Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish Collections

National Library of Scotland exhibition:-
'Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish collections'

"See Shakespearean treasures and explore what Shakespeare has meant in Scotland across the centuries. Exhibition runs from 9 December to 29 April.

'Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish collections' tells the stories behind Edinburgh's two world-class Shakespeare collections.

The exhibition explores the lives of a small group who helped bring together these collections of William Shakespeare's plays and other works about the playwright."  Read more ...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Seventeenth century dress patterns

Alan Jones, our Drama Librarian, has been shopping in London.

I'm so excited about this book, I almost want to rush home and get my scissors out!   A new book on Seventeenth century dress patterns - probably compulsory reading for our costume designers.

More about it on Amazon.

Teaching, Improvising, and the Record Industry

New books in the Whittaker Library today:-
If you want to keep up-to-date on what comes into the library, there's a new link on our catalogue homepage, updated daily.  (It's the pink New additions to the catalogue box.)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Early Music History 30th anniversary special edition

The journal, Early Music History, has reached its 30th anniversary.  A special issue has been produced to commemorate this, and it contains the editor's choice of memorable articles. 

Direct access from within the Royal Conservatoire building. Institutional login from outwith the premises. (Conservatoire staff and students can identify us from a list of institutions, then use their normal Conservatoire login.)

  • Any of our students interested in the question of PITCH in early music will be keen to read this one:-

Susan Rankin - 'On the treatment of pitch in early music writing' ( Susan Rankin (2011). Early Music History, 30 , pp 105-175 doi:10.1017/S0261127911000039

Whittaker's round-up

Lots of useful snippets have drifted into Whittaker's net of late.  So, here's Whittaker's round-up:-
  • Teach faster, Write more (article by Susanne Morgan, for research support website Academic Ladder's February ezine)
  • Pseuds' corner (identifying bad books - a THE article by Daniel Melia, 9 February 2012)
  • Writing for peer-reviewed journals (strategies for getting published): forthcoming book by Pat Thomson and Barbara Kamler (Royal Conservatoire researchers - should we order this?)
  • Re-skilling for research: a report from RLUK
  • 201 years ago, 26 February 1811.  Yesterday (Sunday) was the anniversary of the death of James Johnson, instigator and publisher of the Scots Musical Museum. Genuinely a major contribution to Scottish song performers, collectors, scholars and aficionados.  He collaborated with Robert Burns for his seriously big-time, six-volume collection.  A worthy candidate for our "On this day" series of Scottish musical history facts.
  • Postgraduate course in Arts management (Vienna)
  • Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace Festival at the Scottish Storytelling Centre this week.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

On this day: Finlay Dun, one of Scotland's forgotten musical heroes

On this day (24th February, 1794)

On this day, Finlay Dun was born in Aberdeen – his father was a dancing teacher.  Dun played fiddle for his Dad’s dance lessons. 
He was also involved in some of the best-known and most popular Scottish song collections of the mid-nineteenth century.

See what we have here in the Whittaker Library.  And there are more books by Dun in other academic libraries – check Copac.  Notably, Dun arranged a famous collection of Scottish songs for Lady Carolina Nairne;  also a Gaelic song collection; moreover, he was involved in arranging a collection of pipe-tunes, and writing a scholarly introduction for Dauney’s Ancient Scottish Melodies.  And entertained Mendelssohn when he came on his Scottish tour (cue the Hebrides Overture!)
  Dun arranged everything for piano, with or without voice.  (You value your iPod now – the piano was as covetable then.)

Why does it matter?  Because it’s interesting to see the Scottish music that people were buying, playing and enjoying 150 years ago.

Margins Book and Music Festival 2012

Books from Scotland:
Margins Book and Music Festival
This weekend

Margins Books and Music festival is organised by the people behind Cargo Publishing and Octavius and Gutter magazines.

