Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Monday, 31 October 2011

Composition competition

Hot off the Twittersphere!
The Strad

Fancy writing some music for Hilary Hahn? She wants a new piece to complete her encores project. Anyone can submit a work to her website, and she'll pick a winner after the contest closes on 15 March 2012.  Click here.
Also posted on Whittaker Live's Awards, Grants, Prizes page.

Historic Musical Instruments

'Whittaker' was trying to identify an instrument the other day. He still hasn't sourced what's in his mind's eye, although it appears to be some kind of wooden whistle, in C.

However, he does now know what a mid-19th century flageolet looks like. And what a weird beast it is!

Music Treasures on
Where can you see historic instruments?

Poetry, anyone?

The Scottish Poetry Library advises us that Poetry Issues for November is live now! 

  • New Poetry Titles, contemporary war poetry for your Remembrance Day projects, T S Eliot shortlist and other goodies.
  • Also - help with feedback on National Poetry Day (Scotland) postcards and resources, to be in with a chance of winning £100 to spend on books.
  • Read Poetry Issues
  • Scottish Poetry Library’s National Poetry Day resources
  • Subscribe to monthly mailing of Poetry Issues here. 

Research seminars: music

Royal Musical Association (RMA)

Events of the Scottish Chapter of the RMA can be viewed here.

Research seminars: theatre

Theatre Studies Research Seminars at the University of Glasgow, 2011 – 2012 : ALL WELCOME!

(Information kindly forwarded by Dr Simon Murray, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow)

Wednesday 16th November at 5.15, Seminar Room 208, 2 University Gardens.   Dr Kate Dossett, University of Leeds: Our Actors May Become Our Emancipators: Race & Realism in 1930’s American Political Theatre.
 Kate Dossett will talk about 1930s political theatre and, in particular, a production of a labor-race play, Stevedore. Performed in New York in 1934, Stevedore is pre-Federal Theatre, but has important implications for leftist and black theatre debates about realism, empathy, and how best to rouse the masses to action. It was also performed by 'Negro' Units of the Federal Theatre a couple of years later.
Thursday 1st December at 5.15, Room 408 in the Gilmorehill Centre, home of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and Centre for Cultural Policy Research. Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer on the Guardian: Newspapers, criticism and the web: reviewing the arts in the Twitter age
Until very recently, only newspapers had the means to publish and distribute arts criticism widely, cheaply and quickly. But what happens when the old “authority” of newspapers crumbles in the face of self-publishing on the web? Is there still a place for professional critics? Charlotte Higgins surveys the current scene.
Thursday 19th January, at 5.15, Room 408 in the Gilmorehill Centre, home of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and Centre for Cultural Policy Research. Alexander Weigel: Theatre in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.
Alexander Weigel is a dramaturg and author. He studied history in Leipzig and worked as assistant director and assistant dramaturg in Rostock and Greifswald before joining the prestigious Deutsches Theater Berlin as a dramaturg. Weigel remained in this role from 1964 to 2001 and worked with some of the leading playwrights, directors and actors of the time: Heiner Mueller, Adolf Dresen, J├╝rgen Gosch and Matthias Langhoff. Weigel edited the programme notes of the Deutsches Theater, organised events such as rehearsed readings and lectures in the theatre, and curated a number of exhibitions. Since retiring from the theatre has worked as a freelance author, editor and lecturer.
Thursday 9th February at 5.15, Room 408 in the Gilmorehill Centre, home of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and Centre for Cultural Policy Research.  Dr Katie Gough, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow: Between the Image and Anthropology: Theatrical Lessons From Aby Warburg's 'Nymph’.
In this talk Katie Gough will reconsider Richard Schechner’s “Restoration of Behaviour” by rewinding the clock to a time that predates the film technology that animates this paradigm. In doing so, she will consider the still image whose movements animate an analogical performance paradigm that the late art historian, Aby Warburg, began to theorize in the 1890s: a paradigm he called the “Pathos Formula,” and conceptualized around the figure of woman in movement who he referred to as “Nympha.” In considering Warburg’s theories as an antecedent to the Restoration of Behaviour, Katie will explore the ways that the invocation of film strips (“strips of behaviour”) as culturally neutral inflected performance studies from the outset with a gendering that has been reified, reflected and contested ever since.
Thursday 8th March at 5.15, Room 408 in the Gilmorehill Centre, home of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and Centre for Cultural Policy Research.  Dr Laura Bissell, Lecturer in Theatre  Studies, University of Glasgow: The Female Cyborg as Grotesque in Performance
Intermedial artist Julia Bardsley’s performance Aftermaths: a Tear in the Meat of Vision is an example of contemporary performance that makes the connection between historical female hybrids and current ones. By using Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the grotesque and feminist responses to this, alongside ideas expounded in Donna Haraway’s ‘Cyborg Manifesto’, Laura will explore the similarities between female bodies that have been rendered hybrid historically through the grotesque and the contemporary figure of the cyborg.
Thursday 3rd May at 5.15, Room 408 in the Gilmorehill Centre, home of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and Centre for Cultural Policy Research.  Professor Hans-Thies Lehmann, Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Kent and Professor of Theater Studies, Goethe-University, Frankfurt:  Postdramatic Tragedy without drama?
Hans-Thies Lehmann, author of Postdramatic Theatre (Routledge 2006), will discuss two texts which seem to have a "tragic" theme at their heart and are nonetheless nowhere similar to dramatic "tragedy". How are we to think of the notions of tragic drama and tragedy in these cases? How does the notion of 'performance' fit into this problem? Hans-Thies Lehmann will discuss texts by Heiner Mueller, Wolokolamsker Chaussee Part 1 (The Road of Tanks, "Russian Opening", translated by Marc van Henning; and Sarah Kane, 4.48 Psychosis.
Lee Hall, playwright and theatre director, author/script writer for Billy Elliott, Spoonface Steinberg and The Pitman Painters, has agreed to talk at one of our seminars in 2012. Dates and further details to be confirmed.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Role of Research Supervisors in Information Literacy - RIN report

