Showcase Presentations 2017

As promised, here are the presentations given by the 2016-17 trainees at our Showcase in July.

All the PowerPoint slides, and Stephanie Bushell’s video presentation, can be found here: http://bit.ly/2fvhCFg

Chantal van den Berg’s video presentation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bisZh0AicQQ

Sophie Welsh’s Prezi can be found here: http://prezi.com/kihswng7cpmz/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Thanks again to all the trainees for working so hard on these presentations.  We all learnt a lot from hearing about each other’s projects.

Trainee Showcase – Andrew Bax’s Guest Lecture

Thank you very much to everyone who came to our Trainee Showcase on 12th July.  We really appreciated your support.

One of the highlights of the day was the guest lecture by publisher Andrew Bax.  For anyone who missed it, or would like to revisit it, the full script is below.  Many thanks again to Andrew for preparing this interesting and informative talk.

The trainees’ presentation slides will follow soon!

 

Oxford, as we all know, is an extraordinary place. The Bookseller, the UK’s trade magazine for publishers and booksellers revealed, some years ago, that the city of Oxford had the greatest density of published authors in the world. It also discovered that over 200 publishing companies were registered in Oxford, including my own.

I got into publishing by accident. In 1965 I was young, irresponsible and in Oxford without a job. A friend told me that there were always vacancies for science graduates at a firm called Pergamon Press. I had only five ‘O’ levels but applied anyway – and was accepted. I joined a team of about ten handling the production of academic journals from offices in Headington Hill Hall, now part of Brooke’s University. Initially, my working space was a windowsill and the top of a filing cabinet in the attic above the boss’s bedroom. The boss was called Robert Maxwell.

Robert Maxwell acquired his name by deed pole in 1948. His real name was Jan Hoch and he originated from that turbulent part of eastern Europe that changed from Czechoslovakia to Hungary and is now part of Ukraine. His family were Jewish cattle dealers and, after the Nazis invaded, most of them were taken to Auschwitz, where they died. Young Jan had escaped however, and joined the Czechoslovak Army in exile and, later, the Royal Staffordshire Regiment. He saw active service across Europe, was awarded the MC and, at the end of the war, was promoted to the rank of Captain. He was then sent to Berlin as part of the mission to revive the German economy, and was appointed to the publishing house, Springer Verlag. Springer was sitting on valuable scientific research and, recognising the opportunity, Maxwell had it translated into English and published it through a company he formed for the purpose. That was the beginning of Pergamon Press. In preparation for this talk I discovered that Pergamon began as a collaboration with a certain Paul Rosebaud who had been a senior scientist in the Nazi hierarchy. Throughout the war, however, he had been secretly spying for Britain.

When the world finally emerged from the devastation of World War II, governments and universities began to invest heavily in scientific research. Then, as now, it was vital for those involved in such work to be aware of what was happening in other centres. Then, as now, there was competition and collaboration, often fuelled by personal ambition. The established publishers were slow on the uptake and communication was often achieved through correspondence and international conferences.

Enter Robert Maxwell. One of his techniques was to use an international conference to launch a new journal. After a visit by Maxwell, often at the conference itself, the host academic was persuaded to continue his good work by editing a new journal in the subject, and the conference papers would provide the first issue. Everyone working in the field wanted to have their work published in the journal and library funds were used to pay for it. Thus it was that a pile of manuscripts was delivered to my desk for a new journal to be called Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer. Maxwell had brought them with him from a conference in Rio de Janeiro. That journal, I see, is now in its 200th volume and has an in-print price of £6742. This was happening all the time and journals were being launched in subjects we’d hardly heard of. Editors, usually unpaid, competed for the best papers, frequency of publication was increased and, of course, the price. Then Maxwell introduced page charges so that contributors had to pay for the privilege of publication, and their library for the privilege of subscribing. For a while he took advantage of currency fluctuations so that customers might he invoiced in US dollars one day and Japanese yen the next. In books he invented a series called the Commonwealth Library for which he received a guaranteed order from the Commonwealth Office for 500 copies of each title published. As you can imagine, that series grew very rapidly, often from material culled from the journals. While all this was going on he was also Labour MP for Buckingham. And all that happened during the 18 months I was with Pergamon.

Eighteen months was about average. If you stayed any longer you were liable to be sacked or relocated anywhere in the world. I was getting married and this kind of uncertainty was just too exciting. Maxwell was a tyrant, a man of immense dynamism and creative energy and, eventually, a fraudster on a massive scale. There is no time here to cover the Maxwell story but, towards the beginning of the 1990s his empire began to unravel and, in desperation, he plundered his employee’s pension scheme to the tune of some £440million. He died by falling from his yacht off the Canary Islands and debate still rages about whether he jumped or whether he was pushed. Afterwards, he was found to have some 300 companies, most of which only he knew about. He had also been involved in arms deals between eastern Europe and Israel, and it is probable that he had been an agent for Mossad. He is buried in Jerusalem.

