Tag Archives: CILIP

CILIP Libraries and Information History Group annual conference

As soon as I saw the call for papers for this conference which was themed “Libraries and the Development of Professional Knowledge” I knew that the Mining Institute should be represented.  After all, it’s the focus of what we were created for back in 1852!

I applied and I was lucky enough to be invited to come and give twenty minutes on the MI and our collections.  It was hard initially to find a focus for a paper which was essentially an introduction but after some discussion with the organisers, I focused it around the men who created the collections and entitled it “In Lasting Remembrance” – a regular phrase from the Annual Reports.  If you would like to see my presentation, the slides are all on Slideshare and I’m also very happy to come and give this paper or versions of it at other events….  It was a lovely opportunity to do some research for myself rather than on a topic dictated by a researcher (recently this has been dust from coke ovens – 3000 pages of it….)

The other papers were very varied and initially I was worried that these papers were far more academic than mine!  Despite this I got a friendly reception from the other speakers and delegates and I hope some of them will call off next time they are in the North East and see it for themselves.  I was lucky that one of the other speakers, Martyn Walker, had not only visited but used our library in the past and he was vociferous in his support for our collections!

I particularly enjoyed John Tiernan’s talk on Librarians of the Mersey District which highlighted firstly how underpaid and undersung public librarians have always been and secondly how early women were involved at a very high level.  His description of their early meetings held in each Library and including a tour to show them off to their colleagues sounded very familiar even today….

The keynote speaker was Anthony Watkinson from CIBER talking about the history of journals and publishing.  I was intrigued to hear about the economics and the “80-20 rule” – only 20% of an academic publishing house’s journals will make any money – the rest will only break even!

I was also really enjoyed hearing Christine Chapman talk about “Building a Natural History Library” with the Willoughby Gardner collection including how they highlighted his collections beyond just supporting the work of the curatorial staff of the museum.

shelves at Pusey HouseThe location in Pusey House was beautiful as you would expect of Oxford, although smaller than I expected.  Our conference room was surrounded by shelves; many of which held boxes which read “miscellaneous pamphlets” – made me feel very at home!  Other elements were similar too – there was a confusing door entry system to rival my own in Newcastle and made me realise how offputting and confusing this must be to outsiders.

 

 

 

After lunch we got the tour of Pusey House including the beautiful Library:

PuseyLibraryWhich still runs on these:

Puseycards(Well, apart from a small selection of titles which have now been added to the main computerised Oxford LMS.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the conference there was the option to go to the pub and chat, however I have to say that I got a better offer from Emma Jones who offered to take us round the Jesus College and see their Fellows Library.  I was very very tired (long trip, IBS plus 2 year old = 4 hours sleep) but I couldn’t resist.  I’m very glad that I went:

Jesus College Library Jesuscollege1  Jesusme

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NAG conference 2015

Conference comes round again so quickly!  September is also a hugely busy time for me with Heritage Open Days happening as well (498 visitors in 3 days since you ask, very good total for us…) plus another CILIP NE conference happening plus a CILIP LIHG conference happening the week after.  Never again will I agree to speak at three conferences in ten days!

NAG conference was additionally stressful in that it was firstly the biggest audience of the three but also, as well as speaking about the Seam Project and our Singer-Songwriter in residence, Gareth Davies-Jones, I was also singing with him.

Back when the Executive Committee had been planning this committee and someone said “ooh, Jennie, didn’t I read about your project in CILIP recently?” and I was destined to give a paper.  We then moved on to talk about the after-dinner entertainment.  We all agreed that the casino had been a great success last year and we wanted to do it again, but we would like to offer something to make it different.

casino table

[Thanks to @HeatherSherman for the casino pic]

So we added Gareth to the after-dinner programme to present some songs from The Seam project.  Now, I was delighted to be able to offer Gareth a (paying) gig, but I could see where this was going…  For the larger gigs as part of the project, Gareth had a backing band and even a choir sometimes but always a harmony singer.  I do sing in choirs and a band, however I do like some rehearsal time which, thanks to other problems and commitments, was a little lacking for this one!  I will admit that at the point where we performed, we had never sang “Practical Coal Mining” through together so I was very relieved that we made it to the end of the track successfully.  We did get to sing through the other songs once before dinner so that made me feel a little better!  I actually really enjoyed doing the Safety lamp song – Stephenson, Clanny and Davy – it’s a lovely harmony line.

