 and 9: Google Calendar and Evernote

My Choice!

I'm going to write a couple of sentences here, then get on with the day-job!  I must confess I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.  I do use Evernote - I love it.  So that leaves Google Calendar.  I have it on my android, and it's quite useful.  However,  
  • I have my work calendar, which is web-accessible.  And I have the departmental calendar alongside it, ditto.  I use it at work.  I can consult it when I'm elsewhere so long as I have web access.
  • I have my Palm calendar, which goes everywhere with me.  It's not web-accessible.  I can no longer back it up - it's incompatible with the new laptop. But it doesn't really matter.
  • I have the family wall-planner.  There are columns for all five of us.
  • I have the family Excel spreadsheet.
  • And I have the Google calendar on my phone.
  • I really don't want to synchronise my work calendar and my home life!  If I'm at home, please can I get on with being at home?  And if I'm at work, do I have to see my whole family's dental appointments, school trips and other comings and goings? No.  Not my way!
  • In short, I don't want to have any more calendars to worry about, even if I can link them.
Here I shall depart, before I give the impression I'm a grumpy, frumpy old retrograde.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Thing 7: Getting involved professionally

This is an easy "thing" for me to write about, because I've always been professionally involved.

  1. CILIP.  I got chartered (ALA) in the Library Association as soon as I'd put in the requisite amount of experience, and written my professional development report.  Actually, it wasn't nearly as difficult as some people would have you believe, so if anyone reading this is still working towards chartership, then my message to them is, 'Please don't worry about it!'.  I'm happy to be a sounding-board for anyone with any concerns about it.  Anyway, I've been a member ever since, and I also supervised my maternity cover's chartership.  Although it wasn't easy getting away to attend events when I had young children (I only had 3 months' maternity leave after the birth of each child), I tried to keep active at arm's length, and I did write a couple of articles for Personnel Training and Development, in 2001.  I've nearly always subscribed to more groups than the minimum two, though my choices have changed from time to time.  More recently, I submitted my Fellowship application a couple of years ago.
  2. IAML (UK and Irl).  I joined IAML at the same time as I joined CILIP - as a librarianship postgrad at College of Librarianship Wales, Aberystwyth.  Within a year, I was working as a music librarian in South Tyneside, and at that stage I became IAML (UK and Irl)'s Newsletter Editor and Brio Reviews Editor.  This meant trips to London for Exec meetings - which I managed until the kids came along.  If you begin to see a theme emerging, I'm afraid it's that people without children inevitably get more involved in group activities and committees, whilst full-time working mothers with three young children tend to get less involved!  I was Brio Reviews Editor from 1989-1992, but withdrew slightly from involvement in professional organisations while the kids were young; there was a dip in my conference attendances, although I did get away to day-events from time to time.  More recently I've written for the Newsletter and Brio, spoken at a couple of conferences, and written a review and a paper for Fontes (the international organisation).
  3. Locally, I've represented the RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, since our namechange) at SALCTG (Scottish Academic Libraries Cooperative Training Group) for many years, and I've just become Convenor of that group.  It's good to be involved in something local, where you get to meet people with similar interests over an extended period of time. 
  4. For quite a while I also represented RSAMD at the SCURL Disabilities Group, addressing access issues for disabled readers, but the group has disbanded now.  (I gave a paper and published an article for that, too.)
  5. In 2002, I found three nineteenth century Dundonian flute manuscripts after a library refurbishment.  You might ask why I'm mentioning this here: it's because it marked the reawakening of my interest in musicological research.   In one sense, it is coincidental that this marked the start of my youngest son's school career - in another, it's perhaps just as well!  From 2004-9 I studied part-time for a PhD, alongside my full-time job.  This has led to a lot of networking in musicological circles, particularly the Royal Musical Association.  I'm currently on the Council for that, too.  I've attended RMA research students' conferences, and published a paper in the RMA Research Chronicle.  I'm also a member of the international specialist Eighteenth Century Scottish Studies Society - I've written a paper and a couple of book reviews for them, too - and I attend Musica Scotica conferences locally in Glasgow.  More presentations and another published paper.
  6. I now lurk on Twitter, which is a great way of keeping abreast of professional concerns.  More so for librarianship than musicology, I have to say.  Maybe I'm just not following the right Twitter trends.  It's more vital to my day-to-day existence that I keep up with librarianship stuff.  I haven't given up on the research - indeed, I have a book at the publishers' right now - but I earn my daily crust as a librarian.
Sometimes, I feel I haven't made much progress professionally, having been in the same job 24 years.  But looking at this lot, I certainly haven't stagnated.  That's something I can be proud of, I suppose!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Thing 4 reprise (Reflection on Maslow's hierarchy of needs)

'And what kind of a day has everyone had today?', my youngest son asked at tea.  I hadn't anything interesting to tell him.  