Not to be missed by supervisors of research students, the latest report from the Research Information Network was released this month, October 2011:-

A Research Information Network report October 2011

The link takes you to a pdf of this report.  However, the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has also requested hard copies to add to Library stock.  Research supervisor colleagues - watch this space!

NB you can get direct notification of such reports by signing up to the RIN In your Inbox Newsletter here.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Royal Academy of Music gets mentioned in Poppletonian

The Times Higher Education magazine has a tongue-in-cheek back page "newsletter" called The Poppletonian.

Readers will be interested to learn that the Royal Academy of Music made it into the hallowed pages of The Poppletonian last week (20th October 2011).

Nothing in The Poppletonian is to be taken seriously! 

Integrated Broadside Ballads Archive

News from JISC - an award to the University of Oxford for integrating ballad materials:-
Integrated Broadside Ballads Archive, Alexandra Franklin, University of Oxford, £145,244
•The University of Oxford will integrate existing resources for the study of the English folk song and printed ballad tradition. Resources to be clustered are: a corpus of nearly 30,000 ballads, many of them unique survivals, printed between the 16th and 20th centuries, in Bodleian Library collections; nearly 5,000 largely pre-1700 ballads from the University of California’s online resource; and the Roud Broadside and Folk Tune Indexes, comprehensive indexes of the song tradition and references to songs, based at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

Current awareness - not just a bee in library bonnets!

We call it current awareness, and we're quite hot on it.  But if you have research interests, it's something that'll concern you too.  (Even if you didn't know there was a name for it!)

So - how do you keep abreast of developments and publications in your subject?  Current awareness!

What to do?

If you only follow a few journals, you can generally set up electronic alerts via your online access.  (Ask your subject librarian if you have any queries about institutional logins.)

Much more comprehensive, though, are the electronic alert systems that do it all for you.  The main ones are Zetoc and TicTocs.  (TOC = Table of Contents.  Easy!)  Zetoc is a British Library service, whilst TicTocs is coordinated by JISC.

Zetoc  (sign-up involves identifying your institution from a list.)
Welcome to Zetoc. We are one of the world’s most comprehensive research databases, giving you access to over 28,000 journals, 45 million article citations and conference papers through the British Library’s electronic table of contents.