After Pergamon I joined part of the Blackwell empire. There were about a dozen of us in offices next to The Bear in Alfred Street. I was with the firm for 20 years during which time it expanded rapidly, moving to its own purpose-built premises in Osney Mead which are now part of the Bodleian and, eventually, employing over 200 people in offices in five countries. It was run by another big character, Per Saugman, who I got to know quite well. As a young man he was employed in the bookshop as part of an exchange scheme with the firm of Munksgaard in Copenhagen. It seems he quickly outgrew the challenges of bookselling so, in 1957, he was invited to revive an old publishing imprint, Blackwell Scientific Publications, which had been dormant for years. It was suggested that, with the growth of the NHS, he should consider medicine.

Per knew nothing about medicine but he thought he would start with blood. So, like Maxwell, he went to a conference in London where he announced his intention to launch the British Journal of Haematology. The leading lights in the field were anxious to become involved and it is now on Volume 177 with an in-print subscription price of £1777. It was the beginning of a substantial journal portfolio. With books his technique was to ‘seek advice’ from the highest authority on what topics are inadequately covered and who might be best to write them. Ego and ambition drove these men and, in those days it was usually men and, in the end, these chaps recommended themselves, which is what Per wanted all along. However, for authors, the financial rewards were modest. The international expert on Megaloblastic Anaemias told me that his fat, expensive monograph had ruined his health and his marriage and that on calculating his royalties he had earned just 4p an hour.

Whereas Maxwell got his way be terrifying people, Per did it with charm. He was articulate and terrific company; if he was speaking here instead of me he would do so without stumbling and without notes. He had his frailties though; there was a bit of Swiss bankery and he was a terrible womaniser.

Blackwell provided me with a series of lucky breaks. After a short time in journals I took on publicity, sales and marketing. Except we weren’t allowed to call it that because the patriarch of the firm, Sir Basil Blackwell, believed that ‘good books sell themselves’ so anything advertised was automatically deemed to be suspect. After a few years the director to whom I was reporting became ill and was off work for a while. I stepped into his shoes and, apart from one big mistake, I did quite well. The big mistake caused an almighty row with our partners in North America, the C.V. Mosby Company and I was dispatched to St Louis, Missouri to be eaten alive by their management team. In the end it was quite a tame affair. I was ushered into the president’s suite, where everyone was hushed and deferential, and then into the office of the great man himself, in which the carpet was so think you almost waded through it. We talked about this and that and, after a decent interval, he considered that honour was satisfied and the meeting was over. Years later I bumped into him at the Frankfurt Book Fair; he was working as a sales rep. So whatever mistake he made, it was bigger than mine.

C.V. Mosby was one of a number of US publishers for which we were stock-holding agents for Europe, often with reciprocal arrangements in America. One of these was CRC Press. CRC stands for the Chemical Rubber Company and their business began in manufacturing rubber valves and tubes for use in laboratories. One of their best-selling items was a rubber apron with a pocket into which they inserted a free booklet called the Handbook of Chemistry & Physics. That booklet proved to be so popular that people were buying the apron just to obtain the Handbook. Eventually they gave up the rubbery stuff and became publishers. By the time we were involved that Handbook was published annually with over 2500 pages, and had spawned many others.

All this meant that we had a lot of books to sell. No-one in the firm had taken on the role before but, through trial and error, I managed to hold down the job and eventually headed up a marketing department of 12 which, at one point included Robert Maxwell’s son, Kevin.

One thing I managed to do quite well was to sell books in bulk to the pharmaceutical industry. Books seemed less like a bribe than the lavish hospitality that such companies gave to those doctors who prescribed their drugs. I was negotiating one particular deal as the board of Blackwell Scientific Publications was in the throes of succession planning. It was a very big deal, and complicated, requiring the directors to sign up to something new. But they were too distracted by other concerns and rejected it. So I reported back to the pharmaceutical company that Blackwell wouldn’t do it, but that I would. Somehow I got away with it. I had six days to register a company, find an office, print some visiting cards and sign the contract. That was on 6 June 1987 and was the beginning of my own company, Radcliffe Publishing. I didn’t have a shadow of Maxwell’s dynamism or a fraction of Per Saugman’s personality, but those guys taught me a lot.

At that time Margaret Thatcher was overhauling things as prime minister and Kenneth Clarke, as her Minister for Health, was embarking on a radical reform of the NHS. Part of this involved upgrading the quality of primary care. GPs had little on-going training, were rarely supervised and were badly paid but suddenly they found themselves under great pressure to improve their service, with the prospect of greatly increasing their earnings. My Blackwell days had opened doors to a lot of useful contacts, including the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union. Soon after Radcliffe started I had a call from the BMA asking me to attend an urgent meeting in London that same morning. Within an hour I had agreed to publish a series of books on the Business Side of General Practice; the BMA’s senior negotiator wrote the first one in nine weeks and we published it in another nine weeks. That was very fast, it sold in huge numbers and put us on the map. Another in the series sold 47,000 copies even though there were only 25,000 GPs at the time; that was because I had sold it to four pharmaceutical companies, working in competition. As the marketing manager of Glaxo told me ‘all’s fair in love, war and pharmaceutical advertising.’

