Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Would it Help if You Heard your Papers Read to You? Well, You Can!

The Adobe Acrobat "Read out Loud" feature was designed primarily as an accessibility feature, to help readers with visual or other reading impairments. 

You might not even know the facility is there, but it also happens to be a valuable writing tool.  If you hear your work read back to you, you can spot repeated phrases, illogical progressions from one argument to the next, or other irritating sentence structures that just don't sound right. 

Karen explains how it works, HERE.  (It's a pdf for you to practise on!)

We've got a Lot, but there's More ... (What's in a Library?)

We reckon the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Whittaker Library has a great stock.  And remember our invisible resources, too - all the electronic books and journals, databases and streamed sound.  They don't live on shelves, but they're certainly no figment of our imagination!

It's all there on our library website, and there are links from Moodle and Mahara too.

But don't forget - if all that isn't enough, you can look at websites like COPAC to see what books are in all the UK university and national libraries.  If your tutor thinks it's essential for you to read a particular book or journal, or try a piece of music - whether it's just not in stock at the Whittaker Library, or is out of print so we can't get it - then come and ask about Inter Library Loans.

Scottish undergraduates and taught Masters degree students can visit other university libraries in Scotland if they take their matriculation card with them.  You can't borrow, but you can consult for reference purposes.  (Scottish research students and staff have limited borrowing rights too; you need a SCONUL Access card to exercise these rights.)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Communists Occupied Upper Clyde Shipbuilders - Songs of Protest

A Rose Loupt Oot
Poetry and Song Celebrating
the UCS (Upper Clyde Shipbuilders)

We've just got the chance to get a copy of a book about protest songs written on Clydeside in the 'Seventies.  DETAILS HERE.

It has just been catalogued - you'll find it on the new book display very soon!

Singers, there's going to be a new edition of Faure songs! Peters Edition ...

Researchers at the Royal Academy of Music are assisting with a new edition of Faure's
Wikipedia image
100+ songs for Peters Edition publishers.

Eminent pianist Roy Howat is editor.  Read more HERE on the RAM website.

Watch this space.  We'll get them as they come out, and the first copy is on its way to us ...

Friday, 26 September 2014

Read about an Autism-Friendly Circus App (Guardian Culture Professionals Network)

Theatrical and circus performers will be intrigued by this new app, developed by Circus Starr.  It's featured on the latest Guardian Culture Professonals Network blogpost.

"We wanted to produce an app that could somehow capture and convey the essence, magic and unpredictability of circus for a very literal audience. We needed to prepare a child who didn’t like surprises for a show full of surprises … without ruining the surprise", says Circus Starr.
To find out how they did it, you'll need to read the posting!  HERE

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

Eat Cheaply and Well - an Ideal Post for New Students!

We generally try to post about things related to the performing arts, but this was too good to pass by!  (It's an American website, but hey, students live on budgets in the UK, too!)

We Call them Electronic Resources - What's in a Name?

"Where do you keep your E-Resources?"

We talk about "Electronic Resources" and assume our staff and students know what we're talking about.  However, we had a query last year which made us wonder if we're using the right term!  

"Where do you keep your E-Resources?"  

Unpacking the question revealed that this wasn't an enquiry as to where they might be found on our website, but rather, where we physically kept them.  (Right!)

So how should we introduce our electronic resources?  Let's start from the known, move to the unknown.  You use Google. You use Wikipedia.  And IMSLP.  Maybe even Google Scholar and Google Books.  They are all free sources of information.  You don't always know how authoritative they are, or if they retrieve the best information.

Our electronic resources are paid-for, quality sources of information.  We subscribe on our staff and student community's behalf.

Access is via our website, or via our virtual learning network.

  • Website access - click here (scroll down, click on Electronic Resources.  There are also E-Journals.)
  • Our virtual learning network (a bit like the schools Glow network, but just for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) is called Moodle, with a parallel system called Mahara for shared information.  Once you've signed up to Moodle, you'll be able to access the Library's Mahara page - that is where you'll find our Electronic Resources. 