Keeping pace with your peers, staying up to date with new research, and expanding your field of knowledge has never been so simple. We make it easy for you to set-up personalised email Zetoc Alerts or RSS feeds to track the latest articles or journal titles related to your interests. In most cases, you can access abstracts or the full text of articles, depending on your institution’s subscription arrangements.

Our service is free for members of JISC-sponsored UK higher and further education institutions, research councils. Among our subscribers are NHS organisations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and a number of other institutions are also eligible to subscribe.
TicTocs (sign-up just involves giving your email address.)
  • Search for 1000s of Journal TOC - Table of Contents RSS feeds by Title, Subject or Publisher in a dedicated, simple to use interface;
  • Select and View TOCs from your search results, export citations or link to full text and you decide the next step;
  • Save or Export: Save your TOCs in your ticTOCs account or export them to a feed reader of your choice. 
  • Search LESS, get MORE, stay CURRENT.
Be like a scientist - find out what's been published straight away. Stay sharp, stay ahead of the game! Please do ask your subject librarian if you need further advice.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Home again ...

Scottish clans regularly have gatherings and homecoming events.  For example, Skye had a special event this summer, and next year there's one for Clan Maclean in Mull:-

Thinking of homecoming, reminds us of the recent Homecoming Scotland in 2009.  Was it really two years ago?  Following on from Homecoming Scotland 2009, the  Scottish Government is building on this initiative with further celebrations.  2012 is the Year of Creative Scotland.  Watch this space.

Still thinking of homecomings, on this day, 23 October 1815, Highland song-collector Alexander Campbell arrived back in Edinburgh after his 3-month trip round the Hebrides.  Despite his Highland ancestry, Edinburgh was home.  He published his Albyn's Anthology collections  in 1816 and 1818. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

The ever-attentive Whittaker

'Whittaker' has been - well, attentive, this week.  There's been a lot of listening and looking going on:-
  • In the Metropolis - 'Whittaker' attended RMA Council meeting (and left Glasgow crazily early enough to see the John Martin exhibition at the Tate Britain)
  • On the Twittersphere - Whittaker spotted new research linking literacy with musicality (blogged it on WhittakerLive, naturally!)
  • In the press - Whittaker flagged up an interesting film exhibition (blogged that on WhittakerLive, too)
  • In person - I've been making it easier to retrieve CDs of electronic music by doing extra subject indexing
  • In person - I've been explaining how to upload articles onto Moodle for class use
  • In person - I've been discussing how to help students develop their research skills
  • In person - wasn't the lunchtime concert fab today?!
- But seriously, Information Services do listen, and we do take on board what our readers say.  So if you need help sourcing information or doing something nifty with Moodle, please do come and ask us!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New repository search engine

THE (Times Higher Education) magazine has reported a new search engine, just developed by the Open University.  CORE has been developed to allow researchers "to search all of the papers held in the UK's 142 open-access repositories".

Try it out here:-

Reviewed by JURN (a Wordpress blog about such things), it didn't get spectacular results.  They suggest comparing CORE with OpenDoar, a search engine developed by Nottingham University.  (Whittaker tried searching for Scottish Song Collectors.  OpenDoar was very successful.  CORE? No score at all!)

But don't take someone else's word for it - have a go yourself!

Matter of reel life and death: THE reviews Film at Tate Modern

In the THE (Times Higher Education) this week - a review of a digital cinema exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.  (Nearest underground: Pimlico.)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Musicality link with literacy - breaking news

Musical Aptitude Relates to Reading Ability

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2011) — Auditory working memory and attention, for example the ability to hear and then remember instructions while completing a task, are a necessary part of musical ability. But musical ability is also related to verbal memory and literacy in childhood.

 In the news today - musicality is linked with high literacy levels, scientists say.  ScienceDaily posting begins:-

New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions shows how auditory working memory and musical aptitude are intrinsically related to reading ability, and provides a biological basis for this link.
Or read it in eScienceNews

Scottish Storytelling Festival

Scottish International Storytelling Festival
kicks off on Friday 21st October 2011!  

Let slip the moorings and enter a tide of stories, music, dance and's to the journey. 
You can call the the Centre's box office on 0131 556 9579 and Festival events can be booked online via The Hub, where Scottish Storytelling Centre staff will be happy to help with bookings or enquiries.   

