So you want to be a cataloguer?

When I think of cataloguing, the first thing that springs to mind is Argos. I used to go there so many times as a toddler, watching my dad navigate through the pages quickly to buy me masses of toys. Toys I got bored of playing with after a day. I never thought about how catalogues were created at that time; neither did my dad. To be fair, I was 6 and my dad was in a rush.

Getting to help catalogue the Women’s Revolutions per minute collection has provided me with a crash course in cataloguing. The Women’s Revolutions per minute collection is essentially a collection of music composed, produced and performed by women. If you have time, you should definitely visit Goldsmiths Special Collections to check it out.

Moving swiftly on, the system I use to catalogue with is called CALM. I find that pretty ironic as using it makes you anything but calm. As many people who have catalogued before know, it is not the most stimulating job. It is pretty straightforward — especially since I have catalogued for the majority of my time at my placement. One of the biggest positives of cataloguing lies within its simplicity. After a long day of extensive researching and writing, it is a nice break. I have learnt that if you want to be a successful cataloguer, you have to follow three steps. Number one: get into a steady rhythm. Once you get the hang of cataloguing, you should be able to catalogue fairly quickly. Having a steady pace will also help to build up momentum, meaning you can catalogue more entries. Number two is make sure you fill out fields accurately. When you are in a rush to catalogue as fast as you can, it is easy to make errors. I know that feeling all too well. My cataloguing task at the placement revolves around me changing the field artist to creator, and choosing the option item from a drop down list. After I while, I would get complacent and accidentally add the wrong field or delete a field. The panic added a new lease of life to me, and I managed to correct my errors. So, lesson of the day is do not think you are too good for any task. Even if a task is easy, it does not mean you get to be complacent. The final step is take breaks after a prolonged period of cataloguing. Yes, take breaks. It is often so easy to get lost in the process that you forget to stop for air. As everyone already knows, staring at screens all day is not a good idea. A break away from a task is never a bad thing — it means you will be more alert after your breaks, rather than having to be peeled off of a table from exhaustion.

I have a great appreciation for cataloguers: cataloguing is time- consuming. So whenever you are looking through a catalogue and moan because you cannot find an item, think about how a cataloguer would feel when making that catalogue.

 

This blog was written by Danielle, a history at work student, who completed her placement at Goldsmiths Special Collections.

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Witness the wonders of the Women’s Art Library:

The Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths is brimming with amazing material. I have been fortunate enough to browse through the archive material on several occasions. Moreover, the library has been involved with a host of prestigious events. Take for instance the PILLOWTALK exhibition at Tate Modern. The exhibition focused around pillows, engraved with images that reflected the experiences and histories of women in South London. The main aim of the exhibition was to celebrate the historic milestone of women (only those over 30 and who met a property qualification) getting the vote in February 1918, as well as the achievements of women artists. To be able to host an exhibit at Tate Modern to me spells success. I felt a part of the exhibit, even if I did just shoddily place labels on some books used in the event.

The Women’s Art Library is a place where you can get lost for hours in the pages of magazines and artists’ slides. I am particularly enamoured by magazines from the company Spare Rib. Why is it called that you ask? Don’t worry, you were not the only one to think that. At first, I thought why would a women’s magazine company name themselves after a Chinese dish? After a bit of digging, I realised the title is fitting for the magazine after all. It was originally used as a joke, referring to the Bible. Eve was formed from the rib of Adam, and so it would be assumed that women were inferior to men. The title stuck as it perfectly reflected what the magazine company was all about:Susie reversing this stereotype. You really have to read some of the magazines- they are beyond empowering. For more information about Spare Rib, please click on the link attached: https://www.bl.uk/spare-rib. Many of the topics broached are so relevant to today. One interview that really drew me in was called: Fat is a feminist issue by Susie Orbach. Susie, co-founder of the Women’s Therapy Centre in London, was a compulsive eater. She describes the unfair reality of being fat; being ordered to lose weight by going on every diet under the sun. She also links fat to power. I never would have thought that fat could represent strength, assertion and health until I read her interview. She also stated that you had to look beyond a person’s weight to uncover who they truly are. She argues that fat is commonly used by women as a means of bringing their intelligence to the forefront, instead of their beauty. Many people who lose weight said they felt like a doll, constantly drooled over by herds of men. Why must women try to hide away their physical attractiveness to be taken seriously in the work place? One has to wonder, can’t being self-indulgent be a way of showing you love your body? Restricting yourself to certain foods is just for an artificially constructed image.