Want to know what else is on this weekend?  Visit the festival websiteHear Roddy Woomble, Alasdair, and lots more Scottish writers.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Imitation or Innovation, asks pianist Alisdair Hogarth

On the Linn blog, this jazz piano discussion has just been posted:-

Alisdair Hogarth: Imitation or Innovation?

Innosight's Michael Horn on How 'Blended Learning' and Technology Can Bridge the Education Gap

This interesting article came up on the Twittersphere today:

Innosight's Michael Horn on How 'Blended Learning' and Technology Can Bridge the Education Gap

Don't lecture me: how students learn (an article on

    "Don’t Lecture Me: Rethinking How College Students Learn
"At the star-studded Harvard Initiative on Learning and Teaching (HILT) event earlier this month, where professors gathered to discuss innovative strategies for learning and teaching, Harvard’s professor Eric Mazur gave a talk on the benefits of practicing peer instruction in class, rather than the traditional lecture. The idea is getting traction. Here’s more about the practice [...]" 
Visit the KQED website to read this article
February 20, 2012  - article by  Emily Hanford, American RadioWorks

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)? Yes, we've got something for that!

Image from, with thanks.
Catering for our readers' every need, our subscription to SCRAN enables you to see recipes for pancakes from as long ago as 1782! Use your institutional login if you're not on the Royal Conservatoire premises.

You can also hear an archival English Pancake Song, via BL Sounds. Use the Institutional login (red box, right-hand side of the screen).

Or you could just go to the BBC Food website, I suppose ... or buy a Morrison's Basics packet ... happy Pancake Day. (Shrove Tuesday, for the traditionalists amongst us!)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Explore the British Library

  • Searching for books on a subject?
  • Compiling a bibliography? 

If you're writing up an essay, you'll already have a list of books and articles consulted.  But maybe you're scoping a subject before you begin a project?  Or you want to be sure you've got your bibliographic details correctly cited?

  1. See what we have in the Whittaker Library - paper and electronic resources. Search our catalogue here.
  2. Take a look at COPAC or the British Library catalogue.  COPAC lets you compare all the British university and national libraries, and Trinity College Dublin's library.  The British Library catalogue is just for their own materials, but it's great for checking different editions and just generally finding out what's out there.  There's a new link to the British Library this year.  Save it to your favourites, and to your Diigo account, so you can access it any time you want.

Ruin lust: our love affair with decaying buildings

No, I haven't gone off my trolley! Followers of this blog will recall last week's posting alerting you to a Patter blogpost about reading widely and expanding your mind.

Read beyond your subject boundaries, Patter advises.  Go to exhibitions.  See what thoughts are triggered by unexpected connections.

So here is my suggestion: read Brian Dillon's article in the Guardian newspaper (Friday, 17th February 2012).  It's all about a London photographic exhibition, featuring atmospheric, thought-provoking photos of decayed Detroit.  Deserted stations, libraries, offices ... you'll find hyperlinks to some of the photos in the book which prompted the exhibition.

  • Why do we love ruins?  (Which makes me ask, why are we fascinated by early music?  by minstrels and bards?  by paintings and poets from the Romantic era?  by Gothic novels?)
You get my drift!  Go on - read it!

Friday, 17 February 2012

On this day: poet James Macpherson

How many drama students have encountered the 18th-century play, Douglas, by John Home?

James Macpherson
Home is also famed (and blamed) for encouraging poet James Macpherson to produce his Ossian epic verses. 

If you've ever lived in a street or a house named Ossian, Fingal, Oscar, Ullin, Malvina, Cona ... (the list goes on, but I'll stop there), then blame Macpherson.  His Works of Ossian were a careful weaving together of Gaelic tales, with a good bit of his own poetic creativity thrown in.  He was one of the most controversial figures of 18th century Scotland.  And he inspired many creative artists, Europe wide - eg, Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave ('The Hebrides overture', op.26).

Macpherson died on 17 February 1796 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Calling all Playwrights

Applications invited for the George Devine Award 2012.
More here on the Paines Plough blog.

