Posts Tagged ‘Graduate trainee project’

For our trainee project we have been reclassifying the pamphlets in the SSL from an in-house classification scheme to Library of Congress. The pamphlets came over from the International Development Centre at Queen Elizabeth House in 2005 and cover a huge range of topics including constitutional and conference publications, political and economic reports. Some of these pamphlets are actually the only copies held in Oxford and often date back to the 1940’s and 50’s, so altogether they make a really interesting, almost archival collection.

Why was the reclassification needed? We are still using the shelf marks from QEH, whereas the rest of the SSL uses Library of Congress, which is familiar to our readers and they can already navigate it. Also, the boxes were messy, with unequal amounts in them, and were underused. We hope that reclassifying the section will improve their use and accessibility.

After a brief explanation of Library of Congress classification the presentation then shows the steps we go through in order to assign each pamphlet with a new shelfmark. This involves looking at the item’s MARC record to find the subject heading which can then be used to find a relevant shelfmark on Classificationweb. The final part of the shelfmark is then constructed using information taken from the MARC record such as the author’s name and the publication date. Once a new shelfmark has been found we then update the holdings so that the new shelfmark appears on the catalogue. By processing the reclassified pamphlets in the same way and keeping them all in one section we hope that they will be easy for staff and readers to find.

The project has been going really well, and we are making steady progress. We won’t finish the whole section, but we will be passing it on to another member of staff. It has been an enjoyable project, especially getting to read the pamphlets! It’s also been a fantastic opportunity to learn assigning original classification, which is a really useful skill that not everyone has the chance to learn, especially as a graduate trainee.

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On 13 July, as Becci has said, the Graduate Trainees held our project showcase, where we shared the projects we have been working on this year.  The other presentations from the showcase are available here, and some are also in this blog.

My trainee project was making a record of a collection of antiquarian books that are kept in closed stacks in the History Faculty Library.  Most are from the 18th and 19th century; a dozen are older, and there are also some 20th-century books there because of their special provenance.  The majority of the books are not catalogued electronically, though they are classified.  The outcomes were:

  1. A spreadsheet document listing the books with information such as publication details, provenance and interesting annotations.  This can, I hope, be used by HFL staff and Bodleian Special Collections staff, who are ultimately responsible for all the Special Collections material in the Bodleian Libraries, in making informed decisions about the future of the collection.
  2. An HFL Rare Books blog with a post for each title in the collection, which is intended for use by readers.  It can be reached from the HFL’s website.

I was very pleased to be able to work with antiquarian books, as it is an aspect of librarianship I was interested in finding out more about (I still am, though I’m not sure I would want to work with them all the time).  I wasn’t expecting to do so much with computers and Web 2.0, but I am glad that it turned out that way, as it gave me the chance to consider aspects of library marketing and outreach, and also to think about describing books using tags and categories.

The presentation includes photos of some highlights of the collection, which are listed below.

The images of individual books are:

  1. Hickes, George: Linguarum vett. septentrionalium thesaurus / Antiquæ literaturæ septentrionalis libri duo, Vol. 1 (a book interesting for its content alone)
  2. Henrici de Bracton de legibus & consuetudinibus Angliæ libri quinq[ue] (the oldest book in the HFL, unless it’s an elaborate hoax)
  3. Prynne, William: The history of King John, King Henry III. and the most illustrious King Edward the I (probably the oldest annotations in the HFL – can anyone read the words next to the price and date?)
  4. Jolliffe, J. E. A.: The constitutional history of medieval England from the English settlement to 1485, Vol. 2 (the other end of the age-range: 20th-century author’s working copy, rebound with notes for 2nd edition)
  5. Ellis, Henry, Sir, ed.: Registrum vulgariter nuncupatum “The record of Caernarvon” (annotations showing reader – probably Edgar Bennett – engaging with text.  A recurring feature is transcription of Old Welsh place/personal names into Modern Welsh orthography)
  6. Madox, Thomas: Formulare anglicanum (belonged  to the Greenfield Doggett family, who seem to have found an ancestor in the text)
  7. Thurloe, John: A collection of the state papers of John Thurloe, Esq., Vol. 3 (contains rubbing and fragment of a previous spine)
  8. Scotland statutes: The acts of the parliaments of Scotland, Vol. 11 (found with large patch of mould extending inwards from front cover.  Now treated by conservators and safe)

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I had intended to blog about a week for the Library day in the Life project, but failed to note down anything past Tuesday morning. In any case, I think Monday was quite an accurate representation of an average term-time day as a Graduate Trainee at the Social Science Library.


Monday 24th January, 2011

8.40 – I arrived early, my usual start time is 9am, to open up. As there are three of us opening up, it gets done pretty quickly. I log onto the issue desk PCs, but as they take a while to get going, I open up the different rooms; Large and Small discussion rooms, IT training room, and the lesser used media room. I also switch on the Sunray computers, which are open access straight to the online catalogue and internet, and make sure the photocopiers are full of paper.

