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Posts Tagged ‘Project showcase’

On July 4th, Oxford’s contingent of graduate trainees held a showcase to present the projects we had been working on in our libraries. Each year, most of the trainees choose or are given a project to work on alongside our regular duties. These projects often reflect our particular skills or interests, as well as the needs of the library. Towards the end of the year, two of us (this time Natalie and I) organise the showcase event, and most of the trainees give presentations about our progress to an audience of our supervisors, colleagues and fellow trainees.

There were fifteen presentations this year, covering a range of topics. Some projects focussed on creating videos and libguides to help students use resources or find services. Others compared different Oxford libraries’ rules or signage to offer advice about possible improvements. The reclassification projects made collections easier, quicker and less frustrating to browse. Some of us also worked on making specific resources more available by digitising, cataloguing, creating searchable databases or, in one case, physically finding them!

In addition to the presentations, Emma Sullivan gave a short speech about the benefits of projects, both for us as trainees, and for the libraries. We have a chance to develop skills and experience that will be valuable in our future careers, both from the specific content covered, and also from learning how to plan and implement an extended project. The libraries have a chance to get a project completed that will be of lasting benefit to them, which in turn allows us to feel that we are really part of the library.

The presentations were well received, and the event was enjoyed by all (with the exception of pre-presentation nerves…)

Some of the first slides from the presentations

Here is a very brief summary, in alphabetical order, of each trainee’s project:

Vicky Arnold (All Souls) managed to track down some 17th century Russian maps mentioned very briefly in the library committee’s minutes, but subsequently lost amid the library’s collections.

Lizzie Atkinson (RSL) created video and libguide resources to showcase what the mapmaking and spatial analysis programme ArcGIS can do, and to help students and researchers decide if they need to use it.

Louise Cowan (St Hugh’s) discovered common factors influencing how frequently students disobey library rules, including whether they see the effect that breaking a rule would have on others.

Rebecca Hunt (EFL) used the University archives to research the EFL’s history, creating a booklet, a display and a facebook timeline in preparation for their centenary in 2014.

Charlotte Kelham (Nuffield) catalogued the architects’ plans for Nuffield College, discovering very different pre- and post- World War Two designs.

Liz Kennedy (St Hilda’s) reclassified the library’s linguistics section, using customised Dewey to fit with the existing system and reflect the level of detail needed.

Rebecca Nielsen (futureArch) investigated how to extract and catalogue the video files stored on an outdated type of camcorder cassette called MiniDV.

Emily Nunn (LawBod) reclassified books and ‘spring-cleaned’ their catalogue records as part of the LawBod’s mass reclassification project to adopt the Moys system, which allows law materials to be browsed by subject.

Siobhan O’Brien (Jesus) established a collection development policy and classification system for the library’s collection of books by and about Jesus members.

Natalie O’Keefe (HFL) made short explanatory videos for students (and staff…) to access online, showing how different services will be provided in the HFL’s new location within the Radcliffe Camera.

Laurence Peacock (Taylor Slavonic) took a collection of letters from an Oxford professor’s trip to Germany in 1913, scanned and catalogued them, then created a website to promote them, including a searchable database of the details and images.

Matthew Pocock (Bodleian) integrated a section of LCC books into the reading room’s existing system, planning and implementing a large book move to accommodate the reclassified books.

Stephanie Wales (SSL) reviewed different iPad apps for the social sciences, creating a lib guide of recommendations.

Janine Walker (SSL) investigated how libraries communicate with their readers, making suggestions about improving signage in the physical library space as well as keeping branding consistent online.

Evelyn Webster (Union Society) designed and began building a searchable database to record information about the Union’s debates, officers and famous speakers.

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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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