CULIB - Cambridge University Libraries Information Bulletin

ISSN 0307 7284    Edited by Kathryn McKee, Mary Kattuman, Charlotte Smith and Kate Arhel

Issue 71, Michaelmas 2012: Where librarians go to for information

CONTENTS


EDITORIAL

Just where do information professionals look for information? What are the most popular and most trusted information sources? Lyn Bailey opens this issue with an article about a useful information source for Cambridge librarians: the ever-popular brown bag networking lunches. Alison Cullingford from the University of Bradford then explains why social networking website Twitter.com has boundless potential as a tool for professional networking and professional development. She gives tips and tricks to make the Web 2.0 tool work for the individual. Claire Sewell picks up the baton of social media to tell us all about her experiences in the CPD23 programme for professional networking that ran throughout the University's libraries. Social media and professional networks can become hugely useful sources of information and support for librarians. Kathryn McKee provides an interesting piece on the CILIP special interest group the 'Library and Information History Group' and their online communications hub. Finally, Liam Sims gives a useful account of the ESTC (English Short Title Catalogue) and its use as an information source for librarians and researchers alike. We round off this issue with Tim Penton's fascinating exploration of the work of the in situ: Theatre Company.

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JOURNAL DISCUSSON LUNCHES: BROWN BAG OPTIONAL

I have just finished hosting the August Brown Bag journal discussion lunch and realised that these events have now been happening for over five years. But what is it all about, how did it start, what has it achieved and is it compulsory to bring a brown bag?

Back in summer 2007 I attended the CILIP Umbrella event at the University of Hertfordshire and, it being a small world, bumped into various Cambridge librarians including Libby Tilley, librarian at the English Faculty. We attended the same seminar on a topic that I can no longer remember but the question and answer session had an impact still resonating among Cambridge librarians today. A member of the audience said that, at her university, staff met regularly at lunch to discuss a current journal article on library and information management. Libby and I looked at each other and you could almost see the light bulbs above our heads – what a good idea – surely we could do that in Cambridge?

In February 2008, we advertised the first journal discussion lunch and asked people to read an article on library education in a Web 2.0 world. We didn't really know what to call it but there had already been a series of talks for librarians at the UL over lunch, called "brown bag" events as you take your lunch with you. We thought if we called them brown bag lunches, people would understand the concept (although until I was in Cambridge I had never heard of it!). However, we also wanted to show that they were different to the talks. This was a chance for people to share ideas on an article and network, which we thought would be useful, as we are all working across so many different libraries. Thus the brown bag/journal discussion/networking lunches were born. I don't think we imagined they would still be going strong five years later!

For those of you wondering what it is all about, anyone can come along and it is not too late to join in. Our intention from the start was to make the lunches as inclusive as possible so any article for discussion had to be available online either free or via a University journal subscription. The lunches run on the first Wednesday of the month from 1-2 but the discussion starts at 1.15, so that people can get to the location in their lunch hour. It is a very informal event and anyone is free to drop in and out according to the time they have. Staff at all levels are encouraged to come along and the event is advertised on the ucam-lib-discuss mailing list, to which anyone can subscribe. See http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/libraries/login/email_lists.html for details.

Following the first few lunches it became apparent that it would be really useful to be able to share ideas on a wider basis and have a more permanent place for discussion. This led to us investigating various blogs but we wanted everyone to be able to post stuff so eventually we created the Cambridge Librarians CamTools site. Although there are various issues with the use of CamTools, this was a site that all Cambridge librarians could join, either to put up information or to use the chat facilities. After a slow-ish start it has become useful as the home for the Librarians In Training group; it has been used for live chat during talks and to host documents.

But why give up your lunch hour to discuss work? The discussion lunches provide the opportunity to talk to other librarians, which is great if you work alone. You can compare best practice and ask for advice. An all-round networking experience! Furthermore they are a chance to keep up-to-date with current trends in the profession. All the articles chosen are from the last few years and topics have ranged from social media, collection management, inductions, training, e-books, information literacy and the future of academic libraries. Anyone is welcome to suggest an article and I find that trying to find something good means I finally get round to reading those articles that used to just sit in an inbox waiting for some spare time. The lunches move around as much as possible with various librarians kindly coming forward to host a lunch, although this is not compulsory and many people just attend. However, there is a guidance document on the Cambridge librarians site for anyone who would like to give hosting a try – you just need a room and an article, no refreshments required as everyone brings their own food!

