Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Monday, 31 October 2016

Ghostly Goings On in the Library at Halloween

We'd love to tell you we have a library ghost, but sadly there's no evidence of one. If you want to spice up your Halloween celebrations tonight, the best we can suggest is to check our catalogue for ghosts, witches, or pumpkins.  Or even just look up halloween.  We're surprisingly well-supplied in that direction!

We can also supply the theme-tune for Ghostbusters ....

However, Karen has blogged often enough about historical Scottish music collectors - and historical Scottish music borrowers, in St Andrews - so if you want musical ghosts, that's where to look.  Rumour has it that there's a ghost at the University of Glasgow! We can't comment on that.

 For today, and today only, let's resurrect Karen's old blog - True Imaginary Friends (well, it was about Georgian and Victorian Scottish musicians!).  More recently, Karen has given papers on Ghosts of Borrowers Past, ‘The Legal Deposit Music at St. Andrews: Scottish airs, Irish and Hebrew Melodies and other late Georgian favourites', and various other aspects of music usage at the University of St Andrews between 1801-1849. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Research Projects for the Teachers

Here at RCS, we have hundreds of undergraduates, and dozens of Masters performers, but we also have students taking either a PGCert or an MEd in Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education.  That means doing a research project.  And then there are the PhD students, too.

New students are introduced to our e-resources, but unless you've taken a close look, you maybe won't realise that some e-journals are specifically aimed at researchers.

Here's the link that takes you to Research, Education and Guidance journals.  There are about 30 titles, so do take time to browse. For a start, Research in Drama Education must surely be useful to quite a few of our postgrads!

If you find a journal that's right up your street, do let the rest of your class know!

We recorded a presentation about getting the most from our library catalogue and e-resources. You will find it here:-

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Web Resource Trials for Musicians in Edinburgh

If you’re an Edinburgh based musician, you might like to know that the National Library of Scotland is trialling some online database subscriptions at the moment.  For example, you can go to the NLS and get access to back copies of music journals.  The back copies are historical, to say the least – not recent back copies!  But there are also newer materials ... you'll need to check these out for yourself!  (NLS also has a Kelvinhall site in Glasgow, now, too.)

Trials are on-site (using NLS computers), so you do have to go to the National Library of Scotland to try out these offerings, but if you use the NLS service, the music librarian is asking for feedback!  See below. 
The National Library of Scotland is currently trialling electronic reference services providing retrospective access to music periodicals:-
RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (1800-1950)
RIPM Online Archive of Music Periodicals (Full-Text)
RIPM e-Library of Music Periodicals

Trial access is for onsite users only but feedback can be given via an online survey:
The trial ends on 6 Nov 2016.
For enquiries email

Friday, 21 October 2016

Whittaker Library - Using the Catalogue and E-Resources

Hey, we now have a Whittaker Library YouTube presentation! Don't get too excited - you won't find librarians doing cartwheels or anything like that - it's just about using the library catalogue and exploring some of our electronic resources.  We thought that a few slides with a voiceover might just be helpful to any of our new students who haven't had much to do with online catalogues or databases before.

It's here (imagine your own fanfare):- Using the Library Catalogue and Accessing Electronic Resources

It "does what it says on the tin"!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

E-Journals, E-Portfolios and Reflective Practice

New arrivals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland may find they have a whole new vocabulary to learn - and not specifically about music, drama or dance!

This is the age of the reflective journal.  It's expected that we will reflect on our practice, whether it's teaching a subject, learning an instrument, or providing student support in the library or admin departments.  So ... students are asked to keep e-journals and e-portfolios, and - embracing new technology - to make use of the virtual learning network (Moodle), and to explore the brand-new Portal (based on Wordpress), for sharing documents in various formats.

But what if you're not used to this explicit reflection at every turn?  Sure, you think about what you do, but maybe you haven't sat down to write commentary about your practice before now?
Don't panic!  The Whittaker Library has plenty of material about reflective practice and reflective journals - both "real books" and electronic resources.  And of course, the great thing about e-resources is that you can access them from anywhere.  So, settle down with that tablet or laptop and have a quick read to see if there are aspects of your performing/compositional/creative practice that you never thought of reflecting upon before.