I think a song as part of the paper was a great novelty for people – we certainly got some positive tweets about it – and it was certainly the best way to show off what the project achieved!   If you want to see for yourself, Gareth is touring with the Seam this autumn with gigs across the North – from Hett to Heighington and Newcastle to Stockport.  Get a free flavour of the tracks on Soundcloud or buy the CD (all of cover price goes to Library) on eBay!

people with pieces of string linking themOne huge bonus was that once the dinner was over, I could relax and enjoy day 2 of conference with the other delegates with no further pressures.  I really enjoyed Anne Welsh and Jenny Wright’s session on RDA – trying to explain the basics of levels and relationships to us courtesy of many cards and bits of string!  A really interactive workshop which was great.  I was also keen to hear from the Royal College of Surgeons Collections Review Project as it sounded like they were also dealing with a collection which included objects, books, archives and journals.  Their scoring system was really impressive (and detailed) and I could see it was impossible to achieve it in full without dedicated staffing as a project (as they are doing) but that elements of it, particularly in terms of measuring usage of an item, might be something I could take away and introduce into my work life.

 

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DCRM(B) course – In Newcastle thanks to CILIP and the Rare Books and Special Collections Group

A course I really want to do – actually in Newcastle! (1/4/14)

This all started quite a while ago when the CILIP RBSCG tweeted “Where should we run training outside of London?” and I immediately said “NEWCASTLE!” and offered them a barter – free room for free place?  It all took a while to organise, but eventually today it all came together beautifully.  The course was not just full, it was over subscribed so we stretched it to include another two places and it was everything I needed it to cover.

Instead of all of us going down to London, Hugh Cahill came up from Lambeth Palace Library and Iris O’Brien trekked up from the British Library to give us the high speed, idiot’s guide to DCRM(B).  It was designed for cataloguers who use AACR2/MARC already but want to know how to expand their rare books records to be more informative and useful for their users.  Helpfully, for those of us on a low budget (aren’t we all?) DCRM(B) is available free on this website which is a great start – actually being able to access to rules (unlike the RDA Toolkit – far, far out of my budgetary range but that’s a whole separate discussion).

We started with the Objectives and Principles which I hadn’t ever really properly read, I realised.  I had always leapt straight into DCRM(B) with a specific question of “how do I record this awkward element of X early book” rather than looking at the rules as a whole and understanding the ideas behind it.  So I highly recommend reading through those and actually thinking about the end user that you are cataloguing for rather than just cataloguing it for other cataloguers.

Next up was transcription issues (punctuation, 23 letter alphabet and nasty abbreviations).  I feel I need to check my ISBD punctuation crib sheet and ensure that I have all of those correct too.  Luckily, not many of my books are early enough to have the 23 letter alphabet but apparently there’s a helpful conversion table in the rules for those of us who don’t meet it very often.  Again and again came the need to provide multiple versions of the title in 246 to help users find it without knowing the exact title of the copy in your hand.

So into the 245 field: main lessons were

  • all from the title page
  • No abbreviations
  • Can’t omit any of the first 5 words (really, would you want to??)
  • ALL contributors/authors (no rule of three – also gone in RDA which I feel is a good thing)
  • Do not omit titles of nobility (oops…)
  • Don’t add accents which aren’t in the original (even if they would be there in modern French)
  • If the SoR is grammatically linked to the title (i.e. in genitive case) then you can’t move it.
  • If the author is given elsewhere in the book, don’t put in 245c but DO make a 100/700 access point and a note.

Area 2: Edition (250)

Transcribe EVERYTHING and avoid abbreviations.  Even if it takes several sentences.  And an impression may equate to an edition for handpress books so you might need to include that here too.

Area 4: Publication (260)

Full transcription again.  Prefixes, phrases, addresses, sold by.  The lot.  “Printed at the x for the y near z”.  Multiple 260a’s for all those extra place names but try and maintain the order on the page.  That’s MUCH more than I was previously putting so this was probably the steepest learning curve.  Particularly when they added that we should have the whole date in 260c including the days and months if they give it on the original and any “in the year of” or “anno” text as well.