What I have enjoyed most about the lunches (apart from the great cakes served at MML and the Haddon as a bonus) has been networking with a variety of library staff members from colleges, faculties, departments and the UL. While there is a core group of regulars, what is great is that there is always a different mix of people and experiences to hear about. I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks which I have been able to implement back in my library. The lunches have also provided a handy group of people to call on for advice when you need it. Among the libraries in Cambridge there is a wealth of talented, skilled and experienced staff. So why not take the opportunity to come along and meet some new people or catch up with those old acquaintances. Furthermore, it isn't all serious discussions, we do have our lighter moments, and brown bags are optional.

Lyn Bailey
Faculty of Classics

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TWITTER: JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Everybody's heard of Twitter: it's omnipresent in the media, usually in a negative way. Don't let that put you off! It is an incredibly useful tool for librarians to keep in touch with their professional colleagues quickly and cheaply. (It's also an incredibly useful tool for libraries to deliver services and market themselves, but that is another story.) Twitter word cloud

So how does Twitter work?
Once you've set up an account on Twitter.com, you tweet by typing the message you want to share in the box. Twitter gives you 140 characters. What you do with them is up to you! You don't have to talk about your breakfast or the tiny details of your everyday life – unless you want to. You can tell people about something that is happening, link to interesting things you have seen on the web (look for "Tweet" buttons), or ask questions, or share a photograph. The clever bit is that you "follow" other users whose tweets you want to see in your timeline when you log on. Maybe they will follow you back. Then you can start to interact and talk to each other.

How Twitter can help with professional development
It curates the web. Librarians and others bring together interesting things from across the web in one place. I find it invaluable for finding out about news, new publications, conferences and events. Also, because tweeters link to reflective blog posts or ponder current issues in their tweets, your timeline puts you in touch with lots of conversations about the profession, higher education, the public sector, technological advances and more.

You can attend conferences and training events virtually, if delegates are live tweeting. Two or three people summarising the speakers and questions can give you a good idea of what is being covered – and of course you can join in or follow up. The event will have a "hashtag" (something like #rbscg12 which is the CILIP Rare Books Group Conference 2012), a kind of link, which those tweeting will include in their tweets to enable others to follow the event.

Twitter is itself becoming a forum for professional development events, such as #uklibchat, a fortnightly discussion group on library issues which takes place on Twitter1. It lends itself well to moderated but informal chats and discussion of books or particular ideas. You can make new connections. Of course, there is no substitute for meeting people in real life, but Twitter is a great way to connect if that isn't possible. And when you do meet, having the Twitter connection helps to break the ice. They are not strangers! It is a great way to get known in the profession, which can be particularly difficult for graduate trainees, solo librarians, first professionals and others who aren't able to attend many external events. This of course helps when applying for jobs, seeking funding, getting chartered, getting published, looking for partners, and leads to all sorts of other opportunities.

It makes it easy to keep in touch with communities outside your immediate professional circle. For example, I need to know about archives, museums, libraries and other heritage sector developments worldwide. It is also really useful to reach people active in the arts, media and creative industries, and academics, especially those in digital humanities. I have a sense of what interests and concerns them, which in turn helps me whether seeking partnerships or just understanding potential users or contacts. It might be possible to find out about these things and meet these people via other routes, but not all together, quickly, in one place, every day.

Curating Twitter
You can curate your Twitter stream to make it work for you:

  • "Favourite" tweets, which pulls them out of the stream so you can return to them. I often do this for links to reports which I don't have time to read there and then, or things I want to follow up or write about later
  • Put the people you follow into lists, so you can focus only on their tweets, useful when you follow hundreds of people, or you can follow lists created by other people.
  • Set up searches so you can keep track of discussions of whatever topic interests you. This will lead to new people and connections.

Useful features
Twitter is quick, instant, and mobile. It doesn't take long to tweet and you can do it anywhere – Twitter and smartphones are perfect partners.

