Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 10 August 2018

Spotting Fake News

Here's a quick story!  Once upon a time there was an English musician who studied in Italy in his youth and ended up in Scotland. Two hundred years later, there are scores  by both the English-turned-Scotsman, and by his Italian tutor, in a university library.  

End of story. Shame, isn't it?!

Did you imagine the Brit might have deposited not only his own books but also the tutor's publications in the library?  Or did someone else deposit (or decide to keep) the Brit's books in the library because he was a popular composer?  Or did the Brit's copies of the Italian's scores end up in the secondhand market and then find their way to the library later?  There could be a wonderful detective story in this!

Before you make any assumptions, look at the evidence.  At the moment, the only verifiable truths in this story are in the first paragraph above.  No documents have, or can yet, be cited as evidence - all the rest is guesswork. Music wasn't taught in universities for several decades after the Brit died, and there's nothing to suggest he had any other involvement with the university. He was a music teacher and composer, not a scientist, lawyer or theologian.

So the moral of the tale? Don't jump to conclusions.  Check your facts.  And make sure you reference any reliable sources for the evidence you do have! 

Spotting Fake News (be a good scholar) on Biteable.

Monday, 6 August 2018

RCS staff and students - set up alerts for new journal articles etc

Learn to set up online alerts on Biteable.

Recent research showed that students like to find out more about online resources available to them, but - crucially - they like to learn in small, bite-sized chunks, and they particularly like animated videos.  Biteable offers a good solution - conveniently short videos, which don't take too long to customise.

So, even if you only have a few minutes while waiting for a train, or in between family commitments, you can still learn something new that might be useful for your coursework!  This one tells you about setting up email alerts to newly published journal articles on your chosen topic.  Nifty, eh?

Friday, 3 August 2018

Writing a Research Proposal

Faced with writing a research proposal for the first time, it's easy to feel apprehensive.  This blogpost is not intended to replace any advice you're given by teaching staff, but we can offer a few helpful general comments.  

We realise you could be contemplating research on a vast variety of topics, from many different disciplines.  Our students here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are creative artists in some aspect of music, drama, dance, film or television, and much of our research is practice-based.  (This may be very different from the research that a scientist, mathematician, lawyer or linguist might undertake!)

An Outline for a Practice-Based Research Project Proposal

The following outline was recommended for a recent RCS Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching.  Candidates were advised to aim for a proposal with a word-length of about 1000 words:-
  1. Overview
  2. Research Context
  3. Professional Aims
  4. Research Question/Questions
  5. Methodology
  6. Outcomes
 Check with teaching staff to see if there are particular things they're looking out for.  Also, see if you should write it in the first person (eg, "I propose to find out ...") or the more formal third person (eg, "It is proposed to establish...".)   Perhaps you can find a doctoral student or recent PhD graduate willing to show you how they wrote their own research proposal.

Books and Articles about Writing a Research Proposal

Your library has plenty of literature to help you with your task.  Maybe you just want to be sure that you haven't missed out something vital.  Or need a bit more guidance about structuring your report. Start with the library catalogue.   

Catalogue or Catalogue Plus?

  1. You can search books and e-books in the simple catalogue search-box
  2. Or you can click the "Search Catalogue Plus" button BENEATH the search box, and then type in your search-terms. This will search all the online resources that we subscribe to.

Typing words in the search-box can be made more efficient by using some clever search tricks. Here's how we did our initial search:-

Writing AND "Research proposal"

Combining terms with AND is a good way of ensuring relevant results.  Also, if you want words to be adjacent or very close together, quotation marks do the trick.  Here, we've combined two different concepts. You don't just want to read someone else's "research proposal" - you want to know about writing your own. Try the above search-string in the Catalogue, and then using Catalogue Plus - you'll see how many more results you can get with Catalogue Plus!

Another good search to try is this one (in fact, you might find enough here in a simple library catalogue search, to answer all your initial questions!) :-

Research methodology


Combining search terms

By the way, typing the word AND in block capitals is one of three search strategies that work in this way.  There's also OR, where you would be happy with either of two or more terms.  Lastly, you can exclude concepts with NOT.  This is useful if you know you do not want to retrieve material on a particular sub-category.  (AND, OR and NOT are called Boolean operators.  Too much information?!)