Added Entries (700)

This was probably my biggest shock/change/sinking feeling moment – you need a 700 (ideally!) for everyone involved in the creation of the book.  The publisher.  The bookbinder.  The bookseller.  Eep!  That’s a lot of extra authority records for our system and a lot of extra added entries.  I can see why; it’s a neat idea for someone tracking everything published/sold/bound by a particular person but it’s just a whole new thing for me to do which I have somehow completely missed.

Formats, Signatures and Cancels

Then after the big shock, came the maths and the practical exercise.  Now maths is not my strong point.  Not even basic arithmetic to be honest so this was tricky.  It was all to do with understanding how the book was put together from folded sheets of big paper.  From hearing the explanation I now know that I would have made a lousy printer as I would have definitely got confused and got my text upside down at least once in every form.  Utterly impossible and I now have a lot more sympathy with printer’s errors. 

We folded a sheet to understand how you get folio, quarto and octavo then we looked at signatures.  No, not the sort you do with a pen to write your name (I thought we had skipped quickly on to provenance at first…) but the little letters at the bottom of a page.  A1, A2, B2 – that kind of thing.  They’re to help the bookbinder get the pages in the right order when they put all the gathers (folded bits of paper) together and we can describe it on a catalogue record.  I would explain further but I haven’t found superscript on here yet which would make it difficult and I’m not sure I’m the best person to describe it.  Try Gaskell instead if you need to know.  Needless to say this is where the maths came in (turns out I can’t multiple 8 by 7…) but I did understand the underlying principles.  And in the handouts there was a handy chart to check whether the number you think you should have according to the signature matched the number given by the page numbers.  Hurrah, someone else did the maths!

Cancels are new corrected leaves inserted because there was an error.  Look for the stub where the original page was cut out, added hints could be if the page didn’t line up or was different paper with the chain lines going the other way.

Describing

The physical description should include all leaves including unnumbered sequences.  Also keep that end user in mind; people are often more interested in the provenance, annotations, bindings, stamps and shelf marks than they are in the actual main body of text.  After all, they probably got that online already…

300a: Transcribe the page numbering.  Even lower case or capital roman numerals should match the original.  Add “28 plates (1 folded)” type phrases for illustrative plates.
300b:  What’s an illustration?  A major picture.  Not a printers device.  Can also say what the production process of the illustration was (e.g. woodcut) if you know.
300c: height in cm plus (fol.) (4to) (8vo) in brackets afterwards to record the format.

We covered format earlier in the session although I will admit to still not feeling entirely confident with describing that one.  Perhaps with a little more practise and the helpfully provided cribsheet.  Also, it’s not something which has featured in any of our existing catalogue records so I’m not sure I should start including it.  How useful can it really be to a user?  After all, they know the height of the item so it doesn’t tell them anything extra there.  I think I need to be more convinced of it’s usefulness, particularly as it would take me a great deal of time.

Adverts: include the pages of adverts in your 300a if they are integral to the publication, so if they’re the same pagination (fairly obvious and I would have automatically included them in that case anyway personally) or in the same gathering as text or the same signature sequence.  I also add a 650 in house subject heading of “advertisements” thanks to the number of enquiries I have had relating to adverts for things.  It’s quicker in the long run, believe me!

Volumes: Bibliographic vs Physical.  You’re recording how the publisher issued it, not how some Victorian binder thought it should be later on.  So hence you get “3 vols in 5” where they have been split or “8 vols in 4” where they have been merged.

Notes

All the way through the day, both Hugh and Iris said, “and you would add a note about that” and this is where we came to the 500s and all those notes.  So in a whistlestop tour of the 500s we had:

  • Signatures.  Note if considered important – and always for incunables – particularly if your sequence doesn’t match those in the published bibliographies.
  • References (510) – put them in if you have used other sources to provide your info.
  • Subject headings.  Important if the keyword search is limited by archaic terminology and non-standardized spellings.
  • Provenance (561) – give names, what evidence, location in the volume, date (if ascertainable) and relation to the book.  Add 700 headings for any of the people mentioned giving their relationship in 700e and remembering to put in your local library code to show it’s copy specific.  Things like “armorial bookplate of William Marsden on pastedown”.  or “bequest of Mr Smith (booklabel)”. All very helpful if (God-forbid) one of your books gets stolen and you have to prove that it’s that specific copy now on sale down the road….  Good message for senior management: “Good cataloguing is good security”
  • Binding (563) – materials, decoration, fittings, end papers and pastedowns, headbands, date, place, binder’s name, references, repairs.  Quite a long list and don’t forget your local library code again.
  • Other copy specific info (562).  Imperfections/misbindings.  Variants.  Interleaving.  Hand colouring and Bound with (Such as “bound with 17 others, first item is X and spine reads Y”.