You have control: you can stop following people if you don't like their tweets and block spammers from following you. You can make your whole account private if you like, so people can only follow you if you allow them.

No pressure! If you don't have time to look, it doesn't matter. Unlike email, where mails pile up quickly, the stream goes on without you. Just dip a toe in when you have time.

There is a multitude of other tools to make more of Twitter, such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck which help keep track of multiple accounts and schedule tweets to be sent later. Twitter isn't hierarchical or organised. Your job title or status is not important. It matters more that you say or do interesting things. If you want to do something (like set up a discussion group), you can just do it.

A note of caution
It's easy to be lulled by the chattiness of Twitter into forgetting that it is a PUBLIC SPACE. Unless you make your account private, anyone can see your tweets in searches and also outside Twitter e.g. when searching Google. So it's important to remain aware of professional and organisational reputation. However, that caution doesn't mean you have to be formal or tweet in corporate language. It's an informal medium: humour and personality are welcome.

What to do next
If you would like to try Twitter, here's a couple of articles containing good advice and further thoughts.

  • Using Twitter for Current Awareness, from 23 Things for Professional Development2
  • 10 things to do BEFORE you start tweeting, sound advice from Ned Potter3

Happy tweeting!

Alison Cullingford
Special Collections Librarian, University of Bradford
a.cullingford@bradford.ac.uk
I'm @speccollbrad on Twitter. The Collections tweet as @100objectsbrad and I also sometimes look after the @ciliprarebooks account.

1. http://uklibchat.wordpress.com.
2. http://cpd23.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/thing-4-current-awareness-twitter-rss.html.
3. http://thewikiman.org/blog/?p=979.

Image by Charlotte Smith

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LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER: THE CPD23 THINGS PROGRAMME

Like it or loathe it, social media has become a part of our everyday personal and professional lives. Many information professionals are using social media to keep up to date with the latest trends and to advance their careers by networking with others and those that don't take advantage risk being left behind. Although it can be daunting to know where to start, online programmes like CPD23 offer a solution.

The original 23things programme took place at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in America as a way to introduce social media tools to librarians. The success of this format has led to many similar programmes being run worldwide, including two popular Cambridge versions. Each week, information about a new tool is posted on a central blog along with activities to try. Participants are encouraged to blog their opinion of these tools and how they think that they could be used in a library environment. The programmes are entirely self-paced and informal, meaning that they can fit around most people's schedules. One of the things that attracted me to CPD23 was that it wasn't just about social media tools in libraries. The programme took a different approach by focusing on how social media tools could be used for professional development. Areas covered included reflective practice, developing your personal brand, the importance of mentoring and how to promote yourself at interviews. These were areas where I know that I needed guidance and based on the positive response to the programme others felt the same. CPD23 proved especially popular with those undertaking CILIP qualifications and was used by many participants as part of their portfolios.

One of the biggest benefits for participants has been the new networks that they've developed through the programme. From an early stage participants were encouraged to comment on each other's blogs and opinions. In this way they developed connections that they may not have made otherwise. CPD23 was an international programme with participants from as far away as America, Canada and Australia. The programme had participants from all sectors and at all stages of their careers meaning that there was an extremely wide range of opinion and knowledge to draw upon. Taking part in CPD23 has made me personally much more open to meeting new people. I'm naturally quite introverted so find it difficult to talk to others at events or even jump into a conversation on Twitter. Taking part in the programme has given me a starting point for conversations with all sorts of people, both in real life and online. Developing these professional contacts has meant that I now have a network of people who I can turn to for professional advice when I need it.

Many participants, myself included, discovered a new found love of blogging after taking part in the programme. I had a dusty blog left over from the Cam23 programme which I revived for CPD23 and the positive response that I have received has inspired me to keep it up. I attend quite a lot of events, so blogging gives me an excellent way to consolidate my thoughts and share them with others. Other programme participants have reported the same effect and a whole new batch of enthusiastic library bloggers has been created. This is an important step since it means that more opinions on library and information topics will be available to the wider world. One thing that blogs are invaluable for is conference reports. No one can attend every event but you can guarantee that someone, somewhere will blog about it. These reports appear much faster than they would in the professional press which means that people are able to stay much more current.