9.00 – I check my post tray, which has a room booking slip from the evening staff, which they didn’t have time to complete. As it’s a booking for this afternoon, I turn on my computer and can check the library emails first.

9.10 – I open up Microsoft Outlook and have a quick scan of my own emails… I’ve been offered an interview for UCL! And there’s no one in the workroom to tell (Lauren doesn’t get in til 9.45)! I open up the main library email account. Mostly it’s emails that can be moved straight into a folder, or simply forwarded on, but there are also a few cancellations for the Graduate Search Clinics. This can be quite frustrating, as we had a lot of trouble with more bookings than spaces. There are also two messages about reader’s accounts that are blocked due to invoiced books that were actually returned. I clear up their accounts, and explain the mistake and apologise.

9.30 – I do the room booking from my post tray and a couple of others from the emails, and print out the posters.

9.45 – Lauren arrives, and checks the printer for invoices. There aren’t any today, so I clear my desk a little. I have accumulated a pile of books for the beginnings of our trainee project. We will be creating an online guide to good academic writing, using LibGuide software. I add the details of these books to our growing bibliography, and put them out on the shelving trolleys behind the issue desk. Meanwhile, Lauren has started on the claimed returns. The SSL is a very busy lending library, and as such it’s often easy to miss a book here or there when scanning in. It is the trainee’s job to search for these twice, email the reader to check at home and any other libraries they use, and then make the book missing if it isn’t found.

10.00 – We send out a Graduate Search Clinic reminder email, and invoice a reader who knows book is lost before the automated invoice is sent out. For this I check the price on Dawsons, add an administrative hold and a message block on the reader’s account, and send the letter to their college address.

10.20 – We set to work on our other project. This will be reclassifying the pamphlets into Library of Congress, and we need to write a poster to let readers know. While I’m doing this, I’m handed a phone message from the desk voicemail, and vaguely remember the person and why they were calling. It was an academic who has been in and out of the country recently, whose books have reached invoicing point. He had been confused about the process and wanted them renewed, so I had asked the Reader Services Librarian if we could make an exception.

11 – Tea break. There are chocolate muffins and banana cake.

11.20 – I have a look at the academic’s account and read through our previous correspondence to familiarise before I phone him back. I hate phoning people, so I try to write down the steps of what I will say! I also have a brief look through the minutes from last week’s Reader Services meeting, which I missed due to some training.

12-12.30 – I’m on desk duty, and as it’s a quiet moment, I phone the academic, and once I’ve hung up I put together a formal email with breakdown of account, which he requested since it was a confused situation.

12.30 – Lunch.

1.30-2.30 – I’m on the desk again for an hour. It’s mostly PCAS problems, deciphering what people actually want; “I’m looking for [title said really fast]. It’s here”. It turns out a lecturer had asked the library to keep some of his own books behind desk for his students to consult, but it can get confusing as we have offprints, core course (3hr loans), reservations, and stack requests behind the desk.

2.45 – The stack requests arrive from the Bodleian. We get two deliveries a day, but the trainees only have to process the afternoon delivery. We have a 3pm deadline, but they have been late getting to the library recently. We have to check the items are right, scan them on OLIS, and we are still putting in red ‘This book cannot be removed from the library’ slips when students start asking for them. A wrong item has also been sent to us; part of the shelf mark 220 is mistaken for 200 (this happens fairly often). I help on the desk a little, as it gets busy on the hour when students come out from lectures, and answer some PCAS queries (I turn it off and on again).

3.30 – I check the emails yet again! I also look up the phone number for H Floor of the Bodleian to get the right book sent.

4.00 – tea break

4.30 – I phone the stacks to send the correct book, and email the reader to let them know it’s delayed but on its way. Then it’s onto some shelving. The SSL has a standard of re-shelving books within two days, and confined (reference only) books and journals within one day, which means before shelving we need to check what’s next on the list and tick it off when we’re done. I shelve until the end of the day, and then it’s time to pile on my layers and fetching high-vis vest, and cycle home.

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A project update

Progress has been a little bit slow on my project over the last few weeks. I came to a stand still over a few technique problems that I have been having. I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of them. Despite getting hold of a webcam fairly easily to record the video part of my project it has been much more difficult to begin the process of recording the footage. It was very easy to record a test with no sound and save it on my computer. However then came the realisation that in order to include it in my Captivate project I would have to change the file format from WMV to AVI! I am no technology wiz so this completely stumped me. However thanks to our wonderful resident IT expert who found a program that converts files from WMV to AVI  on the internet which is free to download I was able to convert the file into a format that Captivate could recognise. The site that we downloaded it from is www.freewarezoom.com/archives/free-wmv-avi-mpeg-converter .

So once I had a video file in the correct format my next challenge was to find out how to add it to the Captivate project. Once again I was rescued from going round in circles by our IT expert who explained that you have to add the video as an animation. I also discovered for myself that if you want to record just one video for the whole project, rather than a video for each slide, you just need to add the animation to your first slide and then choose the option for the animation to play for the whole project.