Radcliffe started life in a single room in the Jam Factory in Park End Street; we expanded into a second room then moved to a light industrial unit in Osney Mead, then into a second one. In 1995 we moved again, into a beautiful Victorian house in Abingdon. By then we were employing about 15 people, many of them former colleague from Blackwell. They were strongly motivated by the success we were enjoying. We had found our niche in primary care; it was a very big niche and we were providing serious competition to the established publishers. Their reaction was to try to buy us; I had enquires from OUP, Churchill-Livingstone, Taylor & Francis and my old employers, Blackwell. They were talking millions and I rejected all offers; we were having just too much fun. It was too good to last though.

The first problem was the internet which undermined all the traditional publishing models and caused confusion throughout the industry, not just for us at Radcliffe. We did, however, invent something called Radcliffe Interactive. This hosted several consumer-related portals, including Divorce Online which is still going. It was financed by someone I first knew as a stationery salesman when I first joined Blackwell. He had gone on to become a publisher himself, and like Radcliffe, made himself troublesome to his rivals. However, when Routledge offered to buy him out, unlike me, he said yes. With the proceeds he became a business angel, financing start ups from an office he rented from us in our Abingdon home. Sadly we have lost touch now but when we last met he had a manor house in Berkshire, a house in California and a vineyard in South Africa.

Our second problem was that, having rejected all takeovers, our rivals decided to close in on us and, eventually, we ceased to be unique. So from around 2000 onwards we plateaued. I was also becoming aware of my own limitations; I had an inadequate grasp of financial management and I didn’t understand the internet so I decided my time was up. I felt we needed new blood at the top but that view was not shared by my colleagues; we had worked together for a long time and we all felt a strong loyalty to the company and to each other. In the end I promoted our marketing manager to managing director and elevated myself to chairman.

In 2010 Radcliffe was acquired by a firm called Electric Word whose owners seemed only interested in manipulating the price on the Stock Exchange and publishing suffered as a consequence. After a few years they sold Radcliffe to Taylor & Francis which, by then, had itself become part of a huge international communications conglomerate called Informa which included Routledge and CRC Press, names I have mentioned earlier. However, I am pleased to be able to tell you that the Radcliffe imprint continues but for reasons I cannot begin to understand, it publishes from the CRC offices in Boca Raton, Florida.

And that is where I was going to end this little talk but, in her biographical notes Jessica mentioned Bombus Books. This is the imprint of Oxford Inc, a group of writers to which I belong and which has self-published a few books of fiction and non-fiction. Last year we launched a writing competition for stories based on the No 13 bus which plies between the station and John Radcliffe Hospital. The best entries appeared in Double-Decker, available from Blackwells and other good bookshops, and three of the stories are by Jessica. That is how we came to meet and, I guess, why I am standing here today.

 

Graduate Trainee Showcase Programme

Sami Anderson-Talbi | New College Library
Though my time in Oxford has been shorter than most, I have found it to be a very rewarding experience. At New College, we have a fantastic team who have kindly put up with me for the past year, and I will be quite sad to leave. The support I have received from colleagues has been great, and I have had the opportunity to take an active role in most aspects of the running an academic library. No day is quite the same in a College library, whether you are dealing with interesting queries (bringing rowing oars into the library is not acceptable) or working with antiquarian texts, there is always something going on. The highlight of the year has been the many visits to other libraries, my favourite being the trip to the Codrington (where my camera frustratingly refused to work). Having said that, I greatly enjoyed discovering a handwritten note hidden within a book, from the author to a prominent politician.

Chantal van den Berg | Bodleian Social Science Library
I had a fantastic time at the SSL and I will be sad to leave! I’ve learned so much and I feel grateful I was given the opportunity to work in such an amazing library. My highlight of the year has been spending time with all my lovely fellow trainees! Next year, I’ll be studying for a distance learning MA in Library and Information Service Management at the University of Sheffield and hopefully I’ll be staying in Oxford!

Connie Bettison | St. John’s College
I’ve enjoyed my year at St John’s Library very much and will be sorry to say goodbye. I feel very lucky to have got the chance to gain valuable experience both in working with readers in the day-to-day running of the library and in working with special collections. Next, I am going to Edinburgh to study for an MSc in Book History and Material Culture and gain more experience working in libraries.