A lot of participants have turned to Twitter in order to carry on conversations started by the programme and have quickly realised the benefits of the platform. I've found out about so many opportunities on Twitter and I think that my professional development would be lost without it. People seem to share things on Twitter first and I've found that by the time events are advertised via traditional methods like mailing lists they're often booked up. For me, this was probably the biggest legacy of the programme.

So, are 23things programmes a good place for librarians to go for information or are they merely a way to waste time on Facebook? It's important to remember that people are at the heart of these new tools, without them social media doesn't exist. Every librarian has experience which they can share and social media provides the perfect platform to do this. As well as introducing librarians to new tools, CPD23 has brought together an effective network of motivated professionals who can hopefully continue learning from each other long after the programme has finished.

Claire Sewell
Senior Cataloguer, University Library

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PROFESSIONAL NETWORKS AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION

Librarians have always sought information from other librarians. Simply asking an expert can sometimes be an effective way to obtain the right information in the most timely way. Communities with shared interests have developed, and professional organisations have set up special interest groups to cater for them. A special interest group is an obvious 'go to' place for professional information. For any special interest group, providing the mechanisms by which members can communicate with one another and share their knowledge effectively is a challenge. Traditionally groups have organised meetings, talks, and visits – valuable opportunities for networking as well as learning. Regular newsletters and group websites disseminate the information that is most widely needed by members. CILIP groups have in the past couple of years been able to send a regular monthly e-bulletin to those of their members who have registered to receive news from CILIP via email. Much of the information traffic is one-way, particularly for those who are unable to attend events in person. A group puts a body of information out in the public domain either in print or online and hopes that what is provided is what its members need. However, any group's strength lies in the depth of knowledge and experience of its individual members. How to make that body of information stored in people's heads more readily accessible to other members of the group, who may be scattered, and may not know one another, is altogether trickier.

The Library and Information History Group (a special interest group of CILIP) has sought to tackle this head-on by establishing an online communications hub. In addition to the traditional website providing the information you'd expect to find about the Group's activities, and a blog where news can be shared more quickly than through a newsletter or monthly email, the hub includes discussion forums, where anyone registered on the site may disseminate news, post queries, and initiate discussion on topics of interest. It is a place where those engaged in research (either professionally or pursuing personal interest) can exchange information, benefit from each other's knowledge and experience, and bat ideas to and fro. There has for a long time been a Jiscmail mailing list for library history (LIS-LIBHIST: its archive going back to 1998 can itself be a useful source of information: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=lis-libhist).

However, the tendency with a large mailing list is that when a query is posted that is quite specific, those who can answer will reply off-list rather than to all. It is courteous not to 'spam' all subscribers with a response that may only be of interest to the original enquirer. Subscribers may receive the questions, without even knowing if there has been an answer, let alone what that answer contained. The extent to which dialogue takes place is limited by people's natural reluctance to air their discussion within the context of a list. In a forum, participants can more easily choose whether to read a particular thread or not, so discussion is less inhibited.

The Library and Information History Group is keen to support original research, raise awareness of the subject, and to provide resources for those engaged in research. Providing forums in which those interested in the subject can communicate with one another and build up a community of expertise helps to fulfil these objectives. The hub was deliberately set up so that anyone with an interest can participate. We require registration (that's a basic security measure to protect those using the site from spam and virus attack), but those registering do not have to be members of the Group or members of CILIP. We hope, of course, that interest in our activities will be fostered by participation in the hub and people may be encouraged to join the Group, but there is no obligation to do so. Anyone with an interest in any aspect of library history or information history is welcome to participate in online discussion. This enables those engaged in research outside the professional librarianship community to benefit from the knowledge of the traditional library historians, and vice versa, enriching the subject and encouraging the cross-fertilization of ideas. The discussion may be viewed by all participants, but does not clutter anyone's email inbox (though one can opt to receive email alerts if one is following a specific forum or thread). Those registered on the site can also request email alerts when a new issue of the newsletter becomes available online.

The site is still only a few months old, and the community is small, but growing. As with all these things the more people who become involved, who input events of interest into the calendar, who post news or queries, or respond to pleas for information, the more useful the site will become. We hope that in time it will become the place to go for information on library history and information history: information provided by the collective knowledge of the group. If you would like to be part of that community, whether it be to learn more about a field of which you know little, or to contribute from your own vast store of knowledge, please do visit www.lihg.org, sign up, and get involved.