Do You Understand Scotland Musically? (Can You?)

Understanding Scotland Musically

AHRC sponsored two-day conference, 20 - 21st October 2014, Research Beehive, Newcastle University.

With a keynote address from Dr Gary West.
Forthcoming conference in Newcastle, organised by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumnus Simon McKerrell (now an early-career lecturer at the University of Newcastle).

Conference website - click here.

Singers! You've sung Warlock Songs - now celebrate his Anniversary!

120th Anniversary Celebration of Warlock’s Birth

Members of the Peter Warlock Society and their friends are warmly invited
to attend this one day symposium at the British Library.
Saturday 25 October 10am to 5pm

The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a member of the Peter Warlock Society. Staff and students of the Conservatoire - do come and ask us about it!

Friday, 19 September 2014

How old do you think this Recording is? (World's Oldest Mozart Recording)

Europeana Sounds offers some unique archival moments.  We heard today about this, possibly the earliest ever recording of a Mozart aria.  Listen here!
(Our thanks to IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries), for this intriguing link, posted on their weekly news website.)

We are the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  IAML is our professional association.

Did you know about the Theatres At Risk Register?

There are nine theatres at risk, says the Guardian Culture Professionals Network.  This is something that will be of concern to all actors, so we're sharing the link here for you to read:-

If this kind of posting interests you, then consider signing up to Guardian Culture Professionals Network. (It's a favourite haunt of the Whittaker Library's music librarian.)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Harness Your Creativity!

We recently found two useful blogposts about creativity, so - since the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is bursting with creatives, we thought we'd better share these links!
The Whittaker Library has loads of resources, print-based and electronic.  Books, scores, recordings, streamable sound, research databases - you've no idea! Plenty there to ignite your creative spark.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Bumper Crop of E-Resources Free to our Performing Artists

There's a really good selection of digital resources on the Whittaker Library website these days.  Here's our pick of the crop:-

Audio streamed sound and the Alexander Street Press collection

There's a huge range of materials available through the Alexander Street Press MOP (Music Online Premium) collection, and there's more to Naxos than you realised!

Databases for musical topics, essays and research: JSTOR, RILM and Oxford Music

We subscribe to the JSTOR music package: full-text articles from any of the journals in that package, once they've been published for about 3 years.  JSTOR is on our E-resources page.  Click on JSTOR Music Collection to see list of titles.



Clicking on Browse is useful for an overview, or click Search for something specific.  The Advanced Search is great for refining your search.  You can link terms with "And", give alternative terms with "Or", or exclude terms using "Not".  (Eg, you might search for Sibelius AND computer software, or if you're looking for the composer, search Sibelius NOT computer software!)

You can also choose where your search-terms will appear:-
  • If you select ‘abstract’, that means the words will be in the summary and have a better chance of being relevant.    
  •  Or you can say that the words must be in the title.  Different results – it’s very precise search but might find articles that don’t have an abstract.

You can search for all kinds of topics – not just particular composers, but maybe something like reflective practice.  
If you’re looking for full-text articles, you need to select “Content I can access”.  If you’ve got an interdisciplinary query, then it might still be worth doing a wider search. (Our readers can ask the library to try to obtain articles from other journals that we don’t subscribe to.)
  • Here’s something else useful - My JSTOR is a way of storing articles that you’ve found, so you can come back to them later.   
  • And there’s a “shelf” facility where you keep the articles you’re actively reading on your “shelf” for a couple of weeks.  This is over and above the facility to keep citations.  More about My Shelf here:-

View the JSTOR presentation about the database HERE.