SkinnyFeminism is about far more than just physical appearance. It is not as simple to define as many would like to believe. Does feminism mean equality between the sexes, or superiority of women over men? There are internal debates on every topic under the umbrella of feminism. What must a women do to be a feminist? Some would argue that having a family equals a bad feminist. They are letting their family take precedence over their career and life goals. What about if a women’s life goal is to have a family, and since when did having a family mean you were giving up your career? womanThe other side of the argument links infertility to being flawed as a woman. We need to see women as more than just mothers and objects, or feminism really is not for all women after all. The thought-provoking moments that I get every time I visit the Women’s Art Library are insane. It is true that we never really stop to think about topics unless we are exposed to them frequently.

Please visit the Women’s Art Library. Bury your head in the wealth of journals, smell the glorious aroma of history and make it a visit YOU won’t forget.

 

The blog above is written by Danielle, a history at work student, who completed a placement with Goldsmiths Special Collections.

Libraries Week, October 2017

Libraries Week: 9-14 October, 2017

Libraries Week brings together a UK wide network of libraries from all sectors to showcase the diversity of activities and services on offer. Goldsmiths Library is planning an exciting and varied programme of events.

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Special Collections and Archives Open House

10th October : 10am – 5pm

Discover and handle material from our collections, including archives, artist books and documentation, textiles, rare books, scores and ephemera. Open to all, drop in.

Location: Special Collections & Archives reading room (Goldsmiths Library, Rutherford Building, Lewisham Way, New Cross)


An Interactive Fairytale Adventure for Under 5’s and their Carers. 

11th October : 2.15pm, Deptford Lounge

A special collaboration between Goldsmiths Library and Deptford Lounge

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Join Becky, her cello and her ukulele, on her travels through a fairytale land, inspired by the School Practice Collection in Goldsmiths Library. We’ll be going on an interactive fairytale adventure, bringing storybook characters to life with songs and live instrumental music.

Location: Deptford Lounge 9 Giffin St, Deptford SE8 4RJ


File Under Female (Exhibition and publication) 

12 October – 3 November

Part of the culmination of artist Bella Milroy’s residency at the Women’s Art Library.

Open to all, drop in.

Location: Kingsway Corridor, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, New Cross.


Opening reception for artist Bella Milroy’s exhibition File Under Female.

14 October: 1pm – 5pm

Open to all, drop in.

Location: Room 142, Richard Hoggart Building and Kingsway Corridor, Goldsmiths, New Cross.


Communing, collapsing, collaging, continuing… An introduction to book art
13th October: 6 – 8pm
Workshop run by artist, Sarah Kelley

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How does a book move from one life toward another? In this workshop you can explore the book as an artistic ally and look at how we might receive from them without necessarily needing to read them. We’ll go on to find some inspiration in order to communicate back – using a variety of simple collage and book alteration techniques. You’ll leave with some new ideas and a piece of book art in progress, to continue and develop in your own time.

Please book through Facebook to attend or email a.sinclair@gold.ac.uk


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Summer Library Workshops

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The Library is offering a series of Summer workshops which any Goldsmiths student can attend.

If you would like to get a head start on finding literature for your dissertation, next assignment or project, if you want to learn to manage your references more effectively, or if you just want a refresher on using Library resources, sign up for a session using the library calendar:

http://libcal.gold.ac.uk

We are running and repeating three sessions:

1. Finding Resources: Social Sciences

This session will focus on finding resources, including peer-reviewed journal articles, for your research and other academic assignments. The session will cover skills applicable to a wide range of disciplines, with a focus on social science resources databases such as PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts, and JSTOR.

We will cover:

  • Search techniques
  • Finding journal articles
  • Identifying research articles/empirical studies

2. Referencing and Zotero

A refresher workshop on referencing with a focus on Zotero, which is free, online referencing software that is particularly useful for organising references for a longer assignment, project or dissertation.

We will cover:

  • Learning some basic principles of referencing and why it is important
  • Learning about different referencing styles
  • Creating an account with Zotero
  • Learning how to create an online library of references with Zotero
  • Learning how to add citations and bibliographies in seconds with Zotero

3. Finding Resources: Arts & Humanities

This session will focus on finding resources for your research and other academic assignments. The session will cover skills applicable to a wide range of students, with a focus on arts and humanities databases such as Art Source, Literature Online and JSTOR.

We will cover:

  • Search techniques
  • Finding journal articles
  • Specialist databases

 

 

 

 

Open Access Button and Unpaywall

There are few more frustrating things for researchers than finding a fantastic piece of research and then being shut out of reading it by a paywall. If your university library doesn’t subscribe to that particular journal, you might just give up, assuming you can’t get access.

However, there are a couple of tools out there that might be able to help you get free, legal access to paywalled articles.

Open Access Button is a free, open source tool that can be used online via the website or as a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. If you’re online, just enter an article URL, DOI, PMID ID, Title or Citation.