Kathryn McKee
Sub-Librarian, St John's College & Chair, Library & Information History Group of CILIP

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THE ENGLISH SHORT TITLE CATALOGUE (ESTC)

What is the ESTC?
Briefly, the ESTC (English Short Title Catalogue) is an online union catalogue which records the bibliographical details and known locations of every surviving piece of printing in the English language (or in other languages but printed in the English-speaking world) from the beginning of printing in English in the 1470s to the end of the eighteenth century. Conceived in 1976 as the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue, the project originally covered only the period 1701-1800 and was the result of collaboration between cataloguers in both the UK and USA. In 1987 it extended its scope to include the period before 1700, changing its name to the English Short Title Catalogue. Today it contains records for nearly 500,000 surviving editions in more than 3,000,000 known copies, and is managed by teams in California and at the British Library.

Naturally the catalogue records an immense variety of material, both in terms of format and content. It includes everything from single-sheet handbills advertising auctions and broadsides carrying popular songs, through to tracts and pamphlets, pocket-sized novels and multi-volume folio sets. Editions may be recorded in only one surviving copy, or there may be more than forty or fifty known copies; occasionally the only trace of an entire edition of several hundred copies might be a title page collected by an eighteenth-century bibliographer or a single leaf rescued from a binding. When one considers that the average print-run of a typical book (if such a phrase can be used) in the seventeenth or eighteenth century might have been 500 or 1000 copies (sometimes more), it is sobering to see that only a handful of copies might survive today and makes one very much aware of the chance nature of survival in this period. Certain kinds of printing are likely to be rarer than others, and it could be said that there are two primary causes of the destruction of books: that caused by use (i.e. books simply fall apart and are discarded) and deliberate destruction. But a wealth of material has survived and can now be studied easily using the ESTC.

How do I use it?
The ESTC is very simple to use, with basic and advanced search options. With an advanced search three words or phrases can be entered under one of eighteen options, including author, title and place of publication, and copy-specific choices including library name (i.e. libraries holding a copy) and copy-specific notes (i.e. previous owners' names, binding information and so on). The list of results produced gives the author, short title, imprint and date, and can be ordered alphabetically by author or title, or from earliest to latest in the date field. I frequently order things by date if I'm trying to gain an impression of the distribution of editions of a work over time. Clicking on the short title brings up a detailed bibliographic record for that edition, giving the full title at the top, followed by the edition statement (if there is one), imprint, physical description and (if applicable) general notes on the edition. These might include variants, number of copies printed (if known from contemporary sources) or pagination errors. There are also subject headings for most records, which are helpful when one is cataloguing similar works, and another option allows one to view the MARC record. At the foot of each record is a list of libraries holding a copy of the given edition, beginning with the UK, followed by the USA and other countries, the libraries' names being listed alphabetically within each country. The 'holdings' option takes you through to the copy-specific information, giving (when holding institutions have chosen to enter it) the classmark, information on bindings, provenance and annotations, and other relevant information on the peculiarities of their copy (including missing pages, coloured plates, misbound leaves and so on).

Why is it so useful?
The best feature of the ESTC is that, unlike printed catalogues, it is constantly being updated and added to, and is never out of date. However, any catalogue with the immense wealth of information of the kind provided by ESTC is likely to have inconsistencies and, to a certain extent, it will never be 'finished' or 'complete', as libraries add previously unrecorded material every day and record the nuances of their own holdings. When users notice errors in the bibliographic information provided – usually in records where only one incomplete copy survives, or it has not been possible to check certain details – corrections can be submitted quickly via a link in the record. Users can report the existence of editions which have hitherto gone unrecorded and, once they have an account, institutional libraries (and now private collectors) can add their holdings for known editions. The addition of unrecorded editions often revises the publishing dates of undated editions of the same text printed around the same time. Thanks to individual libraries adding copy-specific information, the ESTC also provides a valuable source of information on provenance, bindings and other quirks of production common in books of the hand-press period.