RILM - music abstracts

There are big differences between JSTOR and RILM:-  
  • JSTOR is full-text.  We subscribe to the music package, and you’ll find anything but the most recent issues of the journals listed.  You can also look to see what's been written if you're interested in an interdisciplinary topic.
  • RILM is just for musical topics.  It’s an index to the abstracts of journal articles – you get summaries, but you don’t generally get the articles themselves.  (Although RILM says linked full-text is available, this doesn’t mean that we subscribe to the e-journal, so the full-texts links don’t always work!)  If we don’t have the articles in stock, we can try to obtain them for you.  Undergraduates usually find what they need in our own collection until they get to extended projects or dissertations.
  • Advanced Search works much better than Simple Search.  You get more results!
  • RILM is collaborative – core journals are indexed but you can also add your own articles if they haven’t come up via the RILM indexers. This gets them “out there” where people can find them.

OXFORD MUSIC is also known as Grove Music.  The database builds on what was originally Grove Dictionary of Music, but also includes Oxford Dictionary of Music and Oxford Companion to Music.  This means you can choose the amount of info you need.
  • Useful bibliographies.
  • Facility to print out articles.
  • There's a gadget to produce correctly formatted citations (publication details) for essays and articles.
  • Note the Highlight on/off, Print, Email and Cite buttons at the top of the article.  

STREAMED MUSIC - We demonstrated what Alexander Street Press playlists can do for you!


The Learning and Teaching conference session embraced the main subscription databases that are subscribed to via the Whittaker library, including:
  • Digital Theatre Plus -A growing collection of recorded performance of drama, opera & dance with educational background materials. 
  • Dance in Video - 500 hours of dance, covering ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, & improvisational dance. 
  • Drama Online - An online library of 1000+ plays 100+ scholarly works 
  • BUFVC (British Universities Film and Video Council) -A database that can help find previously broadcast TV & Radio programmes. 
  • Stan Winston School of Character Arts -Online training website with the world's finest FX Artists and technicians.

These are only some of our online databases.  We're also thinking about the changing digital expectations of students and how best to address these expectations by using Electronic Resources in your teaching and lesson plans. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Scottish versus English, Folk versus National, Tradition Versus Revival

And NOTHING to do with the referendum!

Karen wrote a blogpost about folk music last night - find it on her own blog, Karen McAulay Teaching Artist.  She has been reading a Faber reprint of a biography of the ardent folk music collector and educator, Cecil Sharp.  It was written by his close associate, Maud Karpeles.

Would you be interested in reading this book?  Royal Conservatoire of Scotland staff and students should contact the Whittaker Library if they're keen!

Watch Opera Online with Digital Theatre Plus

Digital Theatre Plus is a resource that the Whittaker Library subscribes to for the benefit of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland staff and students. Find Digital Theatre Plus on the Whittaker Library website, or via our Mahara pages.

Musicians, don't be fooled by the name - there's opera there, too! These were added in August 2014:-

Three new releases from the Royal Opera House
Three more titles have been added to the Royal Opera House Collection:
Hansel and Gretel
Eugene Onegin
Dido and Aeneas

Could you use Free Online Access to Thousands of Century Old Recordings? La Phonobase

La Phonobase is a French source of free archival recordings.  Well worth a look.

Visit it here:-
La Phonobase

TRANSLATION: La Phonobase offers music historians and enthusiasts alike a new resource of hundreds of pre-1914 recordings, mainly from France. These old sources have been digitised with the most advanced technology, and offer the whole range of different types of music - popular, opera songs and cafe-music. The resource is regularly updated, and enquiries or comments are very welcome.

"La Phonobase - - offre à l'historien, au musicologue, ainsi qu'à tous les publics, la ressource nouvelle de milliers d'enregistrements, réalisés avant 1914, principalement en France. Ces documents anciens sont numérisés avec des moyens techniques avancés. On trouvera représenté l'ensemble des genres musicaux alors les plus en vogue, de l'air d'opéra aux chansons des étoiles du café-concert. La base est enrichie régulièrement. Questions et réflexions sont les bienvenues."

Conservatoire Alumna Alison McNeill is ReelyJiggered

Here's a special date for your diary:-

Oran Mor, 20th Sept. 2014, 7.30 pm.