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Why Whittaker Blogs

‘Whittaker’ had a few days of leave carried over from last year’s entitlement, so he’s taking a long weekend. But will ‘his’ readers survive without him? For anyone chancing upon this page, here are a few random but carefully-weighed comments.

So, why does Whittaker blog? To borrow Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”:-

  • This blog is intended to inform staff and students of the performing arts.
  • It aims to flag up useful and interesting websites, forthcoming events, new or rare library acquisitions, services offered by the library, and other sources of information, study, research or career support.
  • Thus, this week it has offered readers details of a research symposium; old Scottish musicians and song collectors William Motherwell, William Tytler and Alexander Campbell; an arts and humanities streaming workshop; a Steve Reich 75th birthday competition; British Library Postgraduate Open Days; thoughts about a research query on the Lordship of the Isles; and the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Nothing if not varied!
  • Our staff and students are musicians, actors, community arts animateurs, stage designers, film and television directors, jazz improvisers and ballet dancers, to name but a few.
  • ‘Whittaker’ keeps a weather eye for interesting trends coming up on the Twitter scene, but ‘he’ will not be found on Facebook, as ‘he’ doesn’t care to discuss his private life on social media websites.  This is a professional blog.
  • Meanwhile, the combination of upcoming cultural and information trends, with intriguing historical facts pertaining to old Scottish song collections, can be attributed to Whittaker’s own dual-qualified background in library & information science and musicology. He does try to seek out drama, film/television and ballet snippets, but depends on his informants to feed him interesting titbits in these spheres.
  • The author of Whittaker does also occasionally contribute to other blogs such as TheThesisWhisperer, lurks around Twitter’s #PhDchat on Wednesday evenings, and authors the Music blog in 'his' spare time, to keep in touch with the world of research and offer support to those following him along the doctoral path.
If you like what you read here, please do comment. Any suggestions are always considered with an open mind.

The Postgraduate Researcher Symposium

Conversations about the Doctoral Experience
1st November 2011

The British Library Conference Centre, London

For details of this most interesting event, visit

More Scottish history - 13th October

On this day ...

Ballad and song-collector William Motherwell was born in Glasgow on 13th October 1797.  To be fair, he was rather more interested in the words than the tunes.  But he did work with the musician R. A. Smith, and enlisted Andrew Blaikie to do some of his song-collecting for him.

Actually, Motherwell is a hugely important name in this field.  Mary Ellen Brown's book, William Motherwell's Cultural Politics is a fascinating read.

So find out more - what are you waiting for?! 
What's in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Whittaker Library on Motherwell?  Three items.  Brown's book, and two editions of Motherwell's book, Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern.  Get details here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Know your Scottish musical history! On this day, 12th October 1711

William Tytler, Scottish music historian, was born in Edinburgh on 12th October 1711. 

Followers of the WhittakerLive blog will already know about Tytler, of course.  'Whittaker' blogged about him when it was the anniversary of his death on 12th September.  (He died in 1792.)  Remind yourself who he was here.

Also on this date, but many years later, the Scottish song-collector Alexander Campbell was beginning to head home after 3 months of hard toil gathering Hebridean traditional songs.  On 12th October 1815, Sandy arrived in Broadford Bay on 'a heavenly morning' to see fishing boats on a perfectly calm sea.  He admired the morning view before making his way by ferry to Glenelg, where he was going to interview Lieut. Donald MacCrimmon, 'the celebrated performer on the Great Highland Bagpipe'.  He spent the day with MacCrimmon and his family, enjoyed hearing his playing and discussing piping, and then had a night in the pub with Alexander Bruce, the Piper of Glenelg, continuing to increase his knowledge of the manner by which pipers were trained.
  • Why not look up "MacCrimmon" in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Library catalogue? - look here.

Steve Reich 75th Birthday Competition

Steve Reich's 75th birthday

Win Goodies from Boosey & Hawkes - follow this link.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

British Library open days for postgraduates

National Postgraduate Open Days
November 2011 - February 2012

The National Postgraduate Open Days are specially tailored days of talks, workshops and networking opportunities at the Library, focusing on your research subject. Each day includes a general introduction to relevant research sources, curator talks and workshops, and details on how to get a Reader Pass. To ensure the days are accessible to research postgraduates from across the UK, students from outside London may apply for a limited number of £30 travel bursaries.