The chief uses of the ESTC for me are establishing the rarity of a given edition, and identifying editions missing their title page and/or colophon, and therefore lacking the relevant information to pinpoint the printer, place of publication and date. If you have a running-title within the book, or can identify the text from a card-catalogue, you can compare the pagination of your copy to that of the other known editions. This is relatively easy if there are just two or three possibilities all with different pagination, but a little more difficult if it's a popular text with many similar editions published in the same year. The Eikon basilike, Charles I's spiritual autobiography, appeared in around 35 editions between February and December 1649. Because the text was banned, many were printed anonymously, or with a false imprint; those which do have a printer's name often have the same pagination and it can be time-consuming to say with certainty which edition you have. This where the general notes are most useful. These record small but significant differences between editions; for example the position of certain characters on the title page in relation to others (a sign that two copies are completely different printings rather than a re-issue with a new title page), misspellings in the text and errors in pagination, all of which are invaluable for the cataloguer. Most ESTC records also contain a link to a digitised copy of the edition on EEBO (Early English Books Online: books up to 1700) or ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online: 1701-1800), which allows for further checking against your own copy.

Unlike the bibliographic information, which is largely complete in each record, the coverage of copy-specific information is, by its very nature, always going to be patchy. For large institutions like the University Library, the Bodleian and other copyright deposit libraries, entering even a couple of sentences about the provenance and binding of hundreds of thousands of books retrospectively is simply out of the question. Although such information is usually added for new acquisitions by such libraries, the majority of holdings in the ESTC carry no copy-specific data. But for libraries with small collections of rare books, or in which a cataloguing project is about to take place, adding this information provides an invaluable resource for librarians and scholars across the world. Developments in how people access and contribute to the ESTC are in the pipeline and, if its primary value is in the information contributed by scholars and librarians, we must all be sure to use and improve it.

Liam Sims
Chief Library Assistant, Rare Books Department, University Library

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What librarians do in their spare time: experimental theatre

Each Monday evening, over periods corresponding roughly with term-time, I spend two hours working in one of the performance groups attached to the in situ: Theatre Company, formerly Cambridge Experimental Theatre (www.insitutheatre.co.uk). in situ: devotes itself to theatre-making with a strong improvisational and frequently site-specific dimension. Some of our productions are experimental versions of existing plays, others are theatre pieces created by the group, under the guidance of our director Richard Spaul, which may have been stimulated by poems, novels, reportage or anything else. Our group is currently working on our own version of Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy: we presented Agamemnon last March, are working on Libation-bearers (Choëphoroi) for next February, and hope to embark on Eumenides, and then a presentation of all three plays, an appropriate time after that.

A typical Monday session begins with physical/muscular warm-up (determined by each individual's needs at that moment – I'm nearly 64 and have quite a lot of these!) and theatre exercises in the form of games designed to develop quick reactions and the presence of mind to improvise at short notice. These are known in the trade as "survival skills": techniques for improvising one's way out of difficulties that inevitably arise either from forgetting a piece of text or movement, or (more routinely) from another actor's improvisation differing from one's own misplaced expectations.

What we do next depends on where we have currently got to in the project we are working on. Early in a project we are likely to be exploring miscellaneous physical and vocal techniques that could be relevant to the subject matter in hand, arising from group reactions, verbal and gestural, to stimuli suggested by the director or by each other. Experimentation is made with the expressive possibilities of body movement, as well as "extended voice" or non-verbal vocal utterance with or without the larynx (in a piece based on the Canterbury Tales we created some years ago I did this on and off for a full hour and a half – it felt a bit like making 1950s electroacoustic music by natural means, and was surprisingly good fun). The material generated in these group sessions is collected over the first term (a project typically takes three terms, sometimes four – experimental theatre being, by definition, the most time-consuming form of theatre to prepare), we do a work-in-progress performance, and what seems to be strong or realistically integral to the end production is carried over and developed further in the second term. Usually about halfway through the project a script or some kind of scenario gets created (by Richard, but with group input), and then begins the business of line-learning, choreography, etc. A character may be assigned to one actor or may be spread between several to give overlapping perspectives on the action and psychology. (If Cubism had ever developed a theatre, this might quite possibly have been the form it would have taken.) The final term is spent drawing the material together into a coherent production. I've been doing this since 2003. It is extremely rewarding.