DCRM(B) and RDA

The first (very positive) thing Iris had to say about RDA is, you don’t have to do it!  DCRM(B) is a valid standard in it’s own right.  Equally she recognised that many people will be working within institutions which are moving towards RDA and they are working towards DCRM2 which would be a consolidated set of rules (for maps, serials etc as well as books) that would fit in with RDA.  A big job obviously and also hampered by licensing complications as they would like to provide it free online however that’s tricky with copyrighted RDA text.

DCRM(B) only covers the descriptive elements of a catalogue record so you can still happily use RDA access points without calling it a hybrid record.  You can also make hybrid records and there’s some helpful guidance about that here called the BIBCO standard record. It gives the RDA rule number and the MARC code too.  In hybrid records you will follow the transcription rules in DCRM(B) but within an RDA framework so the record must have two 040e’s – dcrmb and rda to show that you’re following two sets of rules.  It means you will have the RDA fields 336, 337 and 338 and you would be using 264 instead of 260 and giving “pages” and “illustrations” in 300.

We finished off with some practical exercises (be warned, if you host one of these you have to find some early example books for everyone to try out their new skills!) and in the process I found out a few new things about items in my collection.  I had no idea, for instance, that one of the plates in my copy of The Natural History of Staffordshire included one plate which was actually a pencil sketch copy of the original – done in 1778.  I had never noticed before!  Clearly shows the importance of checking every plate in a rare book carefully.  I had simply checked that there was something pictorial opposite every page that the index said there was a plate.  Didn’t really look at it any more closely than that.  Seems I now need a 700 entry for the artist (who helpfully signed his work).

So where do I go from here?  I’m planning to revisit my early printed books (which I had to find for course materials anyway so I know where they are) and check that the records are full enough adding more edition, publication information and lots of 700s all round.  Then I will have to look at the Tracts collection and deal with the complications of “bound with” in a major way.  I assume I create one record per item and add a note to say where it physically is.  That seems to be the overriding message – add a note!

 

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CILIP Big Day 2012

My resolution for the day was to try and tweet as well as make notes and listen.  Once I had figured out the wifi of course this was considerably easier (many thanks for @biblioluke for that one – proxy settings can be crucial…)

It was the first time that I’ve watched the tweets simultaneously with the speaker and it was really interesting to see the instant feedback from around the room.  When Ged Bell started speaking about how he valued volunteers in library the tweets were fabulous:

Everyone was unanimous in pointing out the huge number of potential problems in working with volunteers.  Now, may I say now, I am not against working with volunteers.  It would be very difficult in my current post if I was as I have over 110 volunteers on the books, with over 12,000 hours contributed on a voluntary basis last year.  This has all been built up over my six years here so you can see my commitment to our volunteer programme.

What I am very careful to point out however is 3 things:

  1. Volunteers are not free.  They require time, training, leadership, travel expenses and tea and coffee!
  2. All our volunteering is for “added value” projects – additional to what I can achieve as a professional.
  3. The basic functions of the library are not dependent on a volunteer turning up.

Some volunteers are as reliable as a paid member of staff.  Many others are not.  If I was in the same position as many charity shops, where I was dependent on volunteers turning up to be able to open the doors, I would be very worried indeed!

Training time is the other big issue around volunteers.  You can spend up to six hours usually getting them up to speed with the basics they need to know which is great if they go on to stay with you for six years (as some of mine have) but not so helpful if they don’t even manage six further sessions with you.  I can’t ask for a minimum commitment as many of them are jobseeking and obviously, if they get a job (or get put onto a jobcentre training programme…) then they have to leave with very little notice.  People’s lives and availability change.  That’s life in the voluntary sector.

After the controversy (deliberate I think – thanks for stirring Ged!) then Penny Wilkinson went on to talk about the Big Society to continue the theme.  I liked her comments about the importance of having a clarity of focus and a focus on outcomes rather than what you’re actually doing.  Definitely something to think about.  I also liked her thought on considering your ability to make an impact,even if you’re further away from direct contact with the collections and members of the public, you could actually be making a bigger impact on their experience of using your collections.  Her scary comment was “No one should be waiting for the funding tap to turn back on.  This is the new normal.”