Paines Plough describes itself as the National Theatre for New Plays.
"Paines Plough is a touring theatre company, specialising exclusively in commissioning and producing new plays. Visit our website."

Whittaker will also log this award on our Awards, Competitions, Prizes page, so you can come back to it later.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Career choices

Anyone contemplating a career in music librarianship might be interested to follow this link to a traineeship in Cambridge:-
"Vacancy for a graduate trainee at Christ’s College Cambridge (fixed term, one-year contract):

Whilst the collection covers all subjects taught at undergraduate level, it includes a significant collection of sheet music and scores together with a small music hire library.

Closing date: 12 noon, Friday 2 March 2012."

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Fanfare! British Trombone Society CD released

And now in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Whittaker Library. Find out more here.

FifeSing 2012

Peter Shepheard advises:

The FifeSing website is updated with Booking Form in place.  The Brochure will be available to download within a day or so. If you would like a printed brochure sent by post, let Peter know.
Go to the webpage for full details:

Robert Sutherland and Maria Callas - sellout colloquium

Robert Sutherland last night addressed a packed colloquium of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students and staff, talking about his work with Maria Callas in her final years from 1973-1977.  Recordings and video illustrated his talk.

Naturally, the Whittaker Library holds a copy of his book, Maria Callas: Diaries of a Friendship.   (As 'Whittaker' was keen to point out at the end of the colloquium!)  And it was borrowed within a mere THREE MINUTES of the event ending.  Students or staff of the Royal Conservatoire can place a reservation to borrow it.  Or pick up one of our other books about Callas.

There's no need to panic, though.  We have digitally streamed recordings through our Classical Music Library and Naxos Music Library subscriptions.    Search on Maria Callas or Robert Sutherland. (Think smart - look for the Artist listings.)

You can also hear other people's recollections of working with Callas, on British Library Sounds, their archive of recorded sound, to which we also subscribe.

Not forgetting - how could you?  - all the lovely CDs, vinyl LPs and videos in our stock.  Keeping the best of the old media is sometimes a very canny move!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Policy documents for Higher Education (LFHE)

Leadership Foundation for Higher Education
  • Research and development series:-
  • Leading culturally diverse communities in higher education
  • Stimulus papers:-
  • Inequality and higher education: marketplace or social justice?
  • Developing the whole student
  • Collaborations and mergers in HE
These are new arrivals in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  For more details about these or earlier reports in the series, click here.

  • All our books with Equality or Diversity in the title are listed here.

Useful advice for study at any level

Why it is useful to read widely

A new post by "Patter" 

Pat Thomson, Professor of Education, Nottingham University

Friday, 10 February 2012

Library History Essay Prize

The eponymous 'Whittaker' of the Whittaker Library (aka Karen McAulay) published an article about cultural nationalism in national song collections, in Library and Information History journal (2010). 

It has just won Emerald Publishing's 2011 Library History Essay Prize!  More info on the Library and Information History Group blog.

How Jazz can Change your Life

Last week, Whittaker quoted memorable words by Wynton Marsalis, and told you we were buying a book by Marsalis - To a Young Jazz Musician.

Well, that book's on order, but ... yes, we've bought another title by Marsalis, too!

Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Changes your Life

Find it in the Whittaker Library, here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

EDINBURGH CONCERT FOR BRÌDE: Clàrsach, Vocal, Triplepipe & Bagpipe

 Early Celtic Music in Celebration of Candlemas
Clàrsach, Vocal, Triplepipe and Bagpipe Music
 from Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Ann Heymann, Barnaby Brown andTalitha MacKenzie

Saturday 11 February 2012
Doors Open 7.30 PM, Concert begins 8 PM
Columcille Centre
2 Newbattle Terrace, Morningside, Edinburgh EH10 4RT
(Next to the Dominion Cinema)

Not only, but also ...