Reading list for Reflective Practice

Monday, 17 October 2016

Music Librarianship: the E T Bryant Award

This is an award for early career music librarians. You can find full details on the IAML(UK and Ireland) website.

"The E.T. Bryant prize of £300 is awarded at the Branch's Annual General Meeting for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship, by a student or group of students of Library and Information Science, or to a librarian in their first five years of music librarianship."
The closing date is 12 December 2016.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Get Your (Georgian) Dancing Shoes On! Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Four exciting events are coming up for historic dance enthusiasts, both at the Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street Edinburgh.  And to prepare for these events, there is a series of Saturday Regency dance classes.  Talitha Mackenzie is the organiser and can be contacted for more info:- talithamac at gmail dot com.

"In honour of the Bicentennial of Nathaniel Gow’s introduction of Quadrilles to Edinburgh, there will be a Regency Ball at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms on 11th of March, 2017. Music will be provided by Nathaniel Gow's Dance Band (members of Concerto Caledonia)."


"In preparation for this, a series of dance classes in Edinburgh beginning 22 October, taught by Alena Shmakova and Talitha MacKenzie, will cover all of the dances on the ball programme.  The first 5 are on the following Saturdays:

22 Oct 1-4 PM
29 Oct 2-5 PM
19 Nov 2-5 PM
3 Dec 2-5 PM
17 Dec 2-5 PM

Classes are £5 each or £20 for a block of 5. There will be another 5 classes scheduled for Jan-Mar 2017, dates TBC.  Please contact Talitha MacKenzie if you would like more information.  Thank you!"


  • 20th January 2017 at 7.30 pm Concert of the Nathaniel Gow Band (Quadrilles)
  • 21st January 2017 from 2-5 pm, Dance Workshop
  • 11th March 2017 from 1-3 pm, Dance Workshop
  • 11th March 2017 at 7 pm, Regency Ball
    By the way, Talitha recommends a DVD on Baroque dance, by Nicola Gaines and Christopher Tudor. We have a copy in the Whittaker Library here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - indeed, it's on Talitha's reading listDetails here.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Kanopy Online Video Streaming for Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Staff and Students

If you haven't come across Kanopy, it's well worth looking at.  This on-demand video streaming service covers documentaries, on subjects such as music, dance productions and a range of indie, foreign and classic films.  It's available on-site at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, via our electronic resources pages. Off-campus, we use the Shibboleth login process of identifying our institution then using the normal RCS login details.

Here's one about female jazz musicians of bygone ages!  Just one example of a huge catalogue of films.  Click the link below:-

The Girls in the Band

National Poetry Day - Do Limericks Count

A few years ago, we penned a collection of musical limericks.  Since it's National Poetry Day today, here's a link to the whole lot! 

Musical Limericks from the Whittaker Library

The Angus Fraser Collection - is it Harp Music?

Angus Fraser was the natural son of Simon Fraser,  who had published his own fiddle tune collection in the early 19th century.  Apparently it's a moot point whether the Angus Fraser Collection is really - as it says on the modern title page inside - Highland harp music.  What do you think?

The title page? 

A Collection of the Vocal Airs of the Highlands of Scotland: Communicated as sung by the people, and formerly played on the harp. 
By Angus Fraser.

Confused yet? Let's check the preface next!

The manuscript was found in an Edinburgh bookshop and presented to Edinburgh University Library.  Francis Collinson (author of The Traditional and National Music of Scotland, in 1966) said it was "the most important collection of Scottish Gaelic airs to be recovered in the past hundred years and the only seemingly authentic Scottish harp music every to be recovered."

But! The original title of the collection apparently said it was for piano - despite no piano accompaniment being given. It just contains tunes, some with variations.  The modern publishers says they're equally suitable for fiddle or whistle, and Angus Fraser apparently said that some of the variations were like piping pibroch.  It's a pity that the Taigh na Teud (Harpstring House) edition (1996, ISBN 1871931665) doesn't give library details of the manuscript itself.  In Edinburgh University Library Archive Catalogue, it is Coll-58, and you can read all about it here.

You can read more about the Angus Fraser collection on the Alt Pibroch Club blog, in this article by harper Simon Chadwick:- Burns March: a Gaelic Harp Ceol Mor?

There's further discussion about this manuscript here:-

  • Simon Chadwick's harp website is well-worth visiting; here is the homepage:-