Alumna Alison McNeill graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a Masters in Performance in 2013. A year on sees her band, Reely Jiggered, launching their album at Oran Mor on 20th September at 7.30 pm.

From the press release:-

"Since winning SoundWave Music Competition at the O2 ABC in January there has been no stopping Scottish Folk Rock Fusion band Reely Jiggered! Their NEW ALBUM entitled KALEIDOSCOPE shows just how versatile these musicians are as they shape shift from one folk tradition to another.
Album Launch Poster A5_TEN GALLON
"such a stunning collection of music by the most talented of musicians. It's a while since I've been so excited about an album that I feel will live forever...." Alan Grant, Celtic Music Radio
"The Album boasts 11 new tracks which take you on a  journey through the streets of Mexico, the salsa clubs of Cuba, the furious fiddling of gypsies, and haunting melodies of Celtic Britain mixed with the soaring voice of a diva soprano, the beauty of acoustic instruments, revved up by driving bass lines, wah wah pedals and rocked up rhythms.

7.30pm Ten Gallon Bratz (Support)
8.30pm Reely Jiggered

Friday, 12 September 2014

Getting to Know the Neighbours: Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art was sadly thrust into the headlines earlier this summer when there was a catastrophic fire at the main GSA building, destroying the iconic Charles Rennie Mackintosh Library.  It was a tragedy, but the local fire brigade were the heroes of the day, saving more than anyone imagined could be saved.  Work is under way both restoring the building and trying to replace some of the priceless books that were in that library.

However, the main GSA Library is in a different building, so that collection was unaffected.  It's a great resource for anyone needing visual inspiration, so will be particularly interesting to our theatrical production community.  If you're an undergraduate or taught postgraduate, you can go and read there but won't be able to borrow books.  (We can arrange inter library loans, though.)  And if you're a research student or member of staff, your SCONUL Access will let you borrow books too. 

In brief:
  • Undergraduates or taught Masters students going to another Scottish Higher Education institution don't need SCONUL Access cards - just their normal matriculation card will get them in for reference purposes.  They do need SCONUL Access cards to go to university libraries beyond Scotland. 
  • And researchers or staff need SCONUL Access cards in order to borrow books.
  • Apply online for SCONUL Access.  The Whittaker Library has to approve your application.  Here's the SCONUL Access website:-
 And you'll need these, too:-

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Costume Making at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Whittaker Library supports our costumiers with a great selection of books and other resources.  Here's a link to all our costume books - a very substantial collection!  Don't hesitate to speak to our library staff if you need help sourcing books about costume-making.  Our Drama and Ballet librarian is in charge of this collection.

Because  our music librarian is a keen dressmaker, she also saves useful web-links on sewing clothes, which we share with you HERE.  See if there's anything that interests you.

Getting to Know the Neighbours: Glasgow University Library

One of the great things about Glasgow is the wide choice of libraries to use.  Staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland have their own Whittaker Library, of course, but sometimes it's good to know you can visit other libraries - public and academic - as well.
  There is a scheme called SCONUL Access which allows researchers and staff to borrow from other university libraries.  If you're an undergraduate or taking a taught Masters degree, you can still use the scheme to use other university libraries for reference, i.e. to consult books within the library but not borrow them.  And that applies to any UK university libraries, not just Glasgow ones, so you could get reading access to one near your family home during vacations, too.

Here's the good bit.  If you're an undergraduate going to another Scottish university of college library, your matriculation card should be enough to get you in without applying for a SCONUL Access card. 

If you're consulting books in a university or college library outside Scotland, or if you're a researcher wanting to borrow books, then you should apply for SCONUL Access online.  Your own Whittaker Library staff have to approve your application.  (Do make sure you haven't got heaps of overdue loans or fines.  We have to guarantee that you're a well-behaved library user!!)