Stephanie Bushell | All Souls College Library
The past year has given me a sense of the diversity of the LIS sector as a whole and the training has allowed me to explore areas of librarianship which I was not familiar with at the start of my traineeship. I particularly enjoyed the talk on the book trade, although if I had to pick a highlight of the training I must admit it’s probably our weekly meet-ups in the Punter post-session! I’ve had an incredible time working at All Souls College and I have met many lovely people over the course of my employment here. The Codrington Library is a really special place and I know I’ll always be in touch with the wonderful people who keep it ticking over. Now that the year is coming to a close I’ve received offers to study Library and Information Studies and Book History at UCL and Edinburgh respectively, and I am looking forward to seeing where the knowledge I’ve picked up here in Oxford will take me in the future.

Tom Cook | Lady Margaret Hall Library
I am currently the graduate trainee at Lady Margaret Hall, having previously worked at the English Faculty Library and St. Catherine’s College. I am also a poet and literary critic: my writing has appeared in the New Statesman, Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, P. N. Review, Ambit, Partisan and elsewhere. I am the chair of the English Faculty’s Twentieth-Century Poetry Reading Group. I am currently compiling and designing The Ash Anthology – a book of poems drawn from Ash, the magazine I have edited for the last two years – which will be available from all good bookshops later this summer.

Tim Dungate | English Faculty Library
I’ve completely loved working in the EFL this year. I arrived from down the road at the SSL, where I was a Library Assistant while I finished my Master’s degree, and it’s been delightful to join the EFL as a Trainee and learn much more about working in academic libraries. Everyone was very welcoming when I began the year, and I’ve been able to take on a pleasingly varied array of duties, with some longer-term projects alongside.
Recently I’ve been shadowing Pip Willcox at the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and I am assisting her in organising a conference jointly hosted between the Bodleian and the Folger Shakespeare Library (which unfortunately means I cannot attend this showcase!).
While I will be extremely sad to leave the EFL, I’m happy to say that I will be remaining in Oxford as a Digitisation Assistant with BDLSS, starting this summer.

Anabel Farrell | Oxford University Archives
One of the many highlights of my year at the University Archives has been researching and responding to the broad range of enquiries that we receive every day. It has enabled me to explore the University’s fascinating records and acquire a good knowledge of the University’s history. It is always particularly rewarding to be able to help an enquirer trace an ancestor who once studied here. I’ll certainly miss the views over Oxford from my office at the top of the Tower of the Five Orders, but I’m not sure I’ll miss the 142 steps it takes to get up there!’

Ashleigh Fowler | Digital Archives
It’s been a non-stop year, but it’s been very enjoyable. I have been working as a digital archives trainee in the Weston Library and studying for a post-graduate diploma in Archives Administration through distance learning, so I’ve been quite busy! There have been many highlights over the year, from my first completed cataloguing projects and working on the conversion project for Benjamin Disraeli’s online catalogue to being able to attend training and talks in different parts of the country and meet archivists from many different institutions, as well as understanding the sacred role of Tea And Cake in an archivist’s workday.

Olivia Freuler | Sackler Library
As my year at the Sackler Library is slowly drawing to a conclusion, I’m looking forward to my next adventure and I hope that I can put some of what I’ve learnt to good use. I am especially grateful to the team here for being so welcoming and taking the time to show me the ropes and teach me what they know. I think the main highlight of this year was delving through a collection of artists’ books for my project. It was great to work with such interesting material and discover new artists that I hadn’t heard of before and learn more about the context in which these books were created. I also really enjoyed visiting other libraries in Oxford and the Book Conservation department in the Weston Library. As for the future, I’m quite interested in continuing to work in Art Libraries, Special Collections or for an Antiquarian Bookseller.

Laura Kondrataite | St. Hilda’s College Library
It’s been an amazing year working at St Hilda’s Library. I have learned a lot about the everyday running of a college library, and have had a chance to assist with and organise exhibitions from the library’s special collections. The knowledge I have gained about the management of special collections and the cataloguing of rare books will come in handy at my new post as a rare books administrator at an auction house.

Amy McMullen | History Faculty Library [Radcliffe Camera]
My year in the Radcliffe Camera team as a trainee has been such an interesting and valuable experience – it is a year I will never forget! As well as working in one of the most beautiful and unique buildings in Oxford, one of my highlights this year has been spending time with the other trainees, getting to know them and sharing our experiences to learn from one another. In September I will be moving to the capital and starting a full-time postgraduate masters degree in Library and Information Studies at University College London, and I am looking forward to making use of all the skills my year at the Bodleian has given me.

Hannah Medworth | Sainsbury Library
In my former role as a teaching assistant, I had the privilege of introducing children to the world of reading in their very first year of school. At the Sainsbury Library, I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt myself in just one year! I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work alongside dedicated colleagues on a diverse range of projects and tasks, and to take on new responsibilities and expand my skills. Looking ahead, I’m very happy to be continuing as a member of the Sainsbury Library team, in the post of Collections and Instructional Materials Assistant for Executive Education.