Mark Taylor was up next to talk about Digital Access for All.  I was stunned and shocked to hear that only 72% (provisional figures!) of public libraries provide free wifi.  If every Wetherspoons can provide free wifi then I’m sure every library should be able to manage it!

Ann Rossiter had a more inspiring section to add about the Digital Public Library of America project who have the huge goal of making cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available free of charge to all.  In practical terms, this is going to mean a massive mass digitisation programme.   She asked, what about a National Digital Library for the UK?  And why aren’t we at the front, leading the way.  Because if we don’t do it, someone will do it to us – and there will be problems…

Then we had the usual break for refreshments (lovely lunch by the way, not to make non-attendees jealous or anything…) followed by a quick and painless AGM.  I did feel very stupid holding up a piece of card though.  Could we not press electronic buttons?  I was glad membership fees were being held at current rates although I agree with Emma Illingworth and Simon Barron (@SimonXIX) that I would prefer to see rates split above £17,501 for those over £30k and more even.  Higher rate tax payers could be an easy split to make.

We were welcomed back by Lord John Shipley who got a much more positive Twitter response:

Then time for Phil Bradley’s storming “you’re all CILIP!” presidential address.  Very “raise the rafters”, “you’re all advocates” and “lets not just save libraries but develop and improve them”.  It was great to feel inspired to fight, but I’m not quite sure where to start…  He was clear on getting out of your comfort zone and I can see that I need to step away from the nice cosy cataloguing and do that more.  He was also strong on making your library more embedded into your community and reaching the whole community, not just the users you have now, and improving that community.

I will say that, for once, I felt included by his speech – often, as a non-public, non-academic librarian, you can feel like an onlooker when people give “campaign, join together and fight” speeches but I did feel he really made an effort to make it inclusive for everyone, whatever their sector.  So ok, Phil I will do more advocacy – after all, it is also Thing16

The Twitter response (already on a high after Lord John Shipley) went through the roof:

The day closed on a very positive note with Annie Mauger and Phil handing out the Fellowship, Chartership and Certification awards.  By this point, many Tweeters were having phone battery death, but there was still some lovely messages of congratulations.  (It is also tricky to tweet whilst clapping…)

On an even more positive note, there was then free wine, more lovely sandwiches and even more lovely gooey cornflake-rocky road type dark chocolate cake.  Mmm.  And the wine gave me the confidence to do more real-life networking – excellent!  Not that Twitter is the only way to measure these things, but I now have sixteen more followers than I did before so I think that’s a pretty significant increase in my network.

Thank you for a great Big Day Out CILIP and @Toonlibraries!

And I’m counting this as Thing15 for this time around as well…

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CPD 23 Thing #7: Face-to-face networks and professional organisations

When I saw Thing 7, I immediately thought, “well that’s OK for the ones in London!” but no, there was actually a CPD23 meet up in Newcastle last night thanks to Shannon Robalino.  We played “spot the librarian” heading towards the Billards Room of the Town Wall pub (no actual billards table thank goodness – there really wasn’t room…) and ended up with a group of about 12.  Pretty good going for a Thursday night I thought.

It was nice to catch up with some old coursemates from Northumbria from 2006, and meet some new faces as well as putting faces to Twitter names.  We had some interesting conversations, some were even library/CPD23 related!  A good suggestion was a Mining Institute blog with a Twitter feed, as well as my own, highlighting interesting items that come up.  I tried to argue the time factor but Jennifer Clark (e-librarian from Newcastle Libraries) was very persuasive so I think I will give it a go.  I may even be able to get volunteers to write some of the posts…

I do meet up through CILIP events with people fairly regularly.  Even if it’s a topic I’m not initially very interested in, if there’s an NECILIP event then I will go regardless if only for the networking.  And I usually still learn something new and interesting.  Going along to the events meant that I quickly ended up on the committee, but that’s a fairly light workload and was excellent for my Chartership application.  I do enjoy being involved in the discussion stage and arranging events.  I think I will stay a member of CILIP (despite the membership fees) but largely because of the opportunities through branches and groups.  I have to say, that if they close the branches and groups then I would certainly reconsider that decision!

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