Tim Penton
Assistant Under-Librarian, Cataloguing, University Library

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PEOPLE

The University Library warmly welcomes Patricia Killiard who is taking over as the Head of Collection Development and Description, and John Norman who is taking over as the Director of Information Technologies and Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET and ESS). An engineer by training, John was an entrepreneur before he first came to lead CARET in 2003.

Liam Sims is the new Chief Library Assistant in Rare Books. Emma Saunders joined as the RGO/Sassoon Archives Cataloguer. Manuscripts Department bid farewell to their Superintendent, Robin Payne and also to Elizabeth Francis. The Darwin Correspondence project welcomed back Sophie Defrance from her maternity leave – baby Alexandre was born on 23rd October 2011. The Genizah Project bid farewell to Amir Ashur who had worked as a Research Associate.

Peter Johnston joined ESS as the Digital Library Metadata Specialist, and Fiona Marshall as the PrePARe Project Officer. Ben Davenport took up the post of temporary e-Journal Support Assistant. Congratulations to Catrin Dean on the birth of her son Samuel John Ivor Dean on June 22nd.

Rose Giles is the new Deputy Head of the Entrance Hall, which lost Hannah Haines to the Pendlebury Library. Since the end of July, Hannah has replaced Sophie Tiezel as the Pendlebury's Library Assistant. We bid farewell to Bettina Beinhoff who had been working in the Entrance Hall, and in European Cataloguing.

We welcome Noelle Sexton who has joined the Librarian's office as the new HR Projects Manager.

European Cataloguing welcomed Stephanie Palek and Danica Sumerlin, and welcomed back Leo Miguet after her maternity leave – she is the proud mum of Marie who was born on the 26th of November. Clara Panozzo-Zenere has commenced her maternity leave. Angela Fitzpatrick left English Cataloguing to take up a post in the Judge Business School Library. The Judge welcomes Ange to her role as Deputy Information and Library Services Manager. She replaces Kirsty Taylor, who has recently taken up a post as a College Librarian in Oxford. Fiona Grant took over as Authority Control and Cataloguing Specialist. Claire Sewell has taken up a temporary Senior Cataloguer post. Paul Cooke joined as a part time Junior Cataloguer. Congratulations to Kasia Drabek on the birth of her daughter Ameila on 6th August 2012. Graham Levene joined the Tower Project as part time Junior Cataloguer. Megan Green has joined the Legal Deposit Department. Bryan Deighton has joined the Bindery.

There have been a number of retirements, with the Cataloguing Department one of the hardest hit by departures. Elizabeth Johnson decided to call it a day after 34 years of service. She retired as the Printed Collections Officer and Authority Contributions Co-ordinator. She had joined the UL as a cataloguer, and after a stint in the Medical Library, had returned to the UL. She has now retired to the Welsh border where she has embraced country life in a big way.

It was in 1973 that Hugh Taylor joined the erstwhile Accessions Department. After working in Copyright Accessions and Music where he was Assistant Under-Librarian, he left for Trinity College, Dublin in 1986. Fortunately for us, he returned to the UL to head the Music Department. The following year he took over as Head of Cataloguing. He retired as Head of Collection Development and Description. During his time in the UL, he did so much to raise the library's profile in the cataloguing world.

Steve Hills joined the UL in 1970. After a short stint in Copyright and Foreign Departments he went off to Library School. We were lucky that he chose to join our Cataloguing Department after training. After more than 40 years of service he retired as Head of English Cataloguing and Cataloguing Policy. During his time here he was responsible for acquiring books in English, and over the years he built up an outstanding collection, especially in English literature. He was the Staff Club President for a number of years. His entertaining revues and witty speeches will be truly missed.

We are sorry to lose John Reynolds whose cheerful face will be missed by hundreds of readers. He joined the Official Publications Department 46 years ago and after working in Accessions, Bindery and Admissions, he finally came to the Entrance Hall in 1985. He retired as Head of the Entrance Hall team. He was a Trustee of the Staff Club for many years. Elsie Fordham retired after 34 years of service in the Bindery. We are very sorry that these stalwarts are leaving; their expertise will be sorely missed. We wish them the very best in all their plans for the future.

