Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 22 September 2017

Twittaker's Whittaker Library Update

The final day of our RCS staff Learning and Teaching Conference saw a variety of updates from different departments. Information Services took their turn after lunch. We thought we'd just share with our readers some of the library highlights.

The All-Singing,All-Dancing Catalogue

We have a shiny new catalogue! Catherine demonstrated it, and showed colleagues the magnificent capabilities of Catalogue Plus, which searches online resources as well as books, music and other resources on shelves. It has to be said that the catalogue now looks much better - but the differences may take a little getting used to, so please do ask for help if you can't find something that you were sure is in stock!

We'd also like to remind Conservatoire students and colleagues about the library's Portal pages - find us under Information Services – you'll find library guides, copyright info, referencing, effective learning guides, offsite access guides, and more.

Help with introducing suitable online resources

Whittaker Library staff do library tours (orientation), and talk to first years about catalogue and e-resources. In both cases, we can only give a quick overview, to avoid information overload. Little and often is better than one big demo and then no more. We're very happy to offer more help at point of need eg first assignment, first essay etc. Ask us! 

Pedagogically – we're happy to do demos, but we also embrace active or collaborative learning. For example, we're happy to meet classes in an IT lab, or devise paired exercises looking up learning resources on students' own mobile devices. And we’re open to suggestions for other ways of getting info across in a flipped classroom kind of way.

Referencing - The Effective Learning team is available three times a week, Tues 12-2, Weds 12-2 and Fri 4-6). The team's very useful handouts are on Portal – on the library pages. Additionally, the librarians are happy to help with referencing queries if the Effective Learning team aren’t around. We can talk about referencing to individuals or groups as required. Ask us!

Bibliographic Citation Software - A WARNING!  Have you been collecting your references on the RefMe software?  It was easy and accessible to use, so lots of people adopted it.  However, not long ago, it was absorbed into CiteThisForMe.  Now, the choice is this: pay a subscription, or you can only keep your references for one week. And then it's gone.  [Pause to let that sink in - it's a scary thought!]

Mendeley and Zotero are reliable and long-established resources, and you can use them for free.  RCS students and colleagues are welcome to speak to us if you'd like help getting started.

Subject Queries -  The library has three Performing Arts Librarians, with different specialisms. Please do get in touch directly or send a message to if you have a general query.

Manchester Percussionist Jan Bradley Launches Website

The Whittaker Library has just received notification of a new percussion website, launched by Jan Bradley. The website contains information about all his music for percussion (and other instruments).  He tells us that,

"The launch of this website coincides with the publishing of a number of works, some which I wrote for my percussion quartet 4-MALITY, which have not been available before now."
Why not take a look?  An easy website address to remember,

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Learning and Teaching Conference - Keep the Inspiration Flowing!

Colleagues at our RCS Learning and Teaching Conference - now you're inspired and fired up to go, why not borrow some of our learning and teaching resources from the library?  Here's what comes up in our catalogue under "Teaching AND Learning" (click here).

And here are a couple of podcasts by the inspirational "Real David Cameron":- 


See JSTOR? You need a MyJSTOR account too! Here's how ...

The Whittaker Library subscribes to the Music package of JSTOR. Sometimes you need to read other articles, though. How to access them, when we don't subscribe to them?  

NOT a problem!  With a free MyJSTOR account, you can read items online.  You can’t download pdfs (but you can make screenshots and save them to a document!).

This is a VERY quick YouTube telling people how to set up a MyJSTOR account.  


Monday, 18 September 2017

Music at Boarding School? We have unique insights!

Karen wrote a blogpost for the Eighteenth-Century Arts Research Network (EAERN) website, about the music borrowed from St Andrews University LIbrary by one particular borrower and her daughters in the early nineteenth century. You've read Vanity Fair?  Now read about the musical habits of real people in a small university town!

Mrs Bertram's Music Borrowing: Reading Between the Lines

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Our New Library Catalogue - Test Your Knowledge!

Welcome to our new library catalogue. We hope you'll enjoy exploring it! Here's a chance to test your knowledge ...

Some of the following statements are correct, but not all of them. Which are which?