Clàrsach Workshop with Ann Heymann
Sunday 12 February 1-5 PM

Tea, Coffee and Homebaking provided by The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company

Concert Tickets: £10/£8 ~ Workshop Tickets: £10/£8
Combined Weekend Ticket: £15/£12

For more information: 0131 446 0723 ~

Promote YT - jobs

Fantastic opportunities (and great for the CV) at Promote YT - Promoting and developing Youth Theatre in Scotland.

  •  Chairperson, Board of Directors
  • Director, Board of Directors 

Whittaker's Round-up

'Whittaker' has been writing, this week.  While he was away from his desk, lots of news items came flooding in.  Do spare a minute to take a look!

The future of the British Film Industry, by Andrew Dixon on the Creative Scotland blog.
Elgar Society Website Eases Access to Resources
Musicians, researchers, teachers and concert promoters benefit from on-line library : Access to resources and archives supporting the rich legacy of Sir Edward Elgar has just become easier with the launch of the new Elgar Society website at
Two copyright myths exposed by the UK Copyright Service (Why not check all ten myths here?!):-
I can legally copy 10% without it being infringement
This is not the case. Unless it is explicitly allowed under fair use or fair dealing rules, any unauthorised use of copyright work can potentially lead to legal action.
When using quotes or extracts, there is no magic figure or percentage that can be applied as each case must be viewed on its own merit. In cases that have come to trial what is clear is that it is the perceived importance of the copied content rather than simply the quantity that counts.
Our advice would always be to seek permission before you use the work of others
It’s OK to use copy or publish other peoples work if I don't make any money out of it
No, except in specific circumstances permitted under fair dealing/fair use rules, any copying or publication without the consent of the copyright owner is an infringement, and you could face legal action.
If the use has a financial impact on the copyright owner, (i.e. lost sales), then you could also face a claim for damages to reclaim lost revenue and royalties.
Thanks to Lucy Robertson, Performance Librarian, for these useful copyright tips.

Postdoc? Magnificent job opportunity @ Edinburgh

Humanities and Social Science

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh, a global top 20 University located in one of the world`s fine cities, is making a major investment in the future of its academic staff with the appointment of prestigious tenure-track Fellowships across all disciplines. These 5-year Fellowships are intended to support outstanding candidates at the start of their independent academic career. Up to 100 positions are available.

A Chancellor`s Fellow will already show the ability to conduct world-leading research and exhibit clear potential to become an international leader in their discipline ...

Appointment will normally be made on the Lecturer scale (£36,862 - £44,016), dependent on experience ...
Salary Scale: £36,862 - £44,016

Please quote vacancy reference: 3015150JW
More info

Monday, 6 February 2012

Charles Dickens 200th Birthday 7th February 2012

Tuesday 7th February is Dickens's 200th birthday!

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has a special link with Dickens - he gave an inaugural speech here, when we were starting out as The Glasgow Athenaeum.  Here's how it begins - contact our new Archives Officer, Stuart Harris-Logan, if you'd like to find out more:-
Let me begin by endeavouring to convey to you the assurance that not even the warmth of your reception can possibly exceed, in simple earnestness, the cordiality of the feeling with which I come amongst you. This beautiful scene and your generous greeting would naturally awaken, under any circumstances, no common feeling within me; but when I connect them with the high purpose of this brilliant assembly when I regard it as an educational example and encouragement to the rest of Scotland when I regard it no less as a recognition on the part of everybody here of the right, indisputable and inalienable, of all those who are actively engaged in the work and business of life to elevate and improve themselves so far as in them lies, by all good means I feel as if I stand here to swear brotherhood to all the young men in Glasgow; and I may say to all the young women in Glasgow; being unfortunately in no position to take any tenderer vows upon myself and as if we were pledged from this time henceforth to make common cause together in one of the most laudable and worthy of human objects.

The address was given in the City Halls on the evening of 28 December 1847.  Here is a link to a coloured drawing of the event penned by William Simpson, which is now held by Glasgow Museums.

Search the Whittaker Library for materials about/by Charles Dickens: here.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 8th February 2012


Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Gareth Williams talks

Gareth Williams talks about his new work for Scottish Opera's Opera Highlights 2012 - Audiofile.