Fiona Mossman | Bodleian Law Library
A graduate of English Literature, I’ve been thrown into the Law Library where suddenly I’ve had to become very familiar with folk such as Chitty on Contract or Wilson on Wills (my alliterative favourites), with the structure of the courts and why it matters for referencing, and with a lady called Elizabeth Moys. The Moys reclassification project is ongoing at the library, and it’s been a big part of my year. The Law Library is a great place to work and I’ve enjoyed the variety that being a graduate trainee there brings. Come September I’m planning on continuing my literary education with a Master’s degree at Durham for a year.

David Phillips | Bodleian Social Science Library
My traineeship has been a page turner, and an enlightening introduction to the profession. The Wednesday tours/talks have been a treat and have touched on everything from virtual reality to multi-part items. I have had the privilege of working at the SSL, a wonderful library that never stops trying to innovate (and stir my creative side). I have enjoyed the friendly and supportive working environment and the breadth of work available to me and my fellow SSL trainee. At the end of my traineeship, I hope to remain within the university’s network of academic libraries and sometime thereafter take on a librarianship MA by distance learning.

William Shire | Taylor Institution Library | Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library
This year has been an amazing experience and I’ve loved getting to know the Bodleian Libraries! The highlight of my year at the Taylor and the PTFL has definitely been working in two fantastic teams. I’d never worked at a Faculty Library before and have therefore had to learn a lot throughout the year – a process made a lot easier by both my patient colleagues and the fantastic Wednesday afternoon sessions. Next year I will be staying in Oxford and studying for the distance learning Library MA offered by the University of Sheffield, which I’m very much looking forward to.

Sophie Welsh | Bodleian Library | Reader Services
The highlight of my year has been answering the wide variety of enquiries at the Main Enquiry Desk – we keep a record of the wackiest ones for future amusement. I have especially enjoyed the mini research projects that have come out of some of the enquiries; I’ve researched inter-war shoe catalogues and 19th Century French pharmaceutical periodicals, to name just two. I’ve also been very lucky to have lots of shadowing opportunities, such as a week based in the Collections & Resource Description department (learning about cataloguing processes, acquisitions of monographs and serials, the Legal Deposit operations and e-resources), as well as afternoons shadowing a college librarian and the English & Film subject librarian. I’m hoping to find another library job in Oxford at the end of the trainee year, then in the next few years I would like to do a Master’s in Library Studies and in English Literature (but I haven’t decided which one should come first yet).

Jessica Woodward | Taylor Institution Library | Mansfield College Library
This year has been wonderful and I feel very lucky to have taken part in the trainee scheme. I entered librarianship via part-time jobs at Corpus Christi and St Peter’s Colleges, began the trainee year navigating the Taylorian’s labyrinthine book stacks, and in May 2017 embarked on the new challenge of a maternity-cover Assistant Librarian post at Mansfield College. There have been many highlights, but I’ll particularly value having met so many friendly librarians, handled the Taylorian’s amazing manuscripts, and indulged in Mansfield’s delicious lunches! I’ll be at Mansfield until February 2018 and am excited for the months ahead‘

Harry Wright | Jesus College Library
Having come from a Graduate Traineeship in a busy secondary school library, Jesus College has been a comparative haven of calm! I have particularly enjoyed the higher-level nature of research enquiries, and learning about students’ and researchers’ information needs. I’m currently looking for library work around Oxford and will be spending the next year gaining more experience, hopefully in a slightly different, more specialised role, before going on to qualify.

10:45 | PART I

10:45 – 10:55 | Welcome

10:55 – 11:05 | David Phillips | Bodleian Social Science Library
Visualising the SSL

I use data visualisation to tell you a story about the SSL.

11:05 – 11:10 | Chantal van den Berg | Bodleian Social Science Library
Can Inductions be Made More Interesting

My trainee project focuses on how to make library inductions more interesting for students. Readers receive a lot of information on how to use the library during these sessions, and we hope that short videos made with PowToon will make it easier to digest the information and to keep the reader’s attention.

11:10 – 11:15 | Stephanie Bushell | All Souls College Library
You shall not pass’: Or, an attempt to survey, shift and deaccession collections in two not-so-accessible areas.

My project will involve managing two collections under the jurisdiction of the Codrington Library to which we have (very) limited access. This project will involve surveying and rearranging the existing collections with a view to deaccessioning extraneous material. I also plan to cover some highlights of my time here in the Codrington.

11:15 – 11:25 | William Shire | Taylor Institution Library | Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library
A Year at the Bodleian – A Comparison of Two Libraries

Throughout my Trainee year, I have worked at two different Bodleian Libraries – the Taylor Institution Library and the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library. The projects I have been involved in throughout my year have therefore been varied – ranging from the creation of a blog post and a Powerpoint presentation for the Library Information Screen to an extended reclassification project. My presentation will therefore detail these projects and reflect on how the similarities and differences between the two libraries I have worked in have affected them.

