Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

UK Copyright Literacy

If you're concerned about music copyright - maybe you have to teach students the basics, or perhaps you're keen to keep on the right side of the law with an upcoming recording or performance? - then you might be interested in the UK Copyright Literacy website.  
An RCS research network, Claimed From Stationers' Hall, has just had a guest-blog posted on this site.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Name-Dropping (Our New CDs)

Cool Things!

Cool Owl (sorry, Twittaker!)
Today, we've added a fine handful of CDs to our library stock!  A CD by our composition lecturer Alistair MacDonald*, another by traditional music lecturer Lori Watson*, a guitar CD by guitar lecturer Matthew McAllister, and a whole handful of CDs by last week's visiting composition lecturer and guitarist, Professor Stephen Goss from the University of Surrey.  The CDs' pictures won't show up on our rolling new accessions feature on the catalogue homepage, because they don't have ISBNs.  (Yes, we know, it's a shame!)  However, you can look up the composers' names in our catalogue and see what we've got.  We're quite excited to have so much interesting new material all in the same week.

*Alistair's CD is entitled, Untold Story and was made with Anne-Liis Poll - it's the fruit of 5 years of performances and recordings of improvised voice and live electronics in Scotland, Estonia and Iceland. Cover art by artist Shona Barr, liner notes by composer and wordsmith Nick Virgo, published by Leo Records.

 Lori's Yarrow Acoustic Sessions is available via her website,

And there's a YouTube film about Matthew McAllister's latest album, American Collection!
Owl in Residence: Twittaker

Thursday, 15 February 2018

PhD Research Placements - Opportunity to work with the British Library

This opportunity was circulated on a musicology mailing list. Some of our students may be considering PhDs, and maybe this might be of interest. Sadly, we got notice of it rather close to the deadline (19th February), so you would need to be quick off the mark!

British Library PhD Research Placements: Call for Applications

Our PhD research placement scheme is intended to provide opportunities for PhD students to apply and enhance research, communications and analytical skills and expertise outside of Higher Education as part of their wider research training and professional development.

A PhD research placement at the British Library provides the chance to experience research in a different environment to that of a university, to engage with a range of research users and audiences, to gain insights into different potential postdoctoral career paths, and to make a tangible contribution to the purposes and programmes of a national library and major cultural organisation.

Current opportunities

A broad range of research placement opportunities have been identified by the Library for 2018-19 (click on the links below to view placement project profiles)

• Afrikaans literature
• Investigating Anne McLaren’s Notebooks • Art, Poetry and Politics – Contemporary British Artists’ Books • Exploring music archives of 20th-century British composers • Unlocking Charles I’s Vision of Rome • Exploring our ‘Endangered Archives’ Projects in Africa • First World War French posters • Examining the role of internal engagement and communications in the British Library • Visualising a future for Midland Road and Euston Road • North American Migrant Narratives • Playbills in context: linked open data for historical playbills • Policy development with the British Library • Political cartoons in India in the 1930s and 1940s • Virus checking in long-term digital collection management and digital preservation • William Blake at the British Library • Telling the Stories of the Treasures of the British Library

The application deadline is 4pm on 19 February 2018

• Open to all PhD students, as long as they have the support of their PhD supervisor and their Graduate Tutor (or equivalent)
• International students are eligible if they have the right to study in the UK
The British Library PhD research placement scheme has been developed in consultation with UK Research Funders, universities and Doctoral Training Partnerships.

The research placements offered through the scheme are opportunities for current PhD students to apply and enhance research skills and expertise outside of Higher Education as part of their wider research training and professional development. They are training and development opportunities to be undertaken within this specific context – and are therefore different to the paid internships or other fixed-term posts that the Library may occasionally make available. See the Application Guidelines for further details and background.
Please note that – unlike for an internship or a fixed-term post – the British Library is unable to provide stipends or payment to PhD placement students. It is therefore essential that applicants to the placement scheme obtain the support of their PhD supervisor and Graduate Tutor (or someone in an equivalent senior academic management role) in advance and that, as part of their process, they consult their HEI to ascertain what funding is available to support them.

After the interview stage, students who have been offered a placement and are not able to cover the costs through funding from their university or other sources may apply to the Library’s PhD Placement Travel Fund to request help to cover day-to-day commuting expenses or one-off relocation travel costs only. Please note that this Fund is limited and the success of an application to it cannot be guaranteed.

To support self-funded and part-time students, most placements can be done on a part-time basis, with some remote working also sometimes possible – see the individual projects for details.

Any questions?
Contact for all queries or to be added to our placement scheme mailing list.

Librarian Leading AHRC Research Network

One of our librarians is Principal Investigator for the Claimed From Stationers Hall music research network, which is funded by the AHRC.  It's about Georgian and early Victorian music deposited in libraries around the country under legal deposit legislation. 