Happy searching, and happy research proposal writing! Good luck!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

HOW many women composed music in the Georgian era?!

Have you visited the Claimed From Stationers' Hall music research network website recently?  Anyone would think it was all about women, when they look at the blog today – a big list of Georgian-era women composers has just been uploaded.  They might only have written a couple of pieces, or in some cases, perhaps they weren’t as much authors as arrangers, but there are a surprising number of women contributors, nonetheless! 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Honouring one of the greatest Human Rights Proponents - Martin Luther King

Fifty Years after Martin Luther King was Assassinated

We've recently received an email from Drama Online promoting a powerful play imagining what could have happened in the room where Martin Luther King was assassinated.    Maybe you'd be interested to listen to it?  If you're a student or member of staff at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, then you're in luck - we're subscribers!

"Katori Hall's powerful play The Mountaintop imagines what could have transpired inside room 306 of the now-famous Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated after delivering his final, prophetic "Mountaintop" speech."

"This month, we're honoring the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death by making The Mountaintop free to read and listen to."

Remember, off-site access requires you to use the Shibboleth process – identify RCS from a list of institutions BEFORE attempting to use your own login.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Veera Lapinski wins Elaine Campbell Gullan Poetry Competition

Theme: Blue Planet

Last Friday evening, the Whittaker Library hosted the 2018 Elaine Campbell Gullan Poetry Competition. Here is the winner, Veera Lapinski, with the judge, Iain Lowson. Vera not only performed but also wrote her winning poem.  Many congratulations, Veera!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Early Spanish Sound Recordings: Cultural attitudes to the Phonograph

A new blogpost on the Claimed From Stationers' Hall website considers legal deposit of sound recordings in Spain. Read it here:-

The Wonders of the Spanish Legal Deposit, by Glasgow University music lecturer, Dr Eva Moreda Rodriguez.

Bantock's letters to Scottish composer William Francis Stuart Wallace - a talk at NLS

Attend a talk by Professor Michael Allis, from the University of Leeds.  The National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall presents Granville Bantock’s Letters to Wallace, 1893-1900.

Thursday, 28 June 2018 at National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Eventbrite - National Library of Scotland 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

2nd Berliner International Music Competition

We received another email about a competition that will interest our performers.  But you'll have to be quick!  This is your final reminder!

Deadline: 15th of June

Recitals at Berlin Philharmonie, 

Berliner Online Music Competition

2nd Berliner International Music Competition
Piano - Strings - Voice - Winds - Brass

Online Competition (No travelling)
Recitals at Berlin Philharmonie
Over 25,000€ in prizes
Audio and video recording

VIDEO SELECTION - Travelling is not required to apply

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Piano Pedagogy - Learn Like Emily Bronte

Did you know that you can look at historical piano teaching materials in the libraries that hold legal deposit collections?  Nowadays, there are a handful of big national and university libraries in the UK that still receive one copy of everything published, under statutory legislation.  But there are other libraries - especially in Scotland - that also received this material, until the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign.

Theodore Latour was pianist to King George IV - Victoria's uncle.  He taught, played and composed, and also wrote some piano tutor books.  See a quick 90-second videoclip about him, here.

It's possible to find copies of some of Latour's works online via Google Books, IMSLP or, so if you're interested, we could help you source them.

And yes, Emily Bronte had music by Latour in her collection.  How do we know?  There's a book by Robert K. Wallace that tells us so!  (Emily Bronte and Beethoven: Romantic Equilibrium in Fiction and Music).  We don't have this book, but could get it on inter library loan if any of our readers were interested.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Enter the 2nd Berlin International Music Festival

We received an email about this music festival today.  You have three weeks to the deadline. Better get busy with that application!

2nd Berliner International Music Competition

  • Piano - Strings - Voice - Winds - Brass
  • Online Competition (No travelling)
  • Recitals at Berlin Philharmonie
  • Over 25,000€ in prizes
  • Audio and video recording
  • Deadline: June 15
VIDEO SELECTION – Traveling is not required to apply

The 2nd Berliner International Music Competition

is open until June 15 (DEADLINE).