11:25 – 11:35 | Jessica Woodward | Taylor Institution Library | Mansfield College Library
Two Taylorian Projects and a Term at Mansfield

In this presentation, I will discuss the trainee projects I undertook at the Taylorian: creating a flow chart to help staff process donated books, and writing a blog post on some fascinating hidden treasures from the Rare Books Room. I will then take attendees on a virtual tour of the Mansfield College Library – where I currently work – and explore some of the differences between college libraries and Bodleian libraries.

11:35 – 11:45 | Questions

11:45 – 12:00 | Morning Break

 

12:00 | PART II

12:05 – 12:15 | Amy McMullen | History Faculty Library [Radcliffe Camera]
Reading List Provision in Undergraduate History

Serving one of the largest faculties at Oxford and meeting the demands of hundreds of varied and often complex reading lists that make up our undergraduate History degrees is a challenge to the staff at the History Faculty Library. With growing popularity of Reading List management software, I wanted to help our library assess its current procedure by investigating how other academic libraries deal with reading list provision and whether we can use that to improve our practice.

12:15 – 12:25 | Hannah Medworth | Sainsbury Library
From Eureka to Egrove: A journey into embedded library provision for Executive Education

A year of change at the Sainsbury Library has provided me with some exciting experiences. As I share snapshots of several projects and tasks, from managing research repository submissions to providing copyright clearance for reading lists, I will reflect on the skills I have learnt along the way. Finding myself in the unique world of an Executive Education library, I investigate what makes this type of provision distinctive, and explore some recent and ongoing developments to meet the evolving demands on library services.

12:25 – 12:35 | Sophie Welsh | Bodleian Library [Reader Services]
Relegating the Bodleian Library’s Handlists

Methodically adding information and detail to ALEPH records for Bodleian open shelf items so that the handlists (card catalogues) are no longer required.

12:35 – 12:45 | Fiona Mossman | Bodleian Law Library
Just keep moving: Moys, moves, and miscellanea at the Bodleian Law Library

Between renovation work and reclassification work, the library and its books have been on the move lately. My part in that has been in my contributions to the moving of the Reserve collection, early on in my post, my ongoing reclassification work, and the upcoming ‘mega-Moys’ move in the summer. These will be the main focus of my talk, together with some mini-projects that I’ve undertaken throughout the year.

12:45 – 12:55 | Questions

12:55 – 13:25 | Buffet Lunch

 

13:25 | PART III

13:30 – 13:50 | Guest Speaker | Andrew Bax

Andrew Bax has had a long and successful career in publishing, culminating in the creation of his own medical publishing house, Radcliffe Publishing.  Since the sale of that company, he has been producing fiction under the imprint Bombus Books and has been involved in various charitable ventures.  He will be sharing some entertaining stories from his professional life, with a focus on his experiences of working with some big names of 20th-century publishing.

13:50 – 13:55 | Questions

 

13:55 | PART IV

14:00 – 14:10 | Ashleigh Fowler | Digital Archives
The Archives of Hilary Bailey and of The Macirone Family

A talk on the process of cataloguing two different archives; one of the science fiction and general fiction writer, Hilary Bailey, the other of the Victorian middle class Macirone family.

14:10 – 14:20 | Connie Bettison | St. John’s College
Working with Modern Literary Papers

Over the past year at St John’s, I have spent part of my time working with the library’s modern literary special collections. In an ongoing project, I am cataloguing some personal papers of A.E. Housman and uploading the records onto ArchivesHub: an update from a typescript card catalogue of basic information. Using the broader collection of literary papers, the exhibition I arranged for the start of Trinity Term showcases a collection of the Library’s literary letters.

14:20 – 14:30 | Olivia Freuler | Sackler Library
Artists’ books at the Sackler Library

A brief look into the world of artist’s books and an introduction to the collection originally donated to the Taylor Institution Library by W.J. Strachan and now housed in the Sackler’s Archive Room.

14:30 – 14:40 | Questions

14:40 – 14:55 | Afternoon Break

 

14:55 | Part V

15:00 – 15:10 | Laura Kondrataite | St. Hilda’s College Library
The Golden Age of Children’s Literature

The presentation will give an insight to the organisation of and topics covered in an exhibition on Victorian children’s literature from St Hilda’s College library’s special collections.

15:10 – 15:20 | Harry Wright | Jesus College Library
Creating a Welfare Collection in 10 Easy Steps

This presentation will outline the expansion and development of Jesus College’s Welfare & Student Support Collection, an ongoing project which I have led. Issues of privacy and confidentiality are crucial to such a collection, but how feasible are they in the context of a busy working library?