If you're interested to see what the research network is doing, here's a link to their blog:- 


Here's a great conducting competition - we've just been notified of the call for applications

Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition

The competition is 20-22 November, but the deadline for applications is 20 April, so ... time to get your skates on!

Friday, 9 February 2018


Occasionally, students find music that has been heavily marked by a previous borrower.  This can cause some distress.  Not to mention the books themselves becoming distressed, we might add!
A scribble too far!
This week, we've been alerted to an ink-marked piano score, a spine-broken musical theatre score literally scribbled over in pencil, a trumpet score with quite intriguing annotations in the piano part ... and then, to cap it all, a flattened Sanpellegrino bottle foil inside some trombone music.  We know trombones require lubricant, but clearly the trombonist did, too.  At least it was non-alcoholic.

Broken, the score died inwardly
 The library mascot stepped in to help.  With Valentine's Day coming up, "Love our scores!" is just a gentle reminder that everyone gets longer benefit from our music if it's kept clean and unmarked.  We totally understand the odd pencil-marking, but equally, we appreciate if it's rubbed out before the score is returned to the library!  (And please, no ink markings at all.)

Monday, 29 January 2018

First Find Your Literature! Writing an Essay the Organised Way ...

Don't panic!
Keep calm and just search
We thought we'd share a blogpost we wrote last year about finding useful literature online.  It might help you source just the right articles etc for your essay assignment.  But don't leave it too late - writing takes time, and you also need time to sort out your referencing and bibliography!

Ready?  Source those e-resources!

And don't forget - the library staff are happy to help, too.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Fellowship for a Composer at the University of Oxford

Have you seen details of the forthcoming Bodleian composer fellowship?  If you're a composer wondering about that vital "next step", then you could hardly find a better one!  

Pianist Needed! New Carter Larsen Repertoire to Sample

Recently, we were given six handsomely bound volumes of piano music by Carter Larsen, along with two CD recordings of his music.  The composer claims influences by Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt, amongst others. At first glance, some pieces seem to resemble Liszt - others resemble Einaudi.  But we haven't ventured out of the library to try them out on a piano!

So, if any of our students or teachers are up for trying out a very large amount of music by a prolific but comparatively unknown contemporary composer, please come and ask to see these new donations!  They'll hit the shelves within the next couple of days.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Masterclass Online Resource

Here's an American commercial online resource featuring key people in the arts, sport, culture and food giving their professional advice in a workshop setting.  You can explore classes at your own pace with the on-demand videos and workbooks.

"The general consensus among critics is that while the classes do not teach technical skills to improve proficiency in the craft, they provide insight into the grueling nature of artistic pursuits and striving for perfection while inspiring a love of the craft". Wikipedia.

It's based on a one user - one subscription (no library subscription). There are some excellent classes here, that you might want to explore.

Click below to access:

Masterclass workshops online

New Online Resource on British Theatre

Theatre Voice is an online audio - and some video - resource about British theatre, and features journalists from across the UK press and practitioners from across the theatre industry. It was set up in 2003 to see if theatre could be talked about in a new way: allowing critics to be more expansive than the usual space constraints of the print media allowed; to enable actors, writers, directors and designers to be heard talking in detail and at length about their work; and to help members of the public interact more directly with theatre-makers and commentators.

Click link below to take you there:

Theatre Voice

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Go Pro! Find Literature for your Essay Using These Simple Tips

Essay?  Giving you a Headache?!

If you’re looking for material for an essay, the first place you’ll think of is the library catalogue. Some topics just seem tricky to search for!  Read the question carefully and rephrase it for yourself. Turn it round and examine what you're actually being asked for.  Then ask yourself how you're going to answer the question!

Here are some professional searching tips to give you a better chance:-


  1. Search everything! Don’t forget that the Catalogue Plus option searches all our electronic resources as well as all the books that we have in the library. Before you start searching, check the Catalogue Plus button.  
  2. Use the tricks of the trade. You need to be a bit canny to find the best stuff. For example, a Catalogue Plus search like this is a good start:  "Collaborative improvisation" AND jazz - using "quotation marks" keeps the words together in your search, and using the AND in block capitals tells the search that this phrase AND the word jazz must be in any results that it retrieves.  These techniques help with any kind of essay, jazz or classical, teaching or traditional music.
  3. Go Advanced. You can refine your search even more after that, by using the Advanced Search function. It lets you eliminate resources that you don’t want to search, and makes your results more useful. (For example, results found in RILM are often only summaries, not entire articles or books. So you can choose not to search in RILM.)
  4. If you find Catalogue Plus a bit mind-boggling, go to the catalogue home page and click on the link on the right-hand side for E-Resources.  Our e-resources include Oxford Music Online and JSTOR, and they'll both have lots of info to help you.
  5. Do come and see us in the library if you need help. Once you’ve tried a few times, you’ll soon get the hang of it.  The catalogue link again?