The days are extremely popular, so early booking is advised. The days are free to attend and lunch is provided.

Find out more and book your place online at:

Monday, 10 October 2011

Lordship of the Isles

A student query set 'Whittaker' thinking.  What reliable info can be quickly sourced?

Be careful when Googling for info.  Sometimes you wonder how impartial a website might be.  If there are adverts totally disconnected with the subject-matter, or references to the author being a member of various web-circles, you are right to be wary.

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Being promoted at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh: click here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Larry Spivack - Quartet for paper bags

No kidding - it's a real published piece, and here's the proof -  Score just donated to the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Contemporary French Music

Have you heard of the Musique Contemporaine portal? It's the French gateway to contemporary music resources.  There are pages in French and English:-
How does Whittaker find all these useful links? Well, this was suggested by a French visitor, who was in Glasgow on an IAMIC exchange this week - the International Association of Music Information Centres.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Jazz award

Find out more on our Awards, Grants, Prizes page here, now!

Thursday 6th October 2011 is Digital Archives Day

There's a Day of Digital Archives blog - see it here.  'Whittaker' wants to know more, on your behalf!

(Tweet #digitalArchivesDay to follow this thread.)

We blogged our namechange celebrations

So if you'd like to see an informal digital archive of the first month in the life of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, look here:-

Early Music Online - 16th century editions digitised and free!

Many of the British Library's rare or unique 16th-century music editions are now freely available online, thanks to a partnership between Royal Holloway, University of London, the British Library and JISC.

Early Music Online                                         

  • The Early Music Online project has digitised from microfilm more than 300 anthologies of printed music from the 16th century.
  • The earliest, a collection printed by Ottaviano Petrucci, dates from 1503
  • Highlights of the collection include church music by Josquin des Prez, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd; drinking-songs from Nuremberg and love-songs from Lyon; lute music from Venice and organ music from Leipzig.
Librarians, musicians, researchers and students from around the world can now access these digitised editions free of charge via:

Royal Holloway's digital repository direct link (showing all the anthologies digitised) is here.

Links to the digitised music have been embedded in the catalogue records in the British Library catalogue, COPAC and the RISM UK database.

Know your Scottish music history : Domenico Corri

On this day …

Domenico Corri was born in Rome, 4th Oct 1746. He came to Scotland and became a music publisher. His Scottish song collection was famous, but that wasn’t his only Scottish-themed publication.

The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has A collection of strathspey reels : with a bass for the violoncello or harpsichord ; most humbly dedicated to Her Grace the Dutchess of Athole by Niel Gow at Dunkeld.  It was published by Corri in (we think) 1792, and it's in our Special Collections.  Details here.
  • Also worth knowing about: Dundee City Library holds the fabulous Wighton Collection of early printed Scottish sources, including books by Corri.  Find out more here.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

VADS - Online Resource for Visual Arts

A library contact tweeted about this collection, which looks potentially very useful to costume and other designers.

For example, the Richard Rutt Collection is a scholar and former bishop's collection relating to knitting patterns.  You can view all the knitting manuals in the Richard Rutt Collection online at Winchester School of Art Library.

Irish Classical Music Pioneers

This Wordpress blog by author Basil Walsh is jam-packed full of useful information about Irish classical music history - including John Stevenson, who was Thomas Moore's arranger. (Whatever Moore achieved with his evocative lyrics, he would not have got the same widespread acclaim without Stevenson's settings.)

Info about Walsh himself:-
About: Basil Walsh
Published Author--19th century opera biographies of Irish born classical musicians and performers. Contributor to The Opera Quarterly, OPERA magazine, Dictionary of Irish Biography, Encyclopedia of Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics and History, History Ireland Magazine, Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland, GROVE music publications etc.

Researchers: YOU are responsible for your career but who else can help?

Useful careers posting.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Awards, Grants, Prizes

WhittakerLive is keen to help performing artists gain the recognition they need and deserve.  Visit our new Awards, Grants, Prizes page here. Today, find out about the Learning on Screen Awards.