For more info, see below:-
  • Scottish Opera News
  • STV page about Scottish Opera's appointment of Gareth Williams as first composer in residence.
  • See our Scottish Ephemera file for the recent Classical Music magazine article about Gareth's work (14 January 2012).

UK Scholarly Reading and the Value of Library Resources

Academic libraries are appreciated!

A recent JISC report provides the proof libraries need - scholars and academic staff certainly do value library resources.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Article about Scottish Enlightenment

Found this on today - 

The 'Hotbed of Genius': Edinburgh's literati and the Community of the Scottish Enlightenment

Paper by Julie Danskin, postgraduate at the University of Dundee.  Read it here.

Library Limerick

The purpose of Whittaker Live
Is to help creativity thrive
We provide information
For arts education - 
A digital, library-led drive!

National Libraries Day 2012 @WhittakerLibrary

Morning, folks! It's National Libraries Day.  Celebrate Britain's heritage, hug a librarian, borrow a book/CD/DVD ... Visit your local library (public, college, uni) and tell us why you love us!  

And do buy a Wheesht bag if you're at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Whittaker Library.  (9-4 on Saturdays)

Friday, 3 February 2012

RIN (Research Information Network) becomes Research Information Network

This sounds confusing, but it isn't really!

RIN was a publicly funded research and policy unit.  The initials stood for Research Information Network, and it ran from 2005-2011.  The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland holds a number of RIN's publications - see here

RIN's work is now completed.  As from January 2012, a new community-interest venture was set up.  It, too, is called Research Information Network, but it is NOT the old RIN.

So - RIN ( has become Research Information Network (
More about these developments - click here

Scottish country dancing

Issue 52 of Dance On! has just arrived.

Pia Walker's article, 'Do you want more dancers?' prompts me to pass on a couple of websites:-

  • - an index of clubs and societies.  Could be useful if you're looking for organisations who might offer you a gig!
  • - dance events listings
  • is Dance On's own website.  Not quite up-to-date, but you may find it useful for contact details, etc.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

New in the Whittaker Library

We have now added a search on the Library catalogue for the latest 20 additions to Library stock. This search can be done by clicking on the link called "New additions to the Catalogue" on the pink panel of the catalogue homepage. This will be updated daily, so please check often!

They want you to know

'Whittaker' gets sent information, links, CDs, on a regular basis. It's all because the senders want you, our borrowers, to know what they've got to offer.


  • CMC CD: Contemporary Music from Ireland Vol.10 - the CD was released in December, and we received a free one today. Which will be catalogued very soon ... check the catalogue here
  • We have also received a Knuston Hall programme of courses and events.  Might be of interest to your private pupils, friends or relatives.
  • And a copy of Boosey and Hawkes' Quarternotes newsletter about new releases.  (You can also read about Boosey's composers online, too.  Just click the link)

Composition competitions

Competitions to enter

Lots of composition competitions and other awards on the Contemporary Music Centre Ireland website.  (Especially if you've got Irish connections - in which case, do take a look right now!)

Whittaker will also post this on our Awards, Grants, Prizes page.

Undergraduate research projects

Australian research-support supremo, The Thesis Whisperer, has today posted a piece about undergraduates doing research projects.  What's a turn-off for the average undergraduate?  What are the challenges?

To find out more about these and other aspects of undergraduate research projects, read Undergraduate Baggage?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Box and Fiddle featuring our alumni!

The latest (February 2012) issue of Box and Fiddle magazine is full of our alumni! 

Robert Nairn - Innes Watson - Norrie MacIver

- Do have a look and see who else you can find!

Box and Fiddle magazine isn't completely online, and you won't find whole issues there - but there are earlier digitised articles, all sorted in alphabetical order, and lots of other info - so it's well worth a look.  Give it a try!

The future of publishing?

Are books dead? 
Here's a very, very clever YouTube video from Dorling Kindersley publishers.  Just 90 seconds, but thought-provoking.