I was excited because I thought I could finally start to move forward with the project so I booked a room at the Said Business School ready to make my first attempt at recording the actual video. However I quickly realised that the sound from the external microphone I was using wasn’t being picked up and recorded as part of the webcam video. So here I am ground to a holt again but with our resident expert on the case it shouldn’t be too long before I can record the video with sound!! I am currently on the hunt for a good desktop microphone as using a headset microphone didn’t look very professional. I also found some very useful information from the links in Laura ’s post on her Law library trainee project blog relating to screen capturing (http://lawbodtraineeproject.wordpress.com/ ). Hopefully my next post will tell you how I have completed my first video guide.

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It was suggested to me that the other trainees might be interested in what I am planning to do for my project and to hear about my progress so far. So here it is the trials and tribulations, so far, of my graduate trainee project!

For my graduate trainee project I have decided to do a video guide to help our readers with reserving books online. This will hopefully be the first of several different videos aimed at helping readers at the Sainsbury Library access the full range of facilities available to them. Although the video guide should be useful to all our readers the main focus for the videos is to help those readers who may learn visually or those who have a learning difficulty such as dyslexia who might find traditional guides hard to access. The most important aspect of the graduate trainee project is that it will be useful to existing readers. So it was important that I made sure that I discussed my ideas with my mentors and supervisor to insure that this was the case. After having done this it was decided that I could go ahead and start planning my project.

Coming up with my initial ideas was perhaps the easiest part of the process so far. What has been much harder is deciding on the exact format and therefore the software to use to create a video guide. I did quite a lot of research into formats used by other university libraries before settling on my final idea. At first I thought that I might use a YouTube style video but after looking at several I realised that they often had more of a promotional feel rather than being used for user education. Also it was apparent that for them to look any good a professional videoing team would have been needed. I really wanted something that would look professional but was feasible for me to do. I went on a Podcasting course at OUCS and some free software called ‘Screen Toaster’(http://www.screentoaster.com/) as mentioned ( see my last post) however  after a discussion on the blog I decided not to use this as it didn’t have the professional feel I was looking for.

 After discounting several formats some of the other trainees suggested I look at some video guides done by the library at Warwick University(http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/main/tealea/sciences/chemistry)They have combined traditional screen capturing with the use of video, input via a webcam. This seemed the perfect solution to my problems so I set about discovering what software they had been using.

They had used ‘Screenflow’(http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/video/screenflow.html)which unfortunately is only available for Mac and not Windows. So it was time to look at the options that were compatible with the Windows operating system. There are a surprising number of different screen capturing software out there both which are free to download and ones that aren’t. I came up with a short list Adobe Captivate, Camstudio, Camtasia, Wink and Jing. However after some more research into each of them I discovered that not all of them allow you to insert webcam footage into your screen capture project.

Also I was advised that some of the free software although it is great for screen capturing the ability to edit the results it not very good.

So I decided to use Adobe Captivate 4 as the Sainsbury Library had a copy of this and it had been recommended by our Web/digital library assistant.

Luckily there was also a course at OUCS(http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/itlp/courses/detail/TILB) about screen capture for education and the software that they demonstrated this on was Captivate 4. This enabled me to gain the basic knowledge I would need to create my screen capture project. I had also discovered in my research that on the Adobe Captivate website there was a widget which you could download to enable you to insert webcam footage:http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/exchange/index.cfm?event=extensionDetail&extid=1857023

I have not yet downloaded this so I am hoping that it all goes smoothly.

I have decided to record the screen captures without the video first and then insert this afterwards. I hope that this will increase the chance of it looking as professional as possible. This is because I will be able to concentrate on explaining what to do rather than try and speak and record the screen captures at the same time. However until I try to combine the two I won’t know if this will have been a mistake.

I have been finding it difficult to get each slide to look as crisp and professional as I want them to be and to get it to flow from one slide to the next smoothly enough.However as I am still only in the very early stages I hope to smooth out any problems soon.

This week I discovered that our website has been changed so after spending last week trying to perfect the project I have discovered I will have to redo a lot of it. This wasn’t as bad as it could have been as I had been experiencing problems with the software capturing parts of the screen that I didn’t want it to. However I discovered that if you tell captivate only to record the Application region it then allows you to define exactly which part of the screen you want it to record. This gives each slide crisp well defined edges without any black lines around the edge, which I had been struggling to remove previously.

So now I have made a start on a new version with the updated library website included in the slides. The result is far more professional so know I am just trying to get it to flow better. I had been having a lot of trouble with recording being scrolled down. I had found that if I tried to do it too slowly the results were very jerky. So I tried to scroll down slightly faster and in one single motion. This has produced a much smoother result.

The next stage will be to record the webcam element and combine it with the screen captures. In order to do this I have obtained a webcam from our IT department at the Said Business School and hopefully before Christmas I can make a start on recording the video element of my project. Before I do this I need to finalise the script and get hold of a good microphone and find a time and place to record the video.

I hope you have found this interesting, if you have let me know and I will continue to keep you up to date on my progress.

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