  • The catalogue has all music, recordings, books and e-books
  • Catalogue Plus finds all electronic journal articles, database entries (eg Oxford Music), and streamed music (eg Naxos)
  • All books in the library have been digitised and the catalogue will find anything inside them.
  • Someone else in the department collates all our reading lists.
  • RCS teachers can give their reading lists to the librarians, to be uploaded on the library system.
  • My fairy godmother deals with my reading lists.
Clue:- There are three truths, and three untruths!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

RCS Alumnus Simon McKerrell edits collection of essays on Music as Multimodal Discourse

Simon McKerrell studied for his PhD here at RCS some years ago, so we were delighted to see he is rapidly building up an admirable series of publications.

The Whittaker Library has just ordered one of his recent books!  You can read the opening chapter of Music as Multimodal Discourse on his blog, here:-

It won't be long before our staff and students can read the whole thing - keep an eye on our library catalogue's new books display, here:- (scroll down)

Have You Come Across the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog?

Stephanie Arsoska is a theatre maker and facilitator living in Scotland. She is currently studying towards an MEd in Teaching and Learning in the Performing Arts at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland.  We were excited to find that she has published a blogpost for the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog; it's great to see our performing artists producing quality written work for all to see, so we thought we'd share the link here, too:-
"Training as a Ground for Creating Community", by Stephanie Arsoska, 4 Sept.2017

Monday, 4 September 2017

Is your Orchestra in the Association of British Orchestras? An Opportunity ...

 Orchestral Manager? Or Similar ...

We have just heard about a career development opportunity for some lucky people working with ABO orchestras.  If you're in that happy position, read on ... but hurry! 
"Find Your Way - apply now!

Applications are now open for Find Your Way, an annual programme of sector-specific mentoring and placements for senior and emerging managers in ABO member organisations.

The ABO is looking for 6 participants who have ambitions for orchestral leadership. You should have at least five years’ paid work experience in the orchestral/classical music/arts sector. In the cohort of 6 there will also be one place for an orchestral musician who has aspirations to develop their career in management.

For further details and to apply click here. The deadline for applications is Monday 18 September."
If you would like to know more about ABO, please visit the ABO website, here:- 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Traditional Music Forum invite you to a Consultation, 14 October 2017

Trad Music Education - A New Approach

There's a Traditional Music Forum meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday 14th October.  It's a consultation about building a 'framework for good practice, quality assurance, professional development or career-long learning opportunities'.  (Quoting from an article in Box and Fiddle magazine, September 2017, p.19.)

Click on the link above to visit the Eventbrite booking site!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Women in Jazz (or not) - a Conversation

In the UK edition of the online magazine, The Conversation, there's an article which asks, "Why is there so little space for women in jazz music?"  The author is Cat Hope, from Monash University.  Read the article here...

Were You Born Before or After 1984? Why it (Might) Make a Difference

The educationalist Marc Prensky wrote an influential article in 2001, suggesting that people born after 1984 are the generation of digital natives, and their approach to learning and multitasking are different.  This has been hotly debated ever since!

Now two more educationalists, Paul A. Kirschner and Pedro De Bruyckere, are suggesting Prensky got it all wrong.

We can't access Kirschner and De Bruyckere's whole article, but a summary in gives a useful overview of the arguments.  Take a look here ...

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Discovery Layer - our Latest Library Buzzword

Twittaker at the Whittaker Library Catalogue
We have a new catalogue system in the Whittaker Library.  This one's a great advance on the old one, because you can look for online resources actually *in the catalogue*.  The software that makes this all possible is called a "discovery layer".  So we looked for a colleague's scholarly article, and lo and behold! there it was, without having to go and look on a different website.
Where's the article? Why, here it is! Ace!

Of course, this really opens up our resources for students and colleagues when they're offsite, because they can check the catalogue and discover lots of electronic resources - articles, database searches, streamed sound and more - which they can access anywhere.

We'll be posting hints and tips to help people get the most out of this very clever new system, so watch this space - and Twitter, of course!  Extra kudos for anyone who asks the staff to demonstrate our new discovery layer ...

Check out the Catalogue!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Good News for Percussionists

Something to bang the drum about!  We subscribe to the Percussion Orchestrations database, and recently got word of a new improvement ...

Percussion Orchestrations

"Percussion Orchestrations is excited to announce the launch of a brand new feature - downloadable PDFs of Timpani and Percussion parts and Full Scores for works in the public domain. We now have PDF parts and scores for over 2000 works, totalling over 25 GB of files, and will be continuing to add more over the coming months. Go to Database Navigation > PDF Parts to arrive at our main PDF parts index page, or view PDFs from the bottom of the page for the work to which they relate."
RCS readers, please note that you can only access this database on site at the Conservatoire; we regret that it isn't accessible off-site.