15:20 – 15:30 | Sami Anderson-Talbi | New College Library
Proposals on Space and Collection Management for the Law Reading Room of New College Library

An investigation into the current configuration of the Law Reading Room, with proposed changes to how both space and collection management can be improved. Also including results of a recent survey of our readers, which focused on the provision of study space in the library

15:30 – 15:40 | Tom Cook | Lady Margaret Hall Library
The Literary Treasures of LMH

An account of planning, compiling and launching a successful exhibition from our comparatively limited rare-books collection. This culminated in a sold-out evening event, with guest talks from Simon Armitage and a DPhil researcher called Noreen Masud, which was open to the public and packed out the Old Library hall here in college.

15:40 – 15:50 | Questions

15:50 – 16:00 | Thanks

Enquiries:jessica.woodward@mansfield.ox.ac.uk or david.phillips@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
This programme may be subject to change.

Organising the Trainee Showcase (Part Two), Emily Delahaye

Anja has already covered the getting started process in her blog post, so I’ll cover what tasks I tackled and my experience of the day!

What did I do?

1. Finding Guest Speakers

I took responsibility for finding guest speakers from the world of library and information management in Oxford for the showcase. Anja and I decided that we wanted to have speakers that had previously been trainees, as they would be able to give us good advice on what to do once we had finished our year here. To find some suitable people I looked through the graduate trainee blog and also LinkedIn.

We were very lucky to have three guest speakers at the event – Alice Nelson, the librarian at Hertford College, Helen Matthews, the assistant librarian at Nuffield College and Laura Cracknell, the librarian at Pembroke College. They decided amongst themselves to cover in turn; what the traineeship was like, what postgraduate study involves and then career advice for after the traineeship and the course.

2. Blog posts

Unfortunately, not all of the trainees were able to attend the showcase. In order that there was still a record of what they achieved visible at the event, I emailed non-attending trainees to request that they write a blog post about their project and their year at Oxford. At the event, we displayed these blog posts on some of the computers, so that the showcase guests could see the wide variety of projects we had this year. You can see their posts below.

3. Collecting the presentations

In order to make the day run as smoothly as possible I collated all of the trainees’ presentations before hand, so that they could be accessed on the same USB stick. This avoided needing to plug in 13 different sticks/access 13 different email accounts on the day. I just had to be careful to not forget the USB stick in the morning!

4. Planning in the immediate run-up to the event

Anja and I got together shortly before the showcase to plan the practicalities of the day itself. Luckily we had some volunteers to help us on the day – Eóin Davies, Diana Hackett and Emma Jones! We worked out when we needed to arrive to set up, go down to collect the tea and coffee urns, and then the lunch, how many people we needed to send to carry these things and how we would clear away for the next event. I also planned what we would say to start the day, introduce the guest speakers, and close the day. Thanks to our planning, the day itself went surprisingly smoothly!

Key Skills

Before the showcase, I didn’t have much experience of presenting information in front of strangers, so this was a challenge. I knew that I needed to try to make what I was presenting interesting and relevant, so I thought a lot about my audience when writing my speech. I practiced a lot so that I didn’t need to check my cue cards too much as well. As I was presenting on something close to me, it was easy to be enthusiastic! The showcase has introduced me to making formal presentations on my work, which I’m sure will be handy further down the line.

Like Anja, I also feel that organising the showcase has also given me some new skills. It’s been great to work so closely in a team, corresponding through email and on the phone as our libraries are in opposite sides of town. We’ve had to plan ahead, divide tasks, manage our time well and liaise with lots of different people – all this has given us a taste of what organising an event can involve.

How do I think it went?

Pretty well, I think! I really enjoyed seeing all of the presentations, hearing what the guest speakers had to say and meeting lots of new people over coffee and lunch. It was interesting to hear about what everyone had achieved this year, after hearing snippets about people’s projects at training sessions.

Overall, I’ve had a really great year in Oxford, and I feel that I’ve learnt a lot in my library! This Autumn I am going on to study for an MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL, which I’m excited about. It’s been a pleasure to meet all the other trainees, a few of whom I will be seeing at UCL 

Organising the Trainee Showcase, Anja Badock

Each year the traineeship at Oxford ends with a Showcase where all of the trainees have the opportunity to speak about their experience as a trainee at their library. This can be about a particular project they have been involved in or more generally about what they have learnt and enjoyed about the year.

This year I organised the Showcase along with Emily Delahaye from the Sainsbury Library. I must admit to having been a little nervous when I heard I would be expected to present in front of an audience as I’m sure were many of my peers. This is why when an email was circulated asking for volunteers to organise the event I decided to get involved.  Not only would it be a good chance to gain experience of organising an event (which is something I had never done before), but I figured that by being involved in the planning stages I would feel more confident on the day. I am pleased to say that I think my theory worked. I still felt a bit nervous when I stepped up to present, but I came away from the day feeling really proud of myself and I know that when I need to present in front of a large group again in the future, it will seem less intimidating.