Click here to read about SCONUL Access.  This is a brief excerpt from their website, describing the access agreement:-
"If you are:
  • a member of staff (both academic and support staff) on an open or fixed term contract
  • a postgraduate research student registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification
  • a part-time, distance learning and placement student
  • or a full-time postgraduate
and your university or college is a member of the scheme, you may be able to borrow from other college or university libraries.
If you are
  • a full-time undergraduate student
and your university or college is a member of the scheme, you may be able to use the resources of other college and university libraries for reference."

Glasgow University Library has a huge and very excellent collection, covering all subjects.  Here's their website:-  You can follow them on Twitter @uofglibrary.

We'll introduce you to some other local libraries in future blogposts.   

We are the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, here to serve the information needs of our student and staff performing artists.  Follow us on Twitter @Whittakerlib.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Getting to Know the Neighbours: The Mitchell Library

Wikipedia image of  Mitchell Library, Glasgow, UK.
Well, the Mitchell isn't exactly next-door, but it's certainly good to know about Glasgow's flagship public library.

Mitchell Library website

Musicians, Have You Encountered Grounded Theory?

This is possibly a new term for most musicians, but 'grounded theory' is a research method with origins in sociological scholarship.  Two sociologists (Glaser and Strauss) published a book called, The Discovery of Grounded Theory, in 1967.

More recently, Barry Gibson and Jan Hartman have written, Rediscovering Grounded Theory.  (We won't attempt to describe sociological theories between 1967 and 2014!)

If your research supervisor suggests that you investigate grounded theory, at least the Whittaker Library now has something for you to investigate!  Publication details HERE.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Starting a Music Degree? Here's How to Impress Your Lecturers!

If you're a performing artist, you'll probably be encouraged to keep a reflective diary, logging your progress as a musician or actor.  The Whittaker Library has books to help you develop your diary-keeping skills as a reflective practitioner.

However, there will be essays and topics to research, too.  So take a tip from a librarian: keep a record of everything you read, as well as everything you play.  And in your note-taking, never copy out a quote without noting the page where you found it. Make sure you put inverted commas at the start and end of the quote, then there's no risk of you accidentally using those words without citing who wrote them!  The form of referencing used at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is called the Harvard system.  (Don't worry if you forget the name - you'll be reminded soon enough!)

If you keep a bibliography (list of books read), note the author, title, publication place, publisher and date. Also the edition, if it's not the first.  It's a good idea to keep your list in alphabetical order by author, so you can find things later.  A Word document will do fine!  

If you enjoy downloading apps and freeware, you can even save your bibliography to the cloud so that you can access it from any computer you use.  

Take a look at Mendeley or Zotero - two useful free resources.  They help you control that growing list of references, and assist with formatting the bibliographic details so they're always consistent.  Come and see us if you need a bit of help getting started. Sometimes it's a good idea to annotate your bibliography with any earth-shattering discoveries you made whilst reading.  These apps will offer you a place for making such notes if you think they would help. ("Chapter 8: author describes harmonics in clarinet timbre.  Chapter 10: bagpipes as a martial instrument.")

Congratulations!  You're already well on the way to being one of the most organised freshers in town!  Your lecturers will be seriously impressed.

Whittaker Library shares the latest E-Resources

Next week, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is holding a Learning and Teaching Conference for staff. The Whittaker Library's subject librarians are champing at the bit to share all the latest electronic resources with their academic colleagues at special sessions on Wednesday 17th September.

Dip Your Toe in the Water!

It’s good practice to set training sessions in context by giving attendees a chance to think about what’s coming up in the session, before the session actually takes place. So we're encouraging our colleagues to take a look at the Library's e-resources page.

In the music session, Catherine will be focusing on Alexander Street Press (Music Online Premium, or MOP) and Naxos; and Karen will be talking about JSTOR and RILM, with a brief mention of Oxford Music. Before the session, colleagues are encouraged to try searching for something that's bound to get results, like Mendelssohn, or Kodaly.

Meanwhile, Alan will be giving a simultaneous session for drama and dance specialists. The e-resources can all be found on the same page, whichever RCS department staff are attached to. 


Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage (click HERE)

This is a quick introductory session – hopefully we'll have our colleagues swimming in the cyber-sea of electronic resources before they know it!

Clever Clarinet Tips for Avant-Garde Clarinettists

Visit Heather Roche's website, where there is an A-Z of clarinet techniques.

Friday, 5 September 2014

How to Write About Music

New in stock:-

How to Write About Music: the RILM Manual of Style, 2nd edition

Sure to be useful to readers in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  RILM is the music abstract and indexing database that we subscribe to, and any publication from the RILM organisation is bound to be top quality.  We've got two copies, both for short loan.

 We are the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, here to support our performing artists and technician in all their study, research and teaching requirements.

Library Tips for Getting Started On a Research Project

Researchers at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are generally researching some aspect of the performing arts.  We've compiled a reading list of books that we have in stock about research methodology - some are more general, and others are subject-specific.  You can access the list HERE.

Did you know that If you're one of our registered readers, you can save your own reading lists once you’ve logged in?  This is a way of keeping note of useful material.  Alternatively, you could sign up to Zotero or Mendeley.  But do start keeping a bibliography from the very beginning of your research - there's nothing worse than being unable to trace something that you're sure you read a while ago!

We are the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, here to support our performing artists and technicians in their teaching, learning and research.

Essays on Engaging Music Students (Getting them interested, not hiring them!)

Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy

Morning, everyone! This online collection of essays looks as though it could be quite useful; we're sharing it on here this blog so our academics will be able to retrieve it in future too. There are two volumes now - the second has just been published online.
More about this project, quoted from the opening page of Vol.1:- 
"Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy presents short essays on the subject of student-centered learning, and serves as an open-access, web-based resource for those teaching college-level classes in music.
The motivation behind the assembly of this collection was drawn in part from our vision for a new format for scholarly communication based upon collaborative and swift peer review. We take our inspiration from hack-a-thons, in which creative solutions to a problem emerge from working intensely together in a collaborative environment for a limited time. Authors received feedback quickly, and the revision process consisted of efficient online interactions with the editorial group. The final result is not only open-access, but open-source. Each essay is licensed to encourage collaboration to continue post-publication, as the essays are distributed, remixed, and hacked in various ways. And the entire volume can be "forked" and used as the basis for new projects or updates to the current project..."  *
Do you have a Diigo account (for saving links "in the cloud")? Karen has a Diigo folder foreducation links - feel free to browse, and you might find other useful stuff! 

*Legal details:- "All contents on this site, unless otherwise stated, are copyright 2013 by the Engaging Students editorial board and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  This is a FlipCamp project hosted on GitHub Pages"

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Some Expert Hints on Academic Writing from Bronwyn Labrum, Design Historian

A Blog About Writing, by Bronwyn Brown

We recently came across another useful blog about academic writing, and organising yourself to get it done.  It is authored by Bronwyn Labrum, a historian of design, clothing and fashion, museums and everyday life, and Associate Professor of Visual and Material Culture, School of Design,  at Massey University in New Zealand.

Now You Can Discover Belgian Music from World War I - Digital Access

The Royal Library of Belgium holds an interesting collection of music from the First World War, and the Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project is widening access to it with its digitization project.

Frederic Lemmers, Head of Digitization programs at the Royal Library, gave a presentation about this project to music librarians at the IAML conference in Antwerp earlier this summer. 

The Royal Library's selection of documents concerning music during the Great War is available on both the and websites, the main European digital library and its specific thematic portal dedicated to the Great War.

Additionally, there are several collections of songbooks and music sheets from all parts of Europe, on the Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project website, where they've been listed by ten European national libraries. (See also :
Restricted access to the music corpus of the Royal Library of Belgium is also available HERE.
Frédéric Lemmers

Bibliothèque royale de Belgique (Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België)
4, Bd de l'Empereur - Keizerslaan

B-1000 Bruxelles - Brussel