The Modern and Medieval Languages Faculty bids a fond farewell to Lola Ivorra-Molla as she heads back to Spain. The team are pleased to welcome Philip Keates as their new Library Assistant.

Polly Harper, previously graduate trainee at Newnham College Library, joins the Judge Business School team as Senior Information and Library Assistant.

The Careers Service Library welcomes Anne Lewis as their new Information Assistant. She has previously worked as a Librarian at the University of Oxford, the University of Birmingham and Aston University. In her spare time she enjoys singing and she is a co-owner of a miniature steam engine in Cornwall.

The Classics Faculty welcomes their new trainee Tom Sykes. Tom studied History and Jewish History at the University of Southampton, where he worked as an administrator for several years before pursuing a career in librarianship.

King's College Library bids farewell to Wai Kirkpatrick. CULIB asked what she planned to do in retirement, to which Wai replied: 'After twenty-two years at King's College Library, I am saying farewell to my kind colleagues, our wonderful books, bright students, four white ruminating cows and one white swan which, until 2009, sat on her eggs every year on a weed nest in the middle of the stream on the Backs posing for tourists. So what shall I do with my abundant leisure time from now on? I thought it would be pleasant to feed birds and beautify rough ground with wild flowers. The bird feeding was an immediate success: little blue tits, big pheasants and many squirrels flocked to my garden; abandoning those of my neighbours. When my daughter heard of my plan to grow wild flowers in derelict land, she informed me that in London, such activity was known as guerrilla gardening. Gazing into my crystal ball – another one of my trivial retirement pursuits – I can see the Cambridge Evening News reporting in a small paragraph sometime in June 2013: 'Pensioner arrested for trespassing and possession of weapons, which, on close inspection, turned out to be crutches and a trowel...'

King's College is delighted to welcome as Wai's replacement Dr James Clements as its new Assistant Librarian. James comes from the British Library, where he worked for eleven years as the Curator of Printed Music and most recently as a Digital Curator. His previous employment was in archives and records management at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester.

In June, King's College Library also bid Tracy Wilkinson farewell to her new job as Archivist at St John's College, and welcomed Peter Monteith as Assistant Archivist at King's. Peter joins King's from the Norfolk Record Office after completing his contract as the Gunton Project Archivist.

There have been some big changes at St John's. In August Malcolm Underwood retired having served as the College's Archivist since 1978. In July, Peter Hutton took early retirement, having worked as Library Assistant for 15 years. After 5 years of keeping the Library beautiful, Library cleaner, Ania Alford, leaves to embark upon a new career as a beautician. The annual changeover of graduate trainees sees YiWen Hon replace Rachel Walker. YiWen has a BA in English from UCL and an MLitt from the University of St Andrews, and has experience in academic and music libraries and special collections. St John's will not be saying goodbye to Rachel for long, as after a brief interlude of classifying at Darwin College library and moving stock at the CSL, she returns to St John's in September to cover maternity leave for the Projects Assistant, Sam Lewsey.

At Trinity, current Graduate Trainee, Fiona Watson, is leaving in September. Fiona is off to UCL and will be replaced by Pippa Bell. Trinity also has a new Wren Library cleaner, Shiralee Brittain, and a new Wren Tourist Custodian, Sam Forder-Stent. Newnham College's new trainee is Kirsten Southard, who has recently completed her MPhil at the University of Cambridge, and who has a first degree from Trinity College Dublin.

In April 2012, Jenny Sargent was appointed Lee Librarian at Wolfson College, having previously worked at Gonville and Caius as Assistant Librarian (Cataloguing) for five years. Her position at Caius has now been taken up by Rebecca Gower , who was until recently Senior Library Assistant at the Seeley.

Claire Butlin has recently joined the staff of the Forbes Mellon Library at Clare College. Having had experience of working both in the Cambridge Central Library and at the Leys School, Claire is enjoying applying her 'transferable skills' in a different type of library.

Sarah Fletcher joined St Catharine's College as Assistant Librarian in June 2012. Prior to this, Sarah was curatorial intern at the Royal Library in Windsor and recently completed her Library MA at UCL.

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