Bodleian Social Science Library
Bodleian Social Science Library

Getting Started

I could talk for much longer about my experience of presenting, but I really want to talk to you about my experience of organising the Trainee Showcase. Knowing where to begin when we first started organising the event was quite daunting. We were lucky, however, to have the assistance of Tamsyn from the Staff Development department who explained how the Showcase has worked in previous years and helped us get a sense of the different tasks we would be responsible for organising.

Once we had a general impression about what the Showcase entailed, we started out by agreeing upon a few key things:

–          What we needed to do

–          Who would do what

–          When things needed to be completed

Making these decisions straight away made the rest of the process run very smoothly. By dividing up responsibilities we were able to share the workload so that the Showcase didn’t take too much time away from our normal jobs. We also made sure to start things off as early as possible so that we wouldn’t be rushing to get everything ready at the last minute. This also had the added bonus that if something unexpected happened (such as Emily or I became ill) we would still have time to get everything ready.

What did I do?

  1. Contacting Trainees

We started off by emailing all of the trainees to give them a basic idea of what the Showcase would be like. Once we had given everyone a chance to think about what they would like to present about, we then contacted the trainees again to ask them for the following information:

–          Whether they would be able to attend the Showcase

–          What they planned to present about

–          A short biography of themselves

–          Any dietary requirements for the buffet lunch

The main reason we needed this information was to help us produce a programme of the day that could be sent out to everyone we planned to invite. Knowing how many trainees would be speaking would help us divide up the day evenly and we wanted to add as much detail as possible about each trainee and what they would be speaking about to help our invitees decide which part of the day to come along for if they were unable to attend the entire event.

I created a spreadsheet to record attendance and dietary information and I saved each trainees biographies and presentation information in a folder. This made the information easily accessible when it was needed.

Image - mouse

  1. Sending  Invitations

When we had received everything we needed from the trainees we could start creating the programme to be sent out with our invitations. It was quite easy to put the programme together, but it was more difficult to decide on timings. There were a few keys parts of the day that couldn’t be too massively altered such as lunchtime (no one wants lunch at 11.15am), but we were also restricted by the start time as well as the number of trainees we had presenting. After some work, we managed to timetable the day quite well.

Next was to send out invitations. The trainees’ Supervisors were all invited as well as everyone who had spoken to us or trained us over the year. Due the fantastic and varied training programme offered as part of the Oxford traineeship this was a very large list of people! As with receiving details from the trainees, we needed a central location to record responses. To make this easier, I asked all those invited to contact me and I created a spreadsheet to record who would be attending and whether they had any dietary requirements.

  1. Organising Catering

We decided to offer a buffet lunch which would allow everyone in attendance to get a chance to circulate and chat with each other. We were conscious that this could be a good opportunity to people to ask questions and share feedback about the presentations we had seen so far.

Using the spreadsheets I created for recording attendance made organising the catering very straightforward. I could easily calculate how many people would require lunch as well as pass on dietary information.

This information had to be passed on to the caterers at least a week before the event which was made easy by the fact that we had contacted the trainees and sent out invitations quite a long time in advance.

 Key Skills

Obviously the main skill needed for running the Showcase was organisation. Emily and I spent time at the start planning what exactly needed to be done and we were able to reach our objectives through good time management.

Looking back at the organisation Emily and I did for the Showcase has made me realise that it was not just all about planning, but communication was also actually a big element. We needed to be able to communicate with each other so that we didn’t become confused or disorganised. We also needed to communicate with our fellow trainees, with those who were invited to the Showcase and with many other people. In these instances, we always tried our best to be friendly and approachable as well as to make our messages clear and informative so that everyone knew what was happening.Image - computer

Another common theme was being able to record information accurately and efficiently. It would have been a real challenge to plan the timings of presentations or know how many chairs to place out in the room if we hadn’t recorded people’s replies clearly.

How do I think it went?

I really enjoyed organising the Trainee Showcase because it taught me a lot about how to plan an event and it has shown me that I am very good at managing my time and strategizing. I also thoroughly enjoyed getting to work closely with Emily which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise because we work in different libraries.

The day itself was a little nerve-wracking, but thanks to the positive audience and our careful preparation before the day, everything ran smoothly and I can even say I enjoyed myself! The trainees all did a fantastic job at presenting. Everyone had clearly taken time to plan a professional presentation and it was a pleasure to discover how varied each of our experiences and projects have been.

Overall, I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to organise the Trainee Showcase. It has taught a lot about event management as well as about my own strengths and weaknesses. If you are ever offered the chance to challenge yourself, as I was in this case, I highly recommend you take it…

Anja Badock, Graduate Trainee, Bodleian Social Science Library

Project Showcase 2012

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.

Trainee project showcase – From QEH to LoC: reclassifying pamphlets in the SSL

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.

Trainee project showcase – Antiquarian books in the History Faculty Library

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)