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If the article is available, you’ll be provided a link to where it can be accessed (often an institutional repository):

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Alternatively, if you’ve downloaded the extension for Chrome or Firefox, just visit the article page on the journal’s website and click the OA button in your browser – OA Button 3

For example, the article below is not part of Goldsmiths’ subscriptions, therefore would theoretically need to be purchased to be read:

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Clicking on the Open Access Button shows its availability elsewhere:

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Unpaywall is a newly launched browser extension developed by Impactstory, a service that provides altmetrics to researchers, helping them measure and share the impacts of research outputs – not just traditional forms of publications such as journal articles, but also datasets and blog posts – where measuring impact has always been trickier.

The browser extension can be downloaded for Chrome and Firefox and allows you to find free, full text versions of articles, where they exist, with one click.

Below is another article that we would not have access to via Goldsmiths:

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Look to the right and you’ll see a green circle with an unlocked padlock – click on this to be directed to the free, full text version:

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LSE Impact Blog recently ran a piece on Unpaywall and its objectives, but it also provides a brief overview of the tools that are available to unlock research. For example, if you search on PubMed, there’s a LinkOut option, which finds copies of articles in institutional repositories. Recent articles in Nature and The Chronicle of Higher Education also highlight the benefits and successes of these tools. So next time you find an article and you’re being asked for extortionate sums of money for access, try Open Access Button or Unpaywall.

We Want To Know How You Use The Library

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The Library is hosting a UX (User Experience) workshop for staff on Thursday 9th March, delivered by a leading expert, Andy Priestner.  As part of this workshop we would like to work with students to be able to conduct some research.  We’re looking to recruit 20-24 students.

Here’s a link to Andy’s website for more information on what he does: https://andypriestnertraining.com/

We would love to be able to engage with students to find out how they use the library’s resources and spaces with a view to making changes based on ethnographical research methods.

Join us for lunch in Deptford Town Hall and then for a one hour research session in Special Collections and Archives in the Library.  You’ll also be given a £10 voucher for the Word bookshop as a thank you for their time.

Below is the outline for the whole day.  Lunch is at 12:15.  The two student research sessions are at 13:00 and 14:00.

09:00     Introductions; Aims; What are UX research methods?; What is ethnography?
10:15     Break
10:30     UX techniques: Observation; Interview; Cognitive mapping; Usability testing; Touchstone tours; Card sorting.
12:15     Lunch
13:00     Research with first group of students
14:00     Research with second group of students (as above, repeated)
15:00     Break
15:15     Affinity mapping (of data gathered)
16:15     Idea generation (ideas for changes/new services)
16:50     Learning summary

If this sounds like something you’re interested in and if you want to help shape the future of the library, just email Marilyn Clarke (m.clarke@gold.ac.uk). Please specify whether you’d like to work with us at 13:00 and 14:00 (there are more spaces available for 14:00).

LGBT History Month and the Library

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LGBTHM is held in February each year. The library is currently highlighting its diverse collections in a display at the front of the library, just inside the main turnstiles. Here, we’re displaying seminal texts, both literary and academic, and films. Examples include ‘The Bell’ by Iris Murdoch and ‘Orlando’ by Virginia Woolf, as well as ‘Mysterious Skin’, directed by Gregg Araki and ‘Happy Together’, directed by Wong Kar-Wai. Each item can be borrowed and we will be frequently updating the selection of resources on display.

The library has an extensive number of academic titles on LGBT themes on the first floor – 306.76 would be a good starting point. Documentary films on similar themes would be held at a similar classmark in the second floor audiovisual area.

We’ve also created an online reading list of important titles, including novels, non-fiction books, children and young adult titles, articles, documentaries and movies. Click on a title you’re interested in and see live availability.

Through our streaming platforms, Film Platform and Kanopy, we also have access to a number of documentary films on LGBT themes.

Film Platform

Films on Film Platform that cover LGBT themes can be accessed here. Documentaries include ‘Before Stonewall’ (1984), which explores the homosexual experience in the US from the 1920s onwards, to the Academy Award-winning documentary ‘The Life and Times of Harvey Milk’ (1984), a portrait of the changing social and political climate in 1970s San Francisco.

Kanopy

There are over 200 documentaries and feature films on Kanopy in its LGBT collection. Feature films include Jean Genet’s ‘Un Chant D’Amour’ (1950) and Cheryl Dunye’s ‘The Watermelon Woman’, originally produced in 1996, but restored in high definition in 2016. Documentaries are listed by sub-theme, such as LGBT History, LGBT Issues and Religion, Transgender Studies, LGBT Media Representation and more.

Films on both streaming platforms can be accessed in full, for free – you just to sign in with your Goldsmiths username and password.

For more information on LGBT History Month, visit their website or their Twitter page, or for more local interest, Spread the Word are celebrating London’s LGBT Writers and Writing.