Do they still tell you about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, at library school?   At the bottom of the pyramid are the 'fed, clothed and sheltered' needs.  The next level is the need to be safe.  Then to be loved and to belong.  If you've got all that - and I recognise that far too many of humanity haven't got all that - then the next level is the need for esteem, and finally for self-actualization - creativity, and so on.
With grateful thanks to Wikipedia
Well, we all have days when we feel we have made a difference and even been moderately creative.  Today was not one of those days.  I changed classmarks in part of the system invisible to all but my library colleagues.  I reclassified books which are only likely to be read by a tiny minority of our readers. And I withdrew books which have never felt as though they were loved at all!  It felt sadly as though I hadn't made any difference in my organisation.  I hadn't solved any problems, and I certainly hadn't been creative.  In a place jam-packed, indeed STUFFED with creative people, this felt all wrong.

I need another research project, or something extensive to write.  Amusing little limericks, written in my spare time, aren't going to satisfy that need.  With that thought in mind, I'm going to make a cuppa and go read a deep, scholarly book.  Maybe it'll trigger some inspiration - I sadly need it!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Peeping over the Fence (Week 5, Thing 6)

I sneaked a look at next week's 'Thing' and found it was all about networking:-

Week 5 (4th June) - Online Networks

  • Thing 6: Online networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, LISNPN, LATNetwork, CILIP Communities)
Well, that's very handy, because I'm going down south to the Big Smoke at the end of June for a social media event - networking enthusiastically with a new group of people, and I've been asked to blog about it!   (I hope all these lovely new friends won't be looking for a wee Scottish lassie, because I may be wee, but ah'm no' Scottish, and ah'm far tae auld tae be described as a lassie!)

It's the London Information and Knowledge Exchange event on 29th June, and you can find out more about it here: the event and its blog.

As it happens, I network in lots of different circles, but the first two networks listed in Thing 6 are not my preferred ones.  And I have yet to look at LISPN and LATNetwork.  I'm not over-keen on LinkedIn - people contact you wanting to link up with you, even when you can see that your working lives are unlikely ever to intersect.  And onceLinkedIn have got you, it's very hard to remove yourself.  As for Facebook - well, I've chosen to tweet professionally; Facebook is purely for family and a very small, select circle of friends.  I don't use it professionally at all.

I'm not going to look at the other networks mentioned above until next week.  However, let me mention that I'm on the Committee of LIHG, the Library and Information History Group (via CILIP), so I participate in their online space.  I'm also a member of IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries - and am signed up to both the UK and international email lists.  As Convenor of SALCTG (Scottish Academic Libraries Cooperative Training Group), I'm in email and blog contact with other members of the steeering group, and as Committee Member of the RMA (Royal Musical Association), I'm in email contact with the rest of that committee, too.

Monday.  Back again.

So, I thought to myself, I'd better investigate LISNPN, and LATnetwork.  Well, it turns out that LISNPN is for new professionals, and I'm afraid I'm not at all new.   I'm heading towards becoming an ancient monument, and even if I stop working at 70, I've only got 16 years more to go.   So there's no point in signing up to that one!  As for LATnetwork - yes, I was aware of teach-meets,  but I wasn't aware there was also a website for librarians as teachers.  However, even though this means I've learned something, I am beginning to feel that I'm in enough networks, really.  Although I had intended to attend a teach-meet a few months ago, I wasn't actually free on the day it took place, so I never made it.  This isn't to say that I might not attend another one if it was local and I was free.

After a busy day at work, a couple of computer crashes at home, a discussion with the Man from Orange, and a bit of web-browsing, I've decided to do something traditional now, for a change.  I'm off to put the kettle on and pick up a book.  A